Charging guide: charging mode

Charging modes

We currently have four charging modes for charging electric cars and these are also often referred to as "charging modes" or simply "mode" in English. These express the safety level for charging and are designations given by The International Electrotechnical Commission under the standard IEC 62196. We want to describe the differences, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the different solutions.


Mode #1

Lading - Mode 1 - Lademodus

Mode 1 charging describes the simplest way to charge an electric car. The car's charging cable is connected directly to a socket and it is up to the car owner to ensure safety when charging, as there is no system that monitors whether the car is connected to a contact with earth or has the correct protections that are in satisfactory condition for charging the electric car. In other words, there is no communication between the car and the power supply. Mode 1 charging is described as mode 1 charging in Norwegian electricity regulations.


Mode #2

Lading - Mode 2 - Lademodus

A mode 2 charging solution means that the charging cable can be connected to a standard power outlet, but that safety functions are ensured via a control box (ICCB) on the charging cable itself or a portable charging station. This is one of the charging cables supplied as standard with all electric vehicles as of today. This takes care of basic safety by cutting the voltage so that there is no voltage right up to the car before the plug is physically connected to the car. The control box also checks that there is a satisfactory earthing on the system and will not start charging if there is an earth fault. It communicates with the car and "tells" how much current the car can draw and the car must "tell" that it is ready to accept charging before the voltage is applied all the way to the car. Furthermore, an EVSE must have built-in security for heat generation, and is a much safer charging solution compared to mode 1. Weaknesses with mode 2 charging are that the schuko contact, which is the most common, is not intended for the long and hard current load like a plug-in hybrid or an electric car represents. This charging solution also leaves the electric motorist with the responsibility of ensuring that enough power is available in the socket to which the charging cable is connected.

The control box for a mode 2 charger can weigh from 1-3kg and hangs approximately 30 cm from the plug. This causes the plug to be pulled out of the socket and causes the socket to be destroyed with subsequent heating, if it is not relieved. This problem can be avoided by fitting a basket or hook where the "charging box" can be relieved during charging. The charging box is built robustly, so that it can withstand being run over. Mode 2 charging cables are normally supplied either with or without the ability to adjust the output in the number of amperes. This is practical in cases where there is limited power available so that one avoids tripping the fuse, while at the same time reducing the risk of fire due to overload.


Mode #3

Lading - Mode 3 - Lademodus

Mode 3 charging includes fixed installations and connection takes place with a specially adapted connector (Type 2) for charging electric cars. Control and safety functions during mode 2 are integrated in a charging station. The Type 2 socket has either one or three phase conductors, earth and a pilot socket. The pilot contact transmits a tone that controls the charging current between the car and the charging station. The contacts are built to withstand high loads over a long period of time, and will withstand the load imposed by charging. The charging station can be supplied with a permanently mounted charging cable or with a type 2 connector that makes it possible to connect with a mode 3 charging cable. These cables are known colloquially as either "type 2 to type 2" or "type 2 to type 1" and have no form of built-in communication.

Mode 3 charging cables are supplied with the following specifications:

 Amperage (A) Voltage Phases Maximum effect (kW)
16 230V 1 3,7
32 230V 1 7,4
16 400V 3 11*
32 400V 3 22*

 * (Only possible with type 2 - type 2)


Mode #4

Lading - Mode 4 - Lademodus

Mode 4 charging is referred to as fast charging with a special charging technology, such as e.g. CHAdeMO or CCS where direct current (DC) is fed directly into the battery which is much faster. The charger sits in the charging station and has a rectifier of the current from alternating current (AC) to direct voltage (DC). There is communication between the car and the charging station to control charging and to increase safety at such high currents. Therefore, the charging cable with plug will always be permanently attached to a fast charging station.



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