Charging modes

Learn which methods can be used to charge the battery of an electric vehicle. What is the difference between charging with alternating current (AC) and charging with direct current (DC)?

Charging is described in detail in the standards IEC 61851 and IEC 62196. IEC 61851 differentiates between four charging modes. Charging modes 1 to 3 apply to AC charging, whereby charging mode 3 is further divided into the three charging cases A, B, and C. Charging mode 4 describes DC charging.

AC charging

In the case of AC charging, the AC/DC converter is located in the vehicle. This converts the alternating current to direct current, which is required for charging the battery.

DC charging

Charging with direct current makes it possible to transmit high levels of power in a short period of time. Compared to AC charging, the AC/DC converter in this mode is located in the charging station. Moreover, the contacts and conductor cross sections are larger, meaning they can transmit charging power of up to 250 kW. For this reason, DC charging is generally referred to as fast charging. In combination with integrated cooling, charging power of up to 400 kW can be achieved in compliance with the relevant standards. This is then referred to as ultra-fast charging or High Power Charging (HPC for short).

For DC charging, leading automobile manufacturers recommend the Combined Charging System, CCS for short. SAE J1772 regulates type 1 CCS charging for North America, while IEC 62196-3 is the valid standard for type 2 CCS charging in Europe. Currently, there is no corresponding CCS standard for the Chinese market – in China, the standard GB/T 20234.3 regulates DC charging.


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