Charge Car from Regular Socket

Aug 31, 2022

Can I Charge my Electric Car from a Regular Outlet?

Last updated: Sep 5, 20224 minutes read

The short answer to whether you can charge your electric car from a regular socket is yes.

In principle, electric cars can be charged from a household socket.

But it's not quite that simple, because charging from such a socket has major drawbacks and poses dangers that should not go unnoticed.

In this article we explain what the disadvantages and dangers are and what sensible alternatives exist. 

Charging an Electric Car from a Regular Outlet

If you drive an electric car, it can happen that the nearest public charging station is a little further away than you would like. Moreover, not every electric car owner has a charging station installed at home. 

The tendency is to plug the EV into a normal household socket to charge it up for the next trip. 

Basically, this is also possible. All you need is an emergency charging cable, which is sometimes supplied with the EVs.

Charging an Electric Car from a Regular Outlet

Even if it seems more convenient to charge your car from a regular socket, this type of charging has two major drawbacks:

  1. Long charging time
  2. Risk of fire damage 

Furthermore, this type of charging is prohibited in many countries.

Drawback #1: High Charging Times when Charging your Car From a Regular Outlet

If you had to choose between spending 4 hours or 24 hours charging your EV, it's pretty obvious which you would prefer. The faster charging is always number one choice.

However, if you charge your EV from a standard household socket, it can take up to 24 hours to charge an electric vehicle with a medium-sized battery (40-50 kWh).

Not exactly an attractive solution, is it?

In comparison, you usually charge for 2 to 6 hours at an AC charging station (depending on the car model, battery size and condition, and the charging station). Note, however, that charging times are essentially dependent on 5 factors and can therefore vary.

Comparison: Charging your EV with a Wallbox vs Charging From a Regular Outlet

In the following table you will find some approximate values of how long it takes to charge a Renault Zoe ZE40 (0-100%) with the respective connection and wallbox. 

The calculated charging times are based on the following characteristics of the Renault ZOE ZE40:

  • Battery size: 41 kWh
  • Max. AC charging power basic version: 22 kW
  • Phases: 3
  • Max. charging current at AC charging stations: 32 A

 

Connection

Power

Estimated Charging Time

Regular Socket

230 V, 10 A

2.3 kW

18.33 h

go-e Charger Gemini flex 22 kW

three-phase

22 kW

2.36 h

go-e Charger Gemini flex 11 kW

three-phase

11 kW

4.21 h

go-e Charger Gemini 11 kW

single-phase

3.7 kW

11.64 h

go-e Charger Gemini 11 kW

three-phase

11 kW

4.21 h

Drawback #2: Possible Fire Damage Caused by Charging your Car From a Normal Socket

Due to the high charging currents and the continuous load, there is a risk of overheating of the socket and cables, which in the worst case can also lead to a fire. 

There are two reasons for this:

  1. Regular sockets are designed for domestic use and can therefore only handle a maximum current of 16 amps. In many cases, they even have a maximum of 10 amps. This means that a household socket is overloaded relatively quickly. Charging car batteries with more than 20 kWh is therefore not possible, at least not without overheating.
  2. The age and condition of the socket can play a significant role. Sockets in older buildings in particular are not designed for charging EVs, as the electrical installation of buildings only has to comply with the regulations in force at the time of their construction, and charging electric cars was naturally not taken into account at that time.

However, it can be dangerous not only for the electrical installation and the electric car, but also for the person charging the car.

Since there are no protective measures that allow control and communication with the vehicle, the charging interface is immediately live and offers no electrical protection. 

When charging from a regular socket, a residual current device (type B) in the electrical installation of the house is thus absolutely necessary, as it protects against DC fault currents caused by the car.

Our definite recommendation, however, is:

Even if it seems easiest at first glance to charge the electric car from a household socket with an emergency charging cable, we advise you not to do this for the reasons mentioned above. 

Even if you have integrated a residual current circuit breaker (type B) in your electrical installation, it is not 100% guaranteed that a fault in the electrical installation can be intercepted. 

Therefore, it is advisable to charge either at a public charging station or at home with a wallbox.

In terms of price, charging at home with a wallbox is the cheapest option.

If you want to install a charging station at home, you are spoilt for choice. You can pick either a stationary or a mobile wallbox that combines all the features you need.

The advantage of the mobile wallbox is that you can install it yourself without having to hire an electrician. On top of that you can take the mobile charger with you on your travels. 🥳

The Better Alternative: Charging Your EV With a Wallbox

We at go-e recommend charging with a home wallbox, as it is significantly faster and, above all, safe.

In terms of price, wallboxes on the market range from 550 EUR (for charging stations without additional functions) to 1600 EUR+. 

There is a widespread opinion that high quality is expensive. But it doesn't have to be! We have managed to break this myth. 

Our go-e Charger Gemini 11 kW costs 749 EUR and, when used with the go-e Charger app, offers many comfort functions that most electric car owners would not like to miss out on.

Cost and Quality of a Wallbox

This proves that you don't have to spend a fortune to buy an EV charging station that meets your needs.


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