Can You Plug an Electric Car Into a Regular Outlet?

Do you drive an electric car or are you planning to buy one and wondering about home charging solutions? 🤔 Using a traditional domestic socket is an option chosen by lots of people because it’s effortless, simple, and accessible, but is this a good option for your car?

However, charging your EV in a regular outlet is not very energy-efficient nor is it secure, which translates into considerably long charging times and a risk of overheating your home’s electrical circuit in the event of too intensive charging. So, even if it is an option, is it the best solution for you? Can you charge an electric car with a regular outlet? Should you plug an electric car into a standard outlet? Let’s explore! 🔍💡

Can You Plug an Electric Car Into a Regular Outlet?

Yes, it is possible to charge an electric car on a regular domestic socket if you want to charge your vehicle at home without having to install a specific device. However, there are some guidelines to stick to. 

First of all, before you connect your electric vehicle to a regular home outlet, it is essential that you check the compatibility of your electrical network. If it isn’t adequate, the system could end up overheating and causing significant damage in the process. 

It should be noted that safety is not as guaranteed with the use of a home socket to charge your car compared to opting for a dedicated home charger. Therefore, it is really important that you have your installation checked by an electrician and that you provide any necessary upgrades before you consider connecting your electric car to one of your household sockets.

So, the answer is yes you can charge your electric car in a regular outlet, but be prepared to wait longer for each charge. Whatever the power of your car, charging its battery via a simple socket can only be done at a power of 2.3 kW, because the current can’t exceed 10 amps. As a result, charging your EV might take a long time with a regular socket. Depending on your battery, you will need between 5 and 47 hours of charge! Be prepared to wait long hours and make sure your home electrical system can withstand the risk of overheating.

Getting a Dedicated EV Home Charger

If you want to efficiently charge your EV without doing a full overhaul of your home’s electronics, you can get a dedicated EV home charger. Even though it's very much like a traditional outlet, it is a much more efficient way of charging an electric vehicle. It delivers 3.2 kW, or 14 amps - as a result, the charging time is reduced and can take around 4 to 5 hours depending on the battery power and the level of charge you want.

Instead of being plugged into your wall socket, your dedicated EV home charger is hooked onto a terminal built specifically to power your car. The advantage of this method, compared to that of the conventional socket, is found in the charge speed: instead of the 50 km range of the classic plug, it allows you to recover about 300 km on your car in one night!

What Is a Smart Charger and Is It Necessary? 

A smart charger is what we call a wall box (just the term for a dedicated home charger) that hooks up to your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and connects with an app on your phone. That means that you’ll be able to control when you charge your car, how much you charge it, and when you turn the charge off, all from a centralised hub on your phone. 

This works wonderfully in addition to an EV energy tariff because you can choose to charge your car whenever electricity is at its cheapest, even if you’re not home. You can also only charge your EV up to 80%, which is the optimal level for long battery life. Of course, smart chargers cost more than normal ones, but you might be able to find grants and government schemes to help you pay for one. 

Tips for Charging an EV at Home

  • Avoid using a domestic extension lead, especially if it has several sockets, at all costs. If it’s an emergency and you absolutely have to, make sure it’s one that works for outdoor use. 
  • Don’t combine extension leads - it multiplies the risk of fire or electric shock. 
  • Check your charging cable for damage whenever you can
  • Get a dedicated EV home charging energy tariff (Octopus, with Octopus Go and Intelligent Octopus, Ovo, with Drive + Anytime, ​​EDF with GoElectric 35) to save considerable costs on each charge
  • Get your home’s wiring checked out, particularly if it’s somewhat old, otherwise, it may not be able to support charging an EV
  • Always get your EV charging cable directly from the manufacturer, or from a well-known retailer
  • Remember to check your car’s charging limit to find out whether or not you need a more powerful home charger - you may not if your car only charges at 7kW per hour.

The Bottom Line

Getting your first electric car and learning how to use it in your everyday life can feel daunting. We’ll admit it is a lot to adapt to, and so many questions must be springing to mind right now. At the end of the day though, there are many tools out there to help you breeze through your EV experience. 

EV users find that they are able to save considerable amounts of money compared to petrol or diesel cars. That’s one of the main attractions of the EV lifestyle. However, you could also end up wasting money if you don’t go for the right charge methods. It’s tempting to visit your local rapid charger every day and just get it over with, but you’ll soon be simply pouring funds down the drain. 

Your best bet will be to get a home charger and plug your car in every night before you go to bed. You’ll wake up with a full charge every morning and will be able to go about your day without the worry of running out of battery. You could also get a smart wall box that you can control remotely. If you’re not able to install any of these, plugging your electric car into a regular outlet will do if your electrical system can take it. Make sure you take the necessary precautions and try and switch to a more permanent solution when you can. 

If you need any more EV info, we’re here to help! Whether you're looking to soak up more knowledge on car finance or electric vehicles, our blog covers a number of topics.