Modes and types of charging in the electric car market

There are various charging modes in the market, each associated with the level of communication between the electric vehicle and the charging infrastructure. This affects the control of the charging process, from scheduling to the ability to stop or resume charging, and even the capacity to feed electricity back into the grid. In this article, we will explore the different modes and types of charging available in the electric car market.

Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles require an external power source to recharge their batteries, which has led to the standardisation of four charging modes differentiated by their characteristics and specific uses.

Charging Mode 1: Schuko

Charging Mode 1 involves charging an electric vehicle using a socket not specifically designed for this purpose. In other words, it refers to charging performed using a standard household socket, such as those used for appliances like washing machines.

This mode is the most basic of all electric vehicle charging modes, as it simply involves connecting a cable from the 230 V “Schuko” plug to the vehicle. Generally, Charging Mode 1 is used to charge small motorcycles, electric bicycles, or other small-sized vehicles such as scooters or hoverboards. However, it is not recommended for higher-powered vehicles or motorcycles because the socket lacks adequate safety measures.

The domestic Schuko plug used in this charging mode does not establish any communication between the charging infrastructure and the electric vehicle, meaning it is not connected to the network. In summary, this charging mode uses a conventional power outlet without advanced communication functions.

Charging Mode 2: Slow Charging

Charging Mode 2 involves using a wall-mounted domestic Schuko socket equipped with pilot function systems integrated into the cable. This cable includes an intermediate pilot control device that verifies the correct connection of the vehicle to the electrical network. Additionally, it establishes basic communication with the network.

Known as Slow Charging mode, Charging Mode 2 is designed for use in domestic environments, such as garages. This method of charging is single-phase and operates at a voltage of 230V, with a maximum power of 3.7kW. To ensure safety during charging, the electric or hybrid vehicle is connected to the electrical network using the appropriate connector/adapter.

In this charging mode, the user installs a box with a Schuko-type socket, typically intended primarily for charging the electric vehicle in question (although its use is not exclusive, it usually is). This box must be equipped with the appropriate protection systems.

Charging Mode 2 is particularly relevant for owners of plug-in hybrid vehicles or small electric vehicles, such as quadricycles (e.g., the EV Tazzari Zero EM2 Space). Besides the charging system, there are other important considerations when choosing a hybrid or electric vehicle, such as the propulsion motor and range.

Charging Mode 3: Semi-Fast Charging

Charging Mode 3 requires the use of a device known as a Wallbox, specifically designed for recharging electric vehicles. This charging point is equipped with various protection systems necessary to ensure the safety of both the electrical installation and the vehicle. According to Spanish regulations (ITC-BT 52), the use of Charging Mode 3 is mandatory for public charging points, typically in conjunction with Mode 4.

The connection of the electric vehicle to the alternating urrent network is made through equipment exclusively dedicated to recharging the vehicle. This Mode 3 is particularly suitable for domestic use if you own a plug-in hybrid with considerable autonomy or a fully electric vehicle. Additionally, this charging mode allows for both single-phase and three-phase configurations. That is, if the vehicle allows it, it can be charged at a current of up to 32A, which equates to more than 7.2kWh and 400V.

To use this charging mode, a specific connector is required, which can be either Type 1 (SAE J1772) or Type 2 (IEC 62196-2), depending on the vehicle’s specifications. Mode 3 is gradually replacing Mode 2, thanks to technological advancements that have improved both the power and the battery capacity of electric vehicles. Mode 3 is considered safer, more reliable, and faster.

This charging mode establishes advanced communication with the electrical grid. The control and protection devices are integrated within the charging point itself, and the cable includes a pilot communication wire. Examples of connectors used in this mode are Type 1 (SAE J1772) and Type 2 (Mennekes, IEC 62196).

Charging Mode 4: Fast Charging

Charging Mode 4 is characterised by high communication with the electrical grid and a focus on fast charging. This mode involves a DC converter and is exclusively dedicated to fast charging. Examples of connectors used in this mode are CHAdeMO or COMBO DC.

In this charging mode, the charging station is located outside the home and allows at least 70% of the battery to be recharged in less than 30 minutes. The most commonly used standard connector for this type of charging is CHAdeMO, originating from Japan. In the vehicle, there is a Type 1 connector (SAE J1772 or Yazaki) or Type 2 connector (IEC, Mennekes), and a CHAdeMO or CCS connector, depending on the type of electric vehicle (EV). On the charging point side, the cable extension must be compatible with CHAdeMO.

It is important to note that Mode 4 is considered starting from a battery capacity of at least 50 kWh. It differentiates between “super fast” and “ultra fast” charging. Ultra-fast charging is not recommended for daily use as it can damage the battery if used frequently. It is specifically designed for public stations, such as charging stations, where vehicles need to be recharged during long journeys or in situations with limited time available.

Charging in Mode 4 is carried out in direct current (DC), unlike the previous modes which operate in alternating current (AC). However, charging points that use Mode 4 are not suitable for private garages due to their high cost, both in terms of product and installation. Generally, Modes 2 and 3 are considered more appropriate for domestic use due to their greater convenience and more suitable conditions.

Problemas Carga Renault Zoe Eléctrico

Types of Electric Car Charging

Electric car charging types are classified according to the charging speed, which is determined by the available power. Currently, there are five types of electric car charging.

Ultra-Fast Electric Car Charging

This type of charging is not very common and is in an experimental stage with electric vehicles equipped with supercapacitor accumulators (e.g., some electric buses). The batteries can be recharged in five to ten minutes due to the high charging power. Lithium-ion batteries cannot withstand the high temperatures generated by this type of charging, as it severely deteriorates their lifespan.

Fast Electric Car Charging

The power demanded is very high, between 44 and 50 kW. Charging those 22 to 24 kWh batteries can take about half an hour. Typically, the charge is not done to 100% but rather around 80% or 90%.

Semi-FastElectric Car Charging

The duration of the charge ranges between one and four hours. It is carried out at a power of about 22 kW. This type of charging is very common with Renault, for example, their low-cost Chameleon charger which is compatible with the Renault Zoe.

Slow Electric Car Charging

This type of charging is commonly referred to as normal or conventional charging. The batteries typically take between six and eight hours to charge and operate at 16 A, requiring about 3.6 kW of power.

Super-Slow Electric Car Charging

This occurs when the current intensity is limited to 10 A or less due to the lack of a charging base with proper protection and an adequate electrical installation. Fully charging the batteries of an average electric car, which have a capacity of about 22 to 24 kWh, can take between ten and twelve hours.

Now you know all the charging Modes for an electric car and all the types of charging available. Remember that at V2C, we have a network of professional installers for charging points who can install the perfect charger to suit your needs.

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