Can an electric car be charged at a normal socket?

If you have already entered the world of electric mobility or are considering doing so in the near future, you have probably asked yourself… why should I invest in installing a charging point when the electric vehicle comes with a standard charger? Why should you invest in installing a charging point when your electric vehicle comes with a standard charger? In this article we explain whether you can charge an electric car at a standard socket, its disadvantages and the problems involved. This way you can decide when it is convenient to charge your electric car at a standard socket, also known as a Schuko socket.

Disadvantages of using a normal socket to charge the electric car

Your new electric car is likely to be fitted with an adapter to charge your electric car from a standard socket, but is it the right thing to do? As experts in the efficient and sustainable charging of electric and hybrid vehicles, we always advise caution when using this accessory. We recommend that unless you have a hybrid vehicle (with a battery capacity of around 8-10 kW that allows you to drive 30-50 kilometres in electric mode), you should absolutely not use a Schuko plug for charging. And we will explain why in the following points.

Charging a car at a normal socket should be an exceptional or emergency measure.

This type of ‘charger’, called ‘Recharge Mode 2’, is recognised for occasional use or in emergency situations. It operates with a charge of between 8 and 10 amps, which results in an extremely slow process. This charging speed is totally inadvisable for a pure electric car, since, assuming the battery has a capacity of 40 kW, we could be talking about more than 20 hours of recharging.

Prolonged charging of an electric car at a regular socket can be detrimental to the vehicle’s performance. The reason is simple: during these long charging hours, the battery heats up considerably, often shortening its lifespan in terms of charge and discharge cycles.

Once the electric car’s charge is complete, it will be a short time before it needs another recharge. Since it will be plugged in virtually all day, the need to draw power quickly will increase, which can negatively affect the battery.

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The EV manual itself calls this mode 2 charger an occasional or emergency charger. That is, it can be used in very specific situations, such as when a charging point is not available (e.g. on a getaway), but not for regular, continuous charging.

Possibility of damaging the plug if you charge your car in a normal socket.

In addition to significantly affecting battery life, there are also additional risks to consider if you charge your electric car at a normal socket. The occasional charger that plugs into a Schuko socket is designed to operate at a maximum of 16 amps. However, what is the capacity of the sockets in your home?

It is possible that the wiring behind the wall socket is not rated to withstand a 10 amp load for an extended period of time, which can result in its deterioration. Many users have experienced this problem: the wall socket starts to blacken and burn. In addition, the problem can be exacerbated if the plastic of the occasional plug fuses with that of the charger.

It is important to note that most of the materials used today are halogen-free. However, if for some reason you are using a normal plug to charge your older, non-compliant electric car, instead of melting, the plastic could catch fire.

Comparison between Charging at a Conventional Plug and Using a Charging Point

The safest option for charging your electric vehicle is to use a charging point, in what is known as Mode 3 charging. These charging points, equipped with Type 1 or Type 2 connectors depending on the vehicle model, offer greater reliability compared to conventional plugs. You may ask, what is the difference between a charging point and an occasional charger?

The main distinction lies in the safety they provide. Unlike occasional chargers such as normal sockets, charging points establish direct communication with the vehicle, allowing optimal charging to be set up. For these reasons, it is essential to opt for a charging point whenever possible, rather than relying solely on the occasional charger that comes with the vehicle.

If you want to discover all electric vehicle charging modes, visit our guide where we explain all electric car charging modes.

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