Is it safe to charge your EV from regular 16A outlet?
We receive many questions from our site visitors regarding regular charging at home. Should you buy wallbox type station for your private use or should save couple of hundred euro and use a cable with AC adapter and plug it into regular 16A socket.
Yes, it is possible to use regular socket for your daily charging, but one should be aware of two things:
- Very often it’s not safe to use regular socket
- Charging cable with AC adapter is designed for emergency, not daily use.
Charging from regular socket.
It is safe to charge when socket you plug in has minimum 20-25A rated wire. Meaning wire installation is made for high and continuous load in mind. Thus we recommend making sure your wire installation is made with high quality and is suited for high load charging.
Here below is quote from Norway Transportøkonomisk institutt
“In Norway about 1 600 owners in the total EV fleet had experienced “burned electric socket” problem at the home location or a public, work place or destination socket. A burned socket could potentially escalate to a fire and EV owners should use home chargers (wall boxes) having robust plugs and sockets. ”
On the other note: if you are plugging into an unknown electric socket with your EV charger, say at a friend’s place for an overnight charge – you are risking causing fire. The smaller issue may be that the power point will be on a circuit shared by several other devices, including electric stove or kettle f.e. Normally a fuse or circuit breaker solves that problem. (however, could leave you without a charged EV if you don’t find out in time).
A lot worse complication is if the wiring is old or has a dodgy connection somewhere. This kind of situation could easily result in a fire, because Electric vehicle is continuously pooling maximum amperage.
Charging EV using cable with AC adapter (plugged in socket)
If you want to charge your EV from regular socket you need to use charging cable with integrated AC adapter. This is because power outlet delivers DC current and it has to be converted into AC before it reaches electric vehicle. Same way as you have charging adapters for your phone.
So, why is it different with cars compared to phone charging? Well, the difference is that Electric vehicles AC adapter has to maintain maximum amperage continually. Also, it is bulky and usually being dropped on the floor (continually gets impacts). When used outside gets wet from rain, or enough some minor humidity even inside garage. More importantly, majority of AC adapter wiring diagrams and wires are NOT built to last. These adapters are designed for not frequent emergency charging cases and NOT for daily charging.
When using it daily, you will have to replace it soon.
The cost for cable with AC adapter is only few hundred euro less compared to Walbox station. It takes one broken / faulty adapter and you will have no savings at the end of the day.
It may seem that you save few hundred euro when using AC cable and regular socket for daily charging. However, after your first AC cable adapter fails (and that will happen rather soon, when used daily) you will have to replace it (which will double your initial budget).
Moreover, you create fire risk for your property using regular socket daily. Which results in increased fire risk and a larger budget for charging equipment in medium term.