Fleet of electric vehicles charging

Modes of operation are a little different to plug/connector design, as they affect what these are capable of. There is no set standard for car makers to follow, so it is up to them to decide which, if any, are included with the cars they sell. In total, there are four modes but motorists are only likely to encounter two of them.

Before moving on, it is important to note that electric cars come with their own onboard computers to manage the charging process, as do most charging points.

The mode of charging referrers to a charging system’s (whether that be a cable, cable and wall-box or any other collection of equipment) intelligence when it comes to putting power into a battery pack. Some cables do nothing more than connect a power source to a battery, while more advanced options will make sure just the right about of voltage and current is reaching the battery.

Mode 1 

Mode 1 is a very simple prospect. You are merely connecting a car to the mains using a wire, with no method of controlling current/voltage drawn or utilising any extra safety features. Chances are motorists will never come across Mode 1 chargers.

Mode 2 

Mode 2 cables build upon Mode 1 to provide more safety and control. They feature some inline circuitry to help communicate with the car and dictate how much current is being pumped into the battery pack - they normally connect your car to a traditional three-pin UK plug as well.

Mode 3

Mode 3 is when things start to get clever, allowing the car and charging point to talk to one another. What this means is that electric cars can instruct the charging point to turn off the power when the battery is fully charged and also allow the car to evaluate a charging point's capacity - changing the speed with which the car will be charged. Typically, these are wall-box type units.

Mode 4 

Mode 4 is reserved for something called DC fast charging aka rapid charging. These tap into beefier power supplies and through a combination of the electronics in the charging station and the electric car being charged, so they add extra charge to the car's battery at quite some rate.

It is only really Mode 2 charging which uses a cable that has circuitry in between both ends of the cable. The rest either do without or rely on larger electronics at both ends of the cable, such as a wall-box.