Can you recharge an electric car by plugging into a simple outlet?

More and more electric cars are 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 involves asking the question of your charging system. While there are charging stations on the market, wallboxes, which are easy to install in their homes or in a private parking space for residents of an apartment building, the simplest solution for many is to plug your electric car into a simple household outlet. Is this connection possible? Is it efficient? What are his limits ?

Charging your electric car by plugging into a simple outlet is possible

The owners of an electric vehicle who want 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 a socket installed in a garage for its practicality.

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

To recharge your electric car with a simple plug, all you have to do is use a specific cable supplied by the manufacturer called the occasional recharging cable (CRO), the function of which is to connect the domestic socket to the vehicle battery. For safety reasons and to avoid the risk of overheating of the electrical circuit, this cable has the ability to recognize the type of connection and to limit the intensity of the current.

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

It is therefore possible to recharge your electric car using a simple household outlet. A simple and economical solution for electric car users because it prevents 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 amps (A) – the unit of measurement of the intensity of electric currents – that is, the maximum powers authorized in France to charge an electric car using a standard outlet.

If this limit with regard to the charging power is logically explained in terms of safety because it prevents overheating of the electrical circuit of the house and therefore the risk of fire, it nevertheless has a drawback.

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

By using a simple plug to recharge your electric car, you should not count on less than a period of about 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 avoid possible overheating of the electrical installation, its user must nevertheless remain vigilant and make sure that it is there is no overvoltage at the house electrical panel. 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 earth.

In addition, some owners of an electric car use a standard extension cord to plug their vehicle into a simple outlet that is not always easily accessible or poorly located in relation to the place of recharging of their vehicle. A solution that can be very risky when this extension is not suitable for charging a car. Likewise, 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 outlet to recharge it, it is preferable first to have your electrical installation checked by a professional 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 of short duration.

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