People buying their first electric vehicle (EV) can be tempted to rely on standard domestic 230 volt plug sockets for recharging their car battery at home. After all, this is how to use the cables that is delivered as standard with most car models. This is fine for hybrid vehicles because their lower battery capacities require shorter charging times, and thus less stress is put on the domestic electric system.
Things are different for full-electric cars; in this case, the standard cable included is simply proposed as an “emergency cable”. A domestic plug socket is not generally appropriate for recharging EVs as they are not intended to work at high power for several hours. There is thus a risk of the cable or the plug overheating, which can result in a blown fuse and thus interruption to the recharging process. The cable could even catch fire in the worst-case scenario. Some tests have found EV recharging cables using standard domestic plug sockets can reach 80°C after just 15 minutes in operation. Charging this way really needs the cable to be installed by a professional if every electro-mobility requirement is to be met.
A wallbox (a home charging station) almost eliminates risk of overheating and thus interruption of the charging process. As well as improved safety, wallboxes have greater capacity and this means quicker recharging times. For example, an empty 60kW battery takes more than 26 hours to charge with a standard domestic 2.3kW plug. However only six hours are needed (i.e. overnight or during the working day) with an 11kW wallbox*.
So, it is important for people who are new to EVs or plug-in hybrids to look for information from professionals and find out after discussion with them, which option best suits their needs.
*Charging time also depends on the power of the vehicle charger, which may be less than 11 kW in some cases.
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