Alternative Current, Direct Current, Phases and kW.
In the early days of electrification, the standard for delivering electrical power, was Direct Current (DC) – where the power flows in one direction. Nowadays, in the electrical network in Europe, we switched from DC to Alternating Current (AC) – where the power flow is constantly switching direction, e.g. 50 times a second – transporting electrical charge more efficiently over long distances.
While most of our household appliances are powered with AC, any device with a built-in battery – like a mobile phone or a laptop – can only be charged with DC. Electric cars also fall into this category. This is why it helps to know about AC and DC if you’re planning to drive an electric car.
Bigger devices e.g. in the industry but also ovens in the kitchen are sometimes connected to all three lines as that allows higher power output (high voltage).
In some markets (e.g. France) private household are typically only connected to one phase. In others (e.g. Germany) they are connected to all three phases. In these markets it is recommended to also use three phase charging technology (wall box, on-board charger – see below) as it allows higher charging speeds.