An important aspect of owning an electric car is understanding the various charging modes – especially Mode 3. This term is often used by professionals in the car industry to talk about charging cables for charging stations and can sometimes be confused with purchasing a charging cable for your EV. In this article, we are going to help you come to grips with Mode 3 charging and the various Mode 3 cables available on the market to charge your EV.
The different charging modes
Charging modes refer to charging standards that have been developed by the European Union to ensure compatibility between various types of electric cars and charging points. This standard is used in most European countries. There are 4 charging modes: Mode 1, Mode 2, Mode 3 and Mode 4. Only Modes 2, 3 and 4 are used to charge electric vehicles.
→ Charging in Mode 1
Mode 1 is for charging from a simple domestic socket, which means you have no control over the power rating. This mode is not used for modern EVs.
→ Charging in Mode 2
Mode 2 charging is carried out from a non-dedicated socket with a monitoring device and protection integrated into the cable. In Mode 2, the vehicle charges up slowly at the minimum speed.
→ Charging in Mode 3
Mode 3 refers to the charging method that links the EV to a dedicated socket which allows the charging operation to be monitored. A safety device is integrated into the infrastructure to ensure hazard-free home charging. This charging mode opens the door to what is known as “fast” charging, which is speedier than charging from a simple domestic socket (Mode 2).
→ Charging in Mode 4
This concerns DC charging from a rapid charging infrastructure fitted with a monitoring device and protection systems integrated in the infrastructure.
Why is Mode 3 important?
Now that you know more about the various charging modes, we are going to look further into Mode 3, which is the most frequently used mode in the home environment and which you will find at charging stations for electric vehicles (with the exception of rapid DC charging stations).
Charging in Mode 3 is one of the fastest ways to charge an EV. Depending on the size of your car’s battery and the power rating of the charging station, you can charge your EV in as little as 1 hour. Finally, Mode 3 charging is safer than using a common electrical socket to charge your car. Mode 3 charging points have integrated safety features to prevent overloading and overheating, which is a risk inherent in other charging modes.
Mode 3 cables
Mode 3 therefore refers to a type of charging and not to a particular charging cable. To charge in Mode 3 at a charging station, you need to use a charging cable to connect your EV to the charging point. The Mode 3 Type 2 cable is the most commonly used since this is the European standard on both the car side and the charging point side, but other Mode 3 cables are available on the market for other types of EV connectors (Type 1) and other types of charging points (Type 3). The charging cable for AC charging stations is therefore considered to be a Mode 3 charging solution.
Difference between Mode 3 and Type 3 cables
We tend to confuse "Mode 3 cable" and “Type 3 cable” as the terms are so similar. The term Mode 3 cable refers to the charging mode as seen previously, whereas Type 3 cable refers to the Type 3 connector used to hook up to charging stations equipped with Type 3 connectors. Type 3 cables therefore provide a solution for charging in Mode 3, but are only designed to charge at compatible charging stations fitted with a Type 3 connector.
When you own an electric car, you need to know about the various charging modes. Mode 3 charging, also known as AC (alternating current) charging, corresponds to the most widespread type of charging points which you will find in public places throughout Europe. It also a faster and safer means of charging compared to other modes. Make sure that your EV is compatible with Mode 3 charging and locate the charging stations in your vicinity for a practical, efficient charging experience.
To purchase the right cable reference, you need to have more details about your EV model and your charging infrastructure in order to have the right connectors on your charging cable. Just like buying tyres for your car, it is difficult to choose the right Mode 3 cable without this information. To make quite sure you purchase the correct products for your vehicle, you can use the search by vehicle option available on Mister EV.
Our customer service is at your disposal to help you choose the perfect cable for your vehicle in tune with your particular needs.