An Overview of EV Charging Modes: What You Need to Know | EN Plus

An Overview of EV Charging Modes: What You Need to Know

Last Updated: 29/02/2024

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An Overview of EV Charging Modes: What You Need to Know

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular as people become more environmentally conscious. However, charging an EV can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the world of electric cars. In this blog post, we will discuss the different modes of EV charging and what they mean.

EV charging modes categorize the mode of power delivery, protection installation, and communication/control of the charging system. There are four EV charging modes: Mode 1, Mode 2, Mode 3, and Mode 4. These modes define the specific characteristics and capabilities of the charging infrastructure: power delivery, safety measures, and communication protocols. The modes are defined by the international standard IEC 61851-1 and are widely used in the European region.

EV Charging Levels vs. EV Charging Modes

In the previous blog, we have already understood the explanation of EV Charging Levels, so what is the difference between EV charging mode?

EV Charging Levels EV Charging Modes
Categorize the rated power, voltage, and current of the charging system. Categorize the mode of power delivery, protection installation, and communication/control of the charging system.
Three commonly recognized levels: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 (also known as DC fast charging). Four modes: Mode 1, Mode 2, Mode 3, and Mode 4.
Define the maximum power and voltage that can be delivered to an electric vehicle during charging. Define the specific characteristics and capabilities of the charging infrastructure: power delivery, safety measures, and communication protocols.
Defined by standards organizations such as SAE J1772 in North America. Defined by the international standard IEC 61851-1.
Widely used in North America. Widely used in the European region.

In summary, EV charging levels focus on the electrical characteristics of the charging system (power, voltage, current), while EV charging modes focus on the mode of power delivery, protection, and communication/control aspects of the charging process.

Mode 1: Low-power and unsafe charging

Mode 1 charging, which involves connecting an electric vehicle directly to a standard AC wall socket without special safety systems, is becoming increasingly obsolete due to its numerous disadvantages. This charging mode is very slow, with a maximum output power of only 2 kW (8 amperes), making it impractical for most EV owners. To fully charge an EV battery using Mode 1, it can take anywhere from 40 to 60 hours. Furthermore, this charging mode is prohibited in public areas in Italy and subject to restrictions in other European countries, including Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, France, and Germany, due to safety concerns. As such, it is recommended that EV owners use more advanced charging modes such as Mode 2 or Mode 3 for faster and safer charging.

Mode 2: Reliable charging with communication features

The difference between Mode 2 charger and mode 1 charger is that the mode 2 charger has an electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) control box on the wire. This control box rectifies from AC to DC and acts like a circuit breaker, providing added safety for you, your home, and your electric car. Most electric car manufacturers now include this control box as part of the basic equipment. The maximum output power for a 16A socket is 3.7 kW, requiring about 14-16 hours to fully charge the battery. An example of a Charge Mode 2 charger is the EN Plus Memo Series Portable Box, which is mobile and does not require professional installation. Simply connect the charger to a Schuko socket to start charging.

Mode 3: Versatile and efficient fixed charging

Mode 3 EV charging is designed for faster charging times and enhanced safety features compared to Mode 1 and Mode 2 charging, which is the one of the most common charging modes ofr charging with alternating current (AC). They can deliver up to 22 kW of power, making them ideal for quick charging at public charging stations or commercial locations. These chargers require a dedicated charging station installed by professional electricians with the necessary electrical infrastructure to handle the higher power levels. Mode 3 chargers come with built-in protection features such as overcurrent and overvoltage protection, and often have communication capabilities to monitor the charging process and provide real-time status updates. They are compatible with most electric vehicles on the market and adhere to international standards for electric vehicle charging.

Mode 4: High-speed DC charging

Mode 4 EV charging, also known as DC fast charging, is the fastest and most powerful charging option for electric vehicles. Unlike Mode 1, 2, and 3 chargers that convert AC to DC, Mode 4 chargers provide DC power directly to the vehicle’s battery. This eliminates the need for onboard conversion and results in faster charging speeds.

To use a Mode 4 charger, a current converter external to the vehicle must be connected to the charging cable. The cable is always connected to the DC charging station, so no cable selection is required. Mode 4 chargers require specialized charging infrastructure and are commonly found at public charging stations along highways and major routes.

With its ability to deliver extremely high power levels, Mode 4 charging can charge an electric vehicle to a significant level in just a few minutes. This makes it ideal for long-distance travel or when time is limited. While not all EV models can handle the highest power levels, Mode 4 charging is well-suited to meet the charging needs of future electric vehicle models.
EN Plus’s Rocket DC charging station has a maximum power of up to 240kW, which can fully charge your electric vehicle in just a few minutes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the different EV charging modes is essential for electric vehicle owners and enthusiasts. Mode 1 and Mode 2 chargers are basic charging options that are suitable for home use, while Mode 3 chargers provide versatile and efficient fixed charging with higher power levels and dedicated stations. Mode 4 chargers, also known as DC fast charging, are the fastest and most powerful charging options for electric vehicles, making them ideal for long-distance travel or when time is limited.

Each charging mode has its own advantages and limitations, and it’s important to choose the right charging mode based on your specific needs and circumstances. By understanding the differences between the various charging modes, you can make informed decisions about electric vehicle charging and ensure a safe and efficient charging experience.

EN Plus provides mode 2, mode 3, and mode 4 charging stations to meet all your needs. Check out our EV charging solutions.

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