Charging modes

Types of charging cable

The plugs for charging electric vehicles are standardised throughout Europe. The type 2 plug is used for normal charging with alternating current (AC). The combo 2 plug is used for rapid charging with direct current (DC). Here, the so-called charging mode determines which charging cable and which charging stations can be used for charging the electric vehicle. There are currently 4 charging modes specified in the IEC 61851-1 standard. IEC 61851-1 also defines the various connection configurations: Case A: The charging cable is permanently attached to the vehicle Case B: The charging cable is attached neither to the vehicle nor to the charging station Case C: The charging cable is permanently attached to the charging station


Charging mode 1

Charging mode 1 describes alternating current charging using a standardised connector system, e.g. at a schuko-type or CEE socket, with up to 16A. No communication takes place between the vehicle and infrastructure. With this charging mode, it is essential that a residual current protective device (RCCB – residual current circuit breaker) is present. As this type of protection is not always provided at existing installations, Bals advises against this charging mode.

Charging mode 2 

Charging mode 2 describes charging at a commercially available, standardised schuko-type or CEE socket up to max. 32 A (three-phase). This mode features the so-called in-cable control and protection device (IC-CPD). This IC-CPD is integrated in the charging cable and, as a protection and control device, ensures safe power setting. It also provides the prescribed communication with the vehicle.

Charging mode 3

Charging mode 3 is the current standard for alternating current charging stations complying with IEC 61851. Charging takes place at a specially standardised charging socket which is installed in a charging station or wallbox permanently connected to the mains supply network. Alternatively, a permanently attached charging cable can also be present at the charging point. All necessary and safety-relevant components, such as PWM, communication module, RCCB or overvoltage protection, are installed in the charging station. In mode 3, a charging current of max. 63A (three-phase) can be charged. A charging capacity up to 43.5kW is therefore possible.

Charging mode 4 

Charging mode 4 describes direct current charging at a permanently installed charging station. Owing to the high safety requirements, the charger is not located in the vehicle but instead is part of the charging station. The charging cable is also permanently connected to the charging station. In mode 4, the vehicle can be charged using two different connector systems: the "Combined Charging System" (CCS) with a charging current of up to 200 A and a charging capacity up to 170 kW, and the Japanese CHAdeMO system with its low charging capacity.