Why Mode 2 & Mode 3 Type 2 EV Extension Cables Are Not Allowed

Prohibited Practices: The Stance Against Using Extension Cables in Mode 2 & Mode 3 Type 2 EV Charging

Exploring the Usage of Mode 2 Type 2 EV Cables and the Constraints on Using Extension Cables

Electric vehicles (EVs) have ushered in a new era of transportation that emphasizes sustainability and efficiency. Among the various components that facilitate EV charging, Type 2 cables are particularly significant due to their compatibility with many electric vehicles, especially in Europe. When it comes to charging flexibility, however, questions often arise about the possibility of extending these cables to accommodate less accessible power sources. Here, we'll explore the specifics of Mode 2 Type 2 EV cable (also referred to as portable EV chargers, granny chargers, or trickle chargers), and the regulations surrounding the use of extension cables.

Understanding Mode 2 Type 2 EV Cables

Mode 2 Type 2 EV cables are designed to connect an electric vehicle to a standard household AC power source. These cables come equipped with in-cable control and protection device (IC-CPD) which ensures safety during charging by monitoring electrical connections and automatically shutting off power in case of faults. This design makes Mode 2 cables a convenient option for EV owners who may not have immediate access to dedicated EV charging stations.

The Limitations on Extending Mode 2 Type 2 Cables

Despite their convenience and advanced technology, Mode 2 cables have strict usage limitations to ensure safety. According to section 722 of BS 7671 (17th Edition) of the UK wiring regulations, using a regular Mode 2 cable as an extension is not permissible. These regulations highlight the following key points:

Prohibition of Regular Extensions: Regular Mode 2 cables cannot be used as extensions to reach further power sources. This restriction is primarily due to the potential safety risks, including the inability of standard cables to handle prolonged exposure to outdoor elements and the increased risk of electric shock or fire from extended connections.

Portable Socket-Outlets: The regulations also prohibit the use of portable socket-outlets with Mode 2 EV charging cables. This ban is intended to prevent the unsafe practice of improvising connections that are not specifically designed for high-load EV charging.

Additional Extension Cables: The use of any additional extension cables with Mode 2 Yype 2 chargers is not recommended and often violates local electrical codes. Such extensions could compromise the built-in safety mechanisms of the Mode 2 cables, leading to potential hazards.

EU Regulations on the Use of Extension Cables for Mode 3 Type 2 EV Charging

The prohibition against the use of Mode 3 Type 2 EV extension cables within the European Union is grounded in safety and standardisation concerns, primarily governed by the IEC 62196 standards. These standards, particularly IEC 62196-1 and IEC 62196-2, set out the specifications for electrical connectors and the infrastructure of electric vehicle charging systems, including the stipulations for the fixed cable connections used in Mode 3 Type 2 charging.

Mode 3 Type 2 charging is designed to ensure a high level of safety with a dedicated charging station using a fixed cable. This setup allows for precise control and monitoring of the charging process, which includes specific communication protocols between the electric vehicle and the charging station, as described by IEC 61851 and IEC 62196. The introduction of an extension cable could bypass or compromise these safety mechanisms, potentially leading to hazards such as overheating, electrical shocks, or fires due to inadequate handling of the electrical load or faulty connections.

The regulatory framework does not explicitly mention "extension cables" in the text of the standards, but the design and requirements imply that any modification to the standardised charging setup, including the use of extension cables, would be non-compliant with the prescribed safety protocols and system integrity. Therefore, it's inferred that such modifications are not permissible under the guidelines that govern EV charging systems in the EU.

For detailed information on the specifications and requirements of these standards, you can refer to the official documentation of the IEC 62196 standards, or for a more general overview, sources like the IEC's and Mennekes' websites provide accessible explanations and guidelines relevant to EV charging systems and standards.