Can You Charge An Electric Car From A 13 AMP Socket?

Black car charging

People are often unsure of what sort of charging experience they are going to encounter when purchasing an EV. After all, most electric vehicles are relatively new and not everyone knows a lot about them.

We often get asked, can I charge an electric car from a 13 amp socket? The answer, in short, is yes, you can, but it will be painfully slow! 

In this guide, we’ll explain what a 13amp socket is, what sort of charging speeds you can expect from one and alternatives that might be a better fit for your daily routine.

What Is A 13 amp Socket?

This socket is the most common type in UK households and is designed to accept a standard plug. It is used for many white goods, appliances and equipment, not to mention the fact that it comes in a wide selection of colours, sizes and finishes to match the interior of your home.

Can I Charge An Electric Car From A 13 AMP Socket?

Yes, you can charge an electric vehicle from a 13 amp socket, but it’s never recommended as you will be there for hours waiting for it to charge. It can be used as a temporary solution but should never be considered for the long term. 

A 13 amp socket would be classified as a slow charger and only has a power output of up to 3kW AC. When you buy an EV, it’s standard practice to be supplied with a charging cable for three-pin charging.

The other types of chargers you can get are fast chargers and rapid/ultra-rapid chargers, but we will explain these later in the article.

Safety Considerations Of Charging From 13 AMP

When charging an EV, you need to be aware of three key components, electricity, the weather and a metal car. In order for you to charge safely, you must make sure you have an RCD protecting the whole lead. 

This life-saving piece of equipment is designed to prevent a fatal electric shock if you were to touch a live wire or the current. It’s also worth taking precatory checks before you start electric car charging, such as:

  • Check the socket itself to see if it’s worn and has any brown marks or cracks.
  • Only use an EV charging point socket with nothing else plugged into it. It can be single or a double. 
  • It may also be worth using a plug in socket tester which will provide basic information about the power supply. 
  • If you own your home, you should have a periodic inspection every 10 years to ensure everything is safe.

How Long Does It Take To Charge A Car With A Slow Charger?

bmw charging

It’s very difficult to say for exact as there is a wide range of factors to consider, one being the battery capacity of your electric car. Some are much larger than others and this affects them considerably. 

For example, if you were to charge a Nissan Leaf with a 40kWh battery using a three-pin plug, it would take about 12-14 hours from flat to fully charged. This is far longer than if you were using a 7kW output, and most people can’t afford to wait 12+ hours for their electric car to charge, it would restrict you massively on daily activities and require a lot of planning of when you could and couldn’t charge.

Factors Affecting EV Charging Time

  • State of Charge – This is what percentage your electric car battery is currently on when you start EV charging. If it’s on 25% compared to 50%, it will take longer to charge.
  • Battery Temperature – This is one that not many people are aware of, but extreme heat or cold is bad for charging and your thermal management system will keep your battery at an optimum temperature.
  • Battery Deterioration – Over a number of years, it’s likely that your battery will deteriorate slowly and you will lose a little bit of charging capacity.
  • Current & Voltage Limits – Every EV has certain limits when it comes to voltage and current, which means you will only be able to charge at whatever the maximum is for your electric vehicle.

Alternatives To A Granny Socket

If you don’t want to use a granny charger, which we wouldn’t recommend anyway, we would advise having a 7kW charging station installed. This is the most common electric vehicle charge point for homes and charge at a decent rate allowing your electric cars to be charged in 6-8 hours. 

If you are after something faster, you can have an 11kW or a 22kW but these will cost more to install and when charging. For even faster, you would have to go to a public charging point where you can access rapid charging at 50kW and 100kW power outputs. These can charge your EV in under 30 minutes.

Conclusion

That’s it! You can certainly charge an EV with a 13 amp socket but you will be there all day! Save yourself plenty of time and pick a 7kW or 11kW, they will allow you to get on with your day, are excellent for reliability and you can find some stylish charging units. We would only ever recommend using this option if it was a last resort but it’s very unlikely you should ever really need to.

For more information and other great tips on living and owning an EV, head back to our main page.

Nick
Nick

Nick is the proud owner of a MG ZS EV and is an EV fanatic. He has been featured in notable publications like USA Today and The Times for his expertise in the field.