Electric vehicles charging modes​

EV Mode1 - Electric vehicles charging modes

Mode 1

3.7kW max
Portable charger
Alternative current (AC)
No protection
Charging power often
limited to 3kW

EV Mode2 - Electric vehicles charging modes

Mode 2

11kW max
Portable charger
Alternative current (AC)
Several protection
Charging power to set
manually

EV Mode3 - Electric vehicles charging modes

Mode 3

22kW max
Portable charger
Alternative current (AC)
Several protection
Charging power
auto-regulated

EV Mode4 - Electric vehicles charging modes

Mode 4

350kW max
Portable charger
Direct current (DC)
Several protection
Charging power
auto-regulated

More details...

Several opportunities for recharging an electric vehicle will arise for EV drivers, depending on the situation.

Following each case, it will be necessary to fast recharge during long journeys, for example on holiday trips, in order to limit the waiting time. Daily trips, like between home and workplace for instance, will most often only require small maintenance charges.

In most of the cases, the electric vehicle can be recharged while it is parked. This can be in a parking lot, near a business (store, restaurant, hotel, etc.) or even when visiting friends or family.

Depending on each of these cases, the infrastructure to which the electric vehicle will connect will be different, as will the power and management of charging. This is called charging mode.

The existing charging modes define how an electric vehicle is connected to the network grid and how it communicates with it.

This communication ensures the safety of the operation depending on the involved equipment and chargingpower. These charging modes are defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission  (IEC) through the international standard IEC 61851-1.

These charging modes were developed in order to standardize the network, ensuring equipment interoperability. The goal is to allow you crossing a border with your electric vehicle and still being able to charge it at destination and on the way.

Because all of this may seem quite complicated for the standard users that we are, here are the electric vehicles charging modes explained in a simplified way.

electric vehicle charging modes de charge - Electric vehicles charging modes
Electric vehicle charging modes

Mode 1

The vehicle is connected to a standard grounded household outlet. The charging operation is using alternative current (AC) through the vehicle’s embedded charger.

The current is limited to 16 amps, which is the maximum capacity that domestic outlets can sustain. In practice and in order to increase the security level, the current will rather be fixed by the vehicle electronics at 12 or 13 amps, because all domestic grids and outlets cannot operate under 16A for several hours, without overheating.

All of the electric vehicles generally allow a connection to a household outlet.

Charging is however very slow in this case (up to 3.7kW in maximum, and more often reduced to 3kW), which limits Mode 1 to maintenance charging. However, it has the advantage of being able to connect to any standard electrical installation (at home, in the office, when visiting friends, etc.).

mode 1 electric vehicle charging - Electric vehicles charging modes
Mode 1 electric vehicle charging

Mode 2

In Mode 2, an electronic unit is integrated into the charging cable that connects to a standard household outlet.

This box is called portable charger and is located between the car and the grid. It continuously monitors the charging process parameters in order to interrupt it in case that something abnormal occurs (like overload, overheating, etc.). This device communicates with the vehicle’s electronics and offers basic safety functions for both vehicle and electric network.

In addition to the standard domestic outlets whose current is limited, these devices are also able to use industrial CEE type sockets that can afford currents up to 32 Amps in single-phase or three-phase installations (up to 11kW). This allows to have a secure setup for accelerated electric vehicles recharging. Find here our Mode 2 chargers for EVs.

mode 2 electric vehicle charging - Electric vehicles charging modes
Mode 2 electric vehicle charging

Mode 3

In Mode 3 the electric vehicle connects through a special socket to a specific terminal installed on a wall.

This terminal is permanently connected to a dedicated circuit and integrates security, charge control and regulation functionsIt provides alternative current and has usually programming functions and in some cases even load balancing.

The power delivered in this mode is higher than in Modes 1 or 2 and can reach up to 32 Amps in three-phase setup (up to 22kW). Find here our Mode 3 chargers for EVs.

mode 3 electric vehicle charging - Electric vehicles charging modes
Mode 3 electric vehicle charging

Mode 4

Mode 4 involves fast and very fast charging stations. These stations are located in public areas like along the highways.

They deliver direct current DC, and their power can be very high (example: up to 350kW for Ionity charging stations). These stations communicate with the electric vehicle and take care of all the security and load control functions

Given the very high currents involved, these terminals have their own cable as well as their own connector. The standard in Europe for this type of connector is Type 2 CCS Combo.

mode 4 electric vehicle charging - Electric vehicles charging modes
Mode 4 electric vehicle charging
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