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Everything You Need to Know About Mode 3 Charging for EVs

Published on
May 23, 2024

Some of the terms used to describe relatively simple concepts around electric vehicles sound sci-fi-esque and futuristic, like “Level 1 points” or “Mode 3 charging.” The name conjures up all sorts of images, but it’s actually a straightforward concept you can easily wrap your head around. 

The modes of EV charging refer to the various standardisation methods and protocols used to charge your car, as defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). By the end of this blog, you'll understand the answer to the question: "What is Mode 3 charging?" We will also touch upon the other modes, as well as Mode 3's pros, cons, and availability. 

What Is Mode 3 Charging?

Mode 3 charging is the most common type of charging you'll come across when you're out and about in your EV. It's the one you're most likely to find in public car parks, supermarkets, and dedicated stations. 

What Is a Mode 3 Charging Cable?

Mode 3 charging is a specific type of charging connection and protocol used between the EV, cable, and station. A Mode 3 charging cable is a special cable and connector that communicates directly with your car and the charging point. This communication is the key to making Mode 3 charging safer, more efficient, and smarter than the other modes. 

The simple answer is that it's one of four ways you can charge your car. The term doesn't have any direct influence on charging speed. It’s only about how you get the electricity from point A (the charging point) to point B (your vehicle). Read our blog on understanding EV charger types If you're interested in learning more. 

What Are the Other Modes of Charging

Let's start with the basics. Mode 1 is the simplest of the lot. It's when you plug your EV into a regular household socket using a standard cable with no special connectors or fancy technology. It's similar to charging your phone. As you can guess, it's not exactly fast, and most people don't do this. Instead, it's largely a last resort rather than a go-to powering method.

Next up is Mode 2 charging, which is a bit of a step up to Mode 1. It still uses the standard household socket but with a special cable with an in-cable control and protection device (IC-CPD), which makes the powering process a bit safer and more reliable. Again, it's not a fast way to charge, but it is much more secure than Mode 1, so it can be useful if you don't have a home station but want to power it overnight.

Finally, there's Mode 4 charging, also known as DC fast charging. Mode 4 is the fastest way to power your EV. It uses a special high-powered station that pumps electricity directly into your car's battery, bypassing the onboard charger. Despite being the quickest way to charge, it's not as widely available as Mode 3 and is also more expensive.

Charging Mode

Connection Type

Power Supply

Safety Features

Use Case

Mode 1

Basic connection without any EV-specific equipment

Standard AC

None beyond basic electrical protections

Rare, mainly older installations or very low-cost setups

Mode 2

Cable with an in-cable control box (ICCB)

Standard AC

Overcurrent and leakage protection

Home or temporary setups, more common in residential areas

Mode 3

Dedicated EV charging station with fixed wiring

AC

Integration with the building's electrical system, communication between charger and vehicle for safety

Public and residential charging stations

Mode 4

Uses a DC connection directly from the charger to the vehicle

DC

Direct communication for rapid charging includes all safety and protocol checks

Fast charging stations along highways or in commercial areas

Advantages of Mode 3 Charging

Returning to Mode 3, let's consider why people use it so much:

  • Speed: While it's not quite as fast as Mode 4 charging, Mode 3 is still quite fast. It can charge your EV several times faster than Mode 1 or 2.
  • Safety: Remember the IC-CPD we mentioned earlier? It constantly monitors the charging process and can quickly cut off the power if it detects problems with overheating or electricity. It makes Mode 3 charging a lot safer than the other options.
  • Availability: Mode 3 charging stations are becoming more and more popular each day. They're by far the most common type of public charging infrastructure.

Disadvantages of Mode 3 Charging

However, as with anything, there are drawbacks to Mode 3 charging:

  • High cost of home charging: Getting a Mode 3 charger at your home lets you charge safely and securely, but it'll also set you back a pretty penny. The equipment and installation costs can get a bit pricey.
  • Installation requirements: Installation comes with other issues. Mode 3 charging stations need a dedicated power supply and proper wiring to function safely and efficiently. So, you'll need to get an electrician involved, adding to the cost and complexity of the setup. 
  • Speed limits: Yes, Mode 3 is a fast charger compared to Mode 1 or 2, but it's still not the most optimal way to charge. It'll still take a few hours to fill up a decent amount of your battery as opposed to Mode 4, which takes minutes.

Where Can You Get Mode 3 Charging in the UK

By now, you probably understand enough that you're ready to get out there and try Mode 3 charging. But where do you find these points? Well, the simple answer is everywhere. They are the most widely available standard in the country.

There are many charging networks available that primarily provide Mode 3 chargers. BP Pulse charging stations, Osprey charging stations, and Pod Point charging stations operate in thousands of spots across the country. Their locations can be found anywhere from supermarket car parks to motorway service stations, and they're also easy to use.

You can also get Mode 3 at home. All you need to do is install a charging station on your property, which is relatively straightforward. You need to work with an approved installer who will assess your property, recommend a setup that suits your needs, and handle all the wiring and installation work. All you need to do is hire them and follow their instructions. 

OVO Charge powered by Bonnet: The Best Way to Find Mode 3 Chargers

Logo of OVO Charge powered by Bonnet

While there are plenty of Mode 3 public charging spots across the UK, finding them can be a bit tricky. You can end up driving around in circles, trying to get to a spot just to find points that are out of order or already in use. When you do find one, it might not suit your EV or have clearly displayed prices.

That's why we made OVO Charge powered by Bonnet, a nifty app that takes the hassle out of charging. Our charging map lets you filter stations based on various criteria, like location, price, speed, and even compatibility with your specific EV model. Once you've set all that up and found the perfect station (based on 24/7 real-time updates), OVO Charge powered by Bonnet can guide you to it using your favourite navigation tool. 

But our app is more than just a charging station finder - it's also your one-stop shop for the entire powering process. Once you've plugged in your EV to a Mode 3 point, you can start a session directly through the app with just a tap of the "Start Charge” button. You no longer have to fiddle around with unfamiliar interfaces or wonder if you've set things up correctly. 

OVO Charge powered by Bonnet simplifies payments by automatically billing you after each session. You can also get up to 15% off all your charging within partner networks, which amounts to thousands of pounds worth of savings over a year. 

If you're an EV owner who has felt the frustration of looking for the right charging spot only to encounter issue after issue, save yourself the stress and download OVO Charge powered by Bonnet today!

Final Thoughts

That's most of what you need to know about Mode 3 charging. In short, it's the most widely available way to charge, and it's also the safest for your battery in the long term. Now that you know the answer to "What is Mode 3 charging?" you'll be able to enjoy more fruitful charges and experience less confusion that comes with the somewhat complicated jargon of the EV world.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Mode 2 and Mode 3 EV charging?

The basic difference between Mode 2 and 3 is that Mode 2 uses a standard household socket, while Mode 3 uses a dedicated charging station with a Type 2 connector.

What is Mode 3’s charging speed?

The charging speed of Mode 3 can vary depending on the power output of the specific station you're using and the maximum charging rate your EV can handle. Typically, Mode 3 can go from anywhere between 3.7 kW to 22 kW.

What is a Mode 3 charging point?

A Mode 3 charging point is a station that supplies electric energy for recharging EVs. It uses a specific protocol and connector (usually Type 2) to communicate with the car and ensure safe and efficient charging.

May 23, 2024

Some of the terms used to describe relatively simple concepts around electric vehicles sound sci-fi-esque and futuristic, like “Level 1 points” or “Mode 3 charging.” The name conjures up all sorts of images, but it’s actually a straightforward concept you can easily wrap your head around. 

The modes of EV charging refer to the various standardisation methods and protocols used to charge your car, as defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). By the end of this blog, you'll understand the answer to the question: "What is Mode 3 charging?" We will also touch upon the other modes, as well as Mode 3's pros, cons, and availability. 

What Is Mode 3 Charging?

Mode 3 charging is the most common type of charging you'll come across when you're out and about in your EV. It's the one you're most likely to find in public car parks, supermarkets, and dedicated stations. 

What Is a Mode 3 Charging Cable?

Mode 3 charging is a specific type of charging connection and protocol used between the EV, cable, and station. A Mode 3 charging cable is a special cable and connector that communicates directly with your car and the charging point. This communication is the key to making Mode 3 charging safer, more efficient, and smarter than the other modes. 

The simple answer is that it's one of four ways you can charge your car. The term doesn't have any direct influence on charging speed. It’s only about how you get the electricity from point A (the charging point) to point B (your vehicle). Read our blog on understanding EV charger types If you're interested in learning more. 

What Are the Other Modes of Charging

Let's start with the basics. Mode 1 is the simplest of the lot. It's when you plug your EV into a regular household socket using a standard cable with no special connectors or fancy technology. It's similar to charging your phone. As you can guess, it's not exactly fast, and most people don't do this. Instead, it's largely a last resort rather than a go-to powering method.

Next up is Mode 2 charging, which is a bit of a step up to Mode 1. It still uses the standard household socket but with a special cable with an in-cable control and protection device (IC-CPD), which makes the powering process a bit safer and more reliable. Again, it's not a fast way to charge, but it is much more secure than Mode 1, so it can be useful if you don't have a home station but want to power it overnight.

Finally, there's Mode 4 charging, also known as DC fast charging. Mode 4 is the fastest way to power your EV. It uses a special high-powered station that pumps electricity directly into your car's battery, bypassing the onboard charger. Despite being the quickest way to charge, it's not as widely available as Mode 3 and is also more expensive.

Charging Mode

Connection Type

Power Supply

Safety Features

Use Case

Mode 1

Basic connection without any EV-specific equipment

Standard AC

None beyond basic electrical protections

Rare, mainly older installations or very low-cost setups

Mode 2

Cable with an in-cable control box (ICCB)

Standard AC

Overcurrent and leakage protection

Home or temporary setups, more common in residential areas

Mode 3

Dedicated EV charging station with fixed wiring

AC

Integration with the building's electrical system, communication between charger and vehicle for safety

Public and residential charging stations

Mode 4

Uses a DC connection directly from the charger to the vehicle

DC

Direct communication for rapid charging includes all safety and protocol checks

Fast charging stations along highways or in commercial areas

Advantages of Mode 3 Charging

Returning to Mode 3, let's consider why people use it so much:

  • Speed: While it's not quite as fast as Mode 4 charging, Mode 3 is still quite fast. It can charge your EV several times faster than Mode 1 or 2.
  • Safety: Remember the IC-CPD we mentioned earlier? It constantly monitors the charging process and can quickly cut off the power if it detects problems with overheating or electricity. It makes Mode 3 charging a lot safer than the other options.
  • Availability: Mode 3 charging stations are becoming more and more popular each day. They're by far the most common type of public charging infrastructure.

Disadvantages of Mode 3 Charging

However, as with anything, there are drawbacks to Mode 3 charging:

  • High cost of home charging: Getting a Mode 3 charger at your home lets you charge safely and securely, but it'll also set you back a pretty penny. The equipment and installation costs can get a bit pricey.
  • Installation requirements: Installation comes with other issues. Mode 3 charging stations need a dedicated power supply and proper wiring to function safely and efficiently. So, you'll need to get an electrician involved, adding to the cost and complexity of the setup. 
  • Speed limits: Yes, Mode 3 is a fast charger compared to Mode 1 or 2, but it's still not the most optimal way to charge. It'll still take a few hours to fill up a decent amount of your battery as opposed to Mode 4, which takes minutes.

Where Can You Get Mode 3 Charging in the UK

By now, you probably understand enough that you're ready to get out there and try Mode 3 charging. But where do you find these points? Well, the simple answer is everywhere. They are the most widely available standard in the country.

There are many charging networks available that primarily provide Mode 3 chargers. BP Pulse charging stations, Osprey charging stations, and Pod Point charging stations operate in thousands of spots across the country. Their locations can be found anywhere from supermarket car parks to motorway service stations, and they're also easy to use.

You can also get Mode 3 at home. All you need to do is install a charging station on your property, which is relatively straightforward. You need to work with an approved installer who will assess your property, recommend a setup that suits your needs, and handle all the wiring and installation work. All you need to do is hire them and follow their instructions. 

OVO Charge powered by Bonnet: The Best Way to Find Mode 3 Chargers

Logo of OVO Charge powered by Bonnet

While there are plenty of Mode 3 public charging spots across the UK, finding them can be a bit tricky. You can end up driving around in circles, trying to get to a spot just to find points that are out of order or already in use. When you do find one, it might not suit your EV or have clearly displayed prices.

That's why we made OVO Charge powered by Bonnet, a nifty app that takes the hassle out of charging. Our charging map lets you filter stations based on various criteria, like location, price, speed, and even compatibility with your specific EV model. Once you've set all that up and found the perfect station (based on 24/7 real-time updates), OVO Charge powered by Bonnet can guide you to it using your favourite navigation tool. 

But our app is more than just a charging station finder - it's also your one-stop shop for the entire powering process. Once you've plugged in your EV to a Mode 3 point, you can start a session directly through the app with just a tap of the "Start Charge” button. You no longer have to fiddle around with unfamiliar interfaces or wonder if you've set things up correctly. 

OVO Charge powered by Bonnet simplifies payments by automatically billing you after each session. You can also get up to 15% off all your charging within partner networks, which amounts to thousands of pounds worth of savings over a year. 

If you're an EV owner who has felt the frustration of looking for the right charging spot only to encounter issue after issue, save yourself the stress and download OVO Charge powered by Bonnet today!

Final Thoughts

That's most of what you need to know about Mode 3 charging. In short, it's the most widely available way to charge, and it's also the safest for your battery in the long term. Now that you know the answer to "What is Mode 3 charging?" you'll be able to enjoy more fruitful charges and experience less confusion that comes with the somewhat complicated jargon of the EV world.

Some of the terms used to describe relatively simple concepts around electric vehicles sound sci-fi-esque and futuristic, like “Level 1 points” or “Mode 3 charging.” The name conjures up all sorts of images, but it’s actually a straightforward concept you can easily wrap your head around. 

The modes of EV charging refer to the various standardisation methods and protocols used to charge your car, as defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). By the end of this blog, you'll understand the answer to the question: "What is Mode 3 charging?" We will also touch upon the other modes, as well as Mode 3's pros, cons, and availability. 

What Is Mode 3 Charging?

Mode 3 charging is the most common type of charging you'll come across when you're out and about in your EV. It's the one you're most likely to find in public car parks, supermarkets, and dedicated stations. 

What Is a Mode 3 Charging Cable?

Mode 3 charging is a specific type of charging connection and protocol used between the EV, cable, and station. A Mode 3 charging cable is a special cable and connector that communicates directly with your car and the charging point. This communication is the key to making Mode 3 charging safer, more efficient, and smarter than the other modes. 

The simple answer is that it's one of four ways you can charge your car. The term doesn't have any direct influence on charging speed. It’s only about how you get the electricity from point A (the charging point) to point B (your vehicle). Read our blog on understanding EV charger types If you're interested in learning more. 

What Are the Other Modes of Charging

Let's start with the basics. Mode 1 is the simplest of the lot. It's when you plug your EV into a regular household socket using a standard cable with no special connectors or fancy technology. It's similar to charging your phone. As you can guess, it's not exactly fast, and most people don't do this. Instead, it's largely a last resort rather than a go-to powering method.

Next up is Mode 2 charging, which is a bit of a step up to Mode 1. It still uses the standard household socket but with a special cable with an in-cable control and protection device (IC-CPD), which makes the powering process a bit safer and more reliable. Again, it's not a fast way to charge, but it is much more secure than Mode 1, so it can be useful if you don't have a home station but want to power it overnight.

Finally, there's Mode 4 charging, also known as DC fast charging. Mode 4 is the fastest way to power your EV. It uses a special high-powered station that pumps electricity directly into your car's battery, bypassing the onboard charger. Despite being the quickest way to charge, it's not as widely available as Mode 3 and is also more expensive.

Charging Mode

Connection Type

Power Supply

Safety Features

Use Case

Mode 1

Basic connection without any EV-specific equipment

Standard AC

None beyond basic electrical protections

Rare, mainly older installations or very low-cost setups

Mode 2

Cable with an in-cable control box (ICCB)

Standard AC

Overcurrent and leakage protection

Home or temporary setups, more common in residential areas

Mode 3

Dedicated EV charging station with fixed wiring

AC

Integration with the building's electrical system, communication between charger and vehicle for safety

Public and residential charging stations

Mode 4

Uses a DC connection directly from the charger to the vehicle

DC

Direct communication for rapid charging includes all safety and protocol checks

Fast charging stations along highways or in commercial areas

Advantages of Mode 3 Charging

Returning to Mode 3, let's consider why people use it so much:

  • Speed: While it's not quite as fast as Mode 4 charging, Mode 3 is still quite fast. It can charge your EV several times faster than Mode 1 or 2.
  • Safety: Remember the IC-CPD we mentioned earlier? It constantly monitors the charging process and can quickly cut off the power if it detects problems with overheating or electricity. It makes Mode 3 charging a lot safer than the other options.
  • Availability: Mode 3 charging stations are becoming more and more popular each day. They're by far the most common type of public charging infrastructure.

Disadvantages of Mode 3 Charging

However, as with anything, there are drawbacks to Mode 3 charging:

  • High cost of home charging: Getting a Mode 3 charger at your home lets you charge safely and securely, but it'll also set you back a pretty penny. The equipment and installation costs can get a bit pricey.
  • Installation requirements: Installation comes with other issues. Mode 3 charging stations need a dedicated power supply and proper wiring to function safely and efficiently. So, you'll need to get an electrician involved, adding to the cost and complexity of the setup. 
  • Speed limits: Yes, Mode 3 is a fast charger compared to Mode 1 or 2, but it's still not the most optimal way to charge. It'll still take a few hours to fill up a decent amount of your battery as opposed to Mode 4, which takes minutes.

Where Can You Get Mode 3 Charging in the UK

By now, you probably understand enough that you're ready to get out there and try Mode 3 charging. But where do you find these points? Well, the simple answer is everywhere. They are the most widely available standard in the country.

There are many charging networks available that primarily provide Mode 3 chargers. BP Pulse charging stations, Osprey charging stations, and Pod Point charging stations operate in thousands of spots across the country. Their locations can be found anywhere from supermarket car parks to motorway service stations, and they're also easy to use.

You can also get Mode 3 at home. All you need to do is install a charging station on your property, which is relatively straightforward. You need to work with an approved installer who will assess your property, recommend a setup that suits your needs, and handle all the wiring and installation work. All you need to do is hire them and follow their instructions. 

OVO Charge powered by Bonnet: The Best Way to Find Mode 3 Chargers

Logo of OVO Charge powered by Bonnet

While there are plenty of Mode 3 public charging spots across the UK, finding them can be a bit tricky. You can end up driving around in circles, trying to get to a spot just to find points that are out of order or already in use. When you do find one, it might not suit your EV or have clearly displayed prices.

That's why we made OVO Charge powered by Bonnet, a nifty app that takes the hassle out of charging. Our charging map lets you filter stations based on various criteria, like location, price, speed, and even compatibility with your specific EV model. Once you've set all that up and found the perfect station (based on 24/7 real-time updates), OVO Charge powered by Bonnet can guide you to it using your favourite navigation tool. 

But our app is more than just a charging station finder - it's also your one-stop shop for the entire powering process. Once you've plugged in your EV to a Mode 3 point, you can start a session directly through the app with just a tap of the "Start Charge” button. You no longer have to fiddle around with unfamiliar interfaces or wonder if you've set things up correctly. 

OVO Charge powered by Bonnet simplifies payments by automatically billing you after each session. You can also get up to 15% off all your charging within partner networks, which amounts to thousands of pounds worth of savings over a year. 

If you're an EV owner who has felt the frustration of looking for the right charging spot only to encounter issue after issue, save yourself the stress and download OVO Charge powered by Bonnet today!

Final Thoughts

That's most of what you need to know about Mode 3 charging. In short, it's the most widely available way to charge, and it's also the safest for your battery in the long term. Now that you know the answer to "What is Mode 3 charging?" you'll be able to enjoy more fruitful charges and experience less confusion that comes with the somewhat complicated jargon of the EV world.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Mode 2 and Mode 3 EV charging?

The basic difference between Mode 2 and 3 is that Mode 2 uses a standard household socket, while Mode 3 uses a dedicated charging station with a Type 2 connector.

What is Mode 3’s charging speed?

The charging speed of Mode 3 can vary depending on the power output of the specific station you're using and the maximum charging rate your EV can handle. Typically, Mode 3 can go from anywhere between 3.7 kW to 22 kW.

What is a Mode 3 charging point?

A Mode 3 charging point is a station that supplies electric energy for recharging EVs. It uses a specific protocol and connector (usually Type 2) to communicate with the car and ensure safe and efficient charging.

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