How many charging modes are there for electric vehicles?

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The charging requirements for electric vehicles are not the same for all of them, they may differ depending on: the connector used, the type of charging current, the power limits accepted by the vehicle, etc.

In view of the above, the international standard IEC 61851-1 has established 4 charging modes for electric vehicles, as follows:

Mode 1

It consists of the direct connection of the electric vehicle to normal power outlets and without special safety systems. Typically, mode 1 is used for charging electric bicycles, electric scooters, scooters, etc.

In several countries, this charging mode is restricted or prohibited for charging electric vehicles of higher power than those mentioned above.

Current and voltage ratings must not exceed 16 A and 250 V for single-phase or 16 A and 480 V for three-phase.

Mode 2

In charging mode 2, unlike mode 1, it requires the presence of a specific electrical communication and safety system between the connection point and the electric vehicle, this system is placed in the charging cable itself and is called Control Box. It can be used with domestic and industrial plugs on the mains connection side and with dedicated connector for electric vehicle charging on the vehicle side. In a way you could call it a portable recharging point. In several countries, this charging mode is restricted for use.

Current and voltage ratings must not exceed 32 A and 250 V for single-phase or 32 A and 480 V for three-phase.

Note: it is normally limited to 12 A by the use of a domestic schuko type plug on the mains connection side.

Mode 3

This mode requires the vehicle to be charged through a power supply system permanently connected to the electrical grid. The electrical control and safety system is integrated directly into the dedicated charging point.

For this charging mode, the connectors used will be specific for recharging the electric vehicle on both sides, both on the grid connection side and on the vehicle connection side.

Charging stations operating in mode 3 can allow charging up to 63 A and 250 V in single-phase or up to 63 A and 480 V in three-phase, although it is most common to find charging stations with a maximum of up to 32 A and 250 V in single-phase or up to 32 A and 480 V in three-phase.

Mode 4

This is the charging mode set for direct current (DC) charging. Due to the high powers at which it works, it requires the converter that transforms the current from the alternating current (AC) side to the direct current (DC) side to be external to the vehicle and located inside the charging station itself, which is more bulky than mode 3 stations. The charging cable and connector are always attached to the charging station itself.

For this charging mode there are two standards, one Japanese and one European called respectively, CHAdeMO and CCS.

Charging stations that charge in mode 4 allow charging up to 500 A and 1000 V even if the legislation does not specify a maximum limit.