Can an electric car be recharged by plugging into a simple outlet?

More and more electric cars are being sold in France. A large majority of owners of this type of car choose to charge their vehicle at home.

Equipping yourself with such a vehicle then implies asking yourself the question of its charging system. If there are charging stations on the market, wallboxes, which are easy to install in their home or in a private parking space for residents of an apartment building, the simplest solution for many consists of to plug his electric car into a simple household socket. Is this connection possible? Is it efficient? What are his limits ?

Recharging your electric car by plugging into a simple socket is possible

Owners of an electric vehicle who wish to be able to charge their car at home have several solutions: equip themselves with a real charging station, called a wallbox, or use a simple electrical outlet in their home, often an outlet installed in a garage for its practical side.

In the latter case, these are type E or F sockets, also called European sockets because they meet common standards applicable throughout Europe. These wall outlets are the ones that are most commonly found in our homes, those that are connected to the electrical installation using three wires, phase, neutral and earth.

To charge your electric car with a simple socket, you just need to use a specific cable supplied by the manufacturer called the occasional charging cable (CRO) whose function is to connect the household socket to the vehicle battery. For safety reasons and to avoid the risk of overheating the electrical circuit, this cable has the ability to recognize the type of connection and to limit the intensity of the current.

Recharging your electric car using a simple plug has its limits, however.

It is therefore possible to recharge your electric car on a simple household outlet. A simple and economical solution for users of electric cars because it saves them from investing in more expensive charging stations and sometimes having to plan some work for their installation. However, this solution has limitations.

First, the CRO cable used to connect your electric vehicle to a simple socket has the role, for safety reasons, of limiting the charging power to a maximum of 8 or 10 amperes (A) – the unit of measurement of the intensity of electric currents – ie the maximum powers authorized in France to charge an electric car on a standard socket.

If this limit with regard to the charging power is logically explained in terms of safety because it avoids overheating of the electrical circuit of the house and therefore the risk of fire, it does however have a disadvantage.

Indeed, the higher the power of an electric vehicle charging system, the shorter the charging time. With a simple plug, it is therefore not possible to optimize the time required to allow the battery of an electric car to be autonomous quickly.

By using a simple socket to recharge your electric car, you should not count on less than a period of approximately 10 to 12 hours, or even much more, to ensure that the battery of your vehicle is fully recharged.

On the other hand, if the specific cable used to recharge an electric car by plugging it into a simple socket is designed to prevent possible overheating of the electrical installation, its user must nevertheless remain vigilant and ensure that despite everything there is no overvoltage at the level of the electrical panel of the house. It is also necessary, always for safety reasons, to ensure the quality of the wiring used as well as the correct connection of its electrical outlet to the ground.

In addition, some owners of an electric car use a standard extension cord to connect their vehicle to a simple socket that is not always easily accessible or poorly located in relation to their vehicle’s charging location. A solution that can be very risky when this extension cord is not suitable for charging a car. In the same way, the use of multiple sockets is strongly discouraged when recharging your vehicle using a simple standard socket.

In any case, when you opt for the solution of plugging your electric car into a simple socket to recharge it, it is best to have your electrical installation checked by a professional beforehand in order to avoid any risk of accidents.

It should also be noted that most electric car manufacturers do not encourage the regular charging of this type of vehicle with a simple plug. This solution must remain exceptional or short-lived.

For greater safety and performance with regard to the charging time of an electric car, users of electric cars who do not wish to equip themselves with a real charging station have every interest in equipping themselves with what the we call a reinforced socket, Green’Up type, an electrical socket which allows more power to be delivered and which is equipped with a circuit breaker to avoid all the risks of overvoltage of the electrical circuit of the house.

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