The 4 EV Charging Modes and Their Impact on Charging Speed

The 4 EV Charging Modes and Their Impact on Charging Speed

Last Updated: 15/07/2024

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The 4 EV Charging Modes and Their Impact on Charging Speed

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

You might wonder if EV charging modes and charging levels are the same thing, but they are actually different concepts. Charging levels (Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast Charging) refer to the voltage and speed of charging, while charging Modes describe the communication and safety protocols between the EV and the charging station.

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.

Click here to learn more about the different levels of EV charging.

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. With a maximum output power of only 2 kW (8 amperes), this mode of charging is incredibly slow and definitely impractical for most EV owners. To fully charge an EV battery using Mode 1, it takes 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.

ev charging mode 1

Mode2: Reliable charging with communication features

Unlike Mode 1 chargers, Mode 2 chargers have an electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) control box integrated into the wire. This control box converts 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. With a maximum output power of 3.7 kW from a 16A socket, Mode 2 chargers significantly reduce charging time to about 14-16 hours. 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.

ev charging mode 2

Mode 3: Versatile and efficient fixed charging

Mode 3 EV charging offers faster charging times and enhanced safety features compared to Mode 1 and Mode 2. It is one of the most common modes for charging with alternating current (AC), capable of delivering up to 22 kW of power. This makes Mode 3 chargers ideal for quick charging at public charging stations or commercial locations. These chargers require a dedicated charging station installed by professional electricians to manage the higher power levels safely. Mode 3 chargers come with built-in protection features such as overcurrent and overvoltage protection, and often include communication capabilities to monitor the charging process and provide real-time status updates. They are compatible with most electric vehicles and adhere to international standards for EV charging.

ev charging mode 3

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, an external current converter 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.

Mode 4 charging delivers extremely high power levels, allowing an electric vehicle to charge significantly in just a few minutes. This makes it ideal for long-distance travel or when time is limited. Although not all EV models can handle the maximum power levels, Mode 4 charging is designed to meet the 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.

ev charging mode 4 (dc fast charging)

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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