What are the different charging modes?

Plug types, charging cables and modes. Anyone wanting to charge is initially confronted with many new terms. It seems complicated, but it’s not. We explain the different charging modes, what these are good for and which plugs are required.

According to German standards, electric vehicles can be charged in four different modes. The decisive differences relate to charging power, plug locking and communication between the charging mode and the vehicle.

Charging mode 1:

In charging mode 1, an electric car is charged either at a Schuko or a CEE socket. A Schuko socket is a European household socket and a CEE socket is a common connection for heavy current. In charging mode 1, charging takes place at 3.7kW with AC and type 1 or type 2 plugs can be used. Plug locking is not possible in this charging mode. The plug can simply be removed.
The lack of plug locking as well as the lack of communication between the vehicle and the power connection can lead to safety-related issues in various situations (e.g. no protection against overloading or theft of the charging cable). For these reasons, charging mode 1 has been further developed.

Charging mode 2:

Charging mode 2 provides greater safety. In this case, the means of communication between the vehicle and the charger is integrated into the cable. This prevents overloads and other dangers. The vehicle can be charged using AC at a power of up to 22 kW. Otherwise, charging mode 2 does not differ from charging mode 1. Here too, Schuko or CEE sockets can be connected to the electric car by plug types 1 and 2 but not locked.

Charging mode 3:

Charging mode 3 is the current standard. It is very different from modes 1 and 2. The plug types are the same (type 1 and type 2 plugs), but they are not connected to CEE or Schuko sockets, but to charging stations. The plugs can also be locked during charging to prevent unintentional or unauthorised unplugging. The alternating current is fed in with a maximum charging power of 44 kW.

Charging mode 4

In charging mode 4, electric cars charge with direct current and thus considerably faster compared to alternating current. This is why mode 4 is also called the rapid charging mode. The charging power is 170kW, four times that of charging mode 3. Combo2/CCS, CHAdeMO, Type 2 or Tesla plugs are suitable. In charging mode 4, the plugs are also locked and communication between the vehicle and the charger takes place via the cable.


Recent contributions

GHG quota – What is the greenhouse gas reduction quota and how can operators of charging stations benefit from it?

With the new regulation coming into force, GHG quotas have become directly relevant for eCar drivers. But how exactly does…


What is the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR)?

The European Commission has presented a proposal for a regulation on how to ensure an adequate public charging infrastructure in…


PIN pad requirement at charging stations? Why an exception for eCars makes sense.

Manufacturers and operators of charging infrastructure solutions are calling for an exception to the PIN pad requirement when it comes…


Which eVehicle is suitable for my company?

Fleets of electric vehicles have many benefits for companies. What you need to consider when choosing the right e-vehicle for…

Office building

KfW funding for companies: “Private charging stations for electric vehicles”

BMVI funding for private charging stations is designed to drive development of the charging infrastructure for business and municipal e-fleets.


Safe charging of electric vehicles (2/2): Software security

The future belongs to intelligent charging stations. Software security is an essential factor here. What needs to be considered.


Safe charging of electric vehicles (1/2): Hardware security

The technical safety of charging stations is a basic requirement for the nationwide expansion of charging infrastructure. What operators should…


Case Study – N-ERGIE: car park of the future

An eMobility lighthouse project by reev and N-ERGIE As an energy service provider with sustainable ambitions, N-ERGIE is committed to…


eMobility in the automotive industry: When will the final switch to electromobility take place?

The automotive industry continues to push the final switch to eMobility. More information on the electrification plans of selected manufacturers.