International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

April 2011


Plug them in, move them on!

IEC work on International Standards for EV charging

Electrification is essential for the long-term sustainability of individual transportation. Manufacturers are now offering a wide choice of EVs (electric vehicles). Some of these, plug-in EVs, require charging from the electrical grid.


International Standards are essential to allow the successful global roll-out of such vehicles, consumer adoption and economies of scale for the automotive industry and utilities. The IEC is working on standards and on bringing stakeholders together to ensure that this happens.

Fostering communication

There has been relatively little communication until now between the various stakeholders in the EV sector: automotive manufacturers, electric equipment suppliers and utilities. The IEC, and e8, a global organization of 10 world-leading electricity companies, brought these together at an international round table that took place in January 2011 in Washington DC, US (United States). This meeting represented a milestone for the future roll-out of these vehicles as all participants confirmed that the IEC’s existing and proposed International Standards for EV charging satisfied their global needs.

International Standards for charging

As regards these International Standards, IEC TC (Technical Committee) 69: Electric road vehicles and electric industrial trucks, and IEC SC (Subcommittee) 23H: Industrial plugs and socket-outlets, have prepared and are working on a number of International Standards.


TC 69 has developed — among others — IEC 61851-1, Electric vehicle conductive charging system. This standard foresees four modes for the charging of EVs:

  • Mode 1, AC (alternating current) — slow charging from a standard household-type socket-outlet.
  • Mode 2, AC — slow charging from a standard household-type socket-outlet with an in-cable protection device.
  • Mode 3, AC — slow or fast charging using a specific EV socket-outlet and plug with control and protection function permanently installed.
  • Mode 4, DC (direct current) — fast charging using an external charger.

IEC SC 23H published IEC 62196-1, Plugs, socket-outlets, vehicle couplers and vehicle inlets, covering general requirements for EV connectors, and is currently close to finalizing IEC 62196-2 which standardizes the following elements needed for AC charging:

  • Type 1 — single-phase vehicle coupler (vehicle connector and inlet), for example Yazaki or SAE J1772 (Japan, North America).
  • Type 2 — single- and three-phase vehicle coupler and mains plug and socket-outlet without shutters, for example VDE-AR-E 2623-2-2.
  • Type 3 — single- and three-phase vehicle coupler and mains plug and socket-outlet with shutters, for example SCAME plug developed by the EV Plug Alliance.

SC 23H is also developing IEC 62196-3 (DC) on requirements for the vehicle coupler. The work is still at an early stage and several proposals are on the table, including the DC quick charging CHAdeMO coupler, as well as the possibility to use the same vehicle inlet both for DC and AC charging.


  • Wall socket for EV charging
  • Plug-in Volvo car
  • Charging socket on Rolls Royce Phantom EX102 experimental EV



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