Can electric vehicles be charged using a regular socket?

Over the past few years, a demand for electric vehicles has increased.

While there’s no doubt that their use of electricity, rather than petrol, makes them a more environment-friendly way of getting around, there can be a challenge to locate a suitable charging point when the power starts running low.

But what happens when you can’t find one?

Can electric vehicles be charged using a regular socket?

They can, if you have the right lead to do so. However, it is better to use this option as a back-up or as a last resort rather than as a regular charging method.

Instead, electric cars should be charged using a dedicated electric vehicle charging point to ensure the process is as safe and efficient as possible.

Do Electric Vehicles Have to be Charged in Specific Charging Sockets?

They don’t have to be, but we strongly recommend that they are.

Why is this the case?

The standard three-pin outlets at your workplace are unsuitable for charging an electric vehicle.

On a basic level, an electric car recognises when it is plugged into a ‘house’ socket, and would not charge to its full potential.

They are only capable of delivering around 2.3kW of power, which means it would take a long time for your vehicle to charge. More importantly, it is potentially an unsafe and dangerous method.

If you are plugging into an unknown power point – for example, are you aware whether it was installed with a potential high and continuous load in mind? – then you could face a problem.

Why? Well, a power point at your workplace or office is likely to be on a circuit shared by several other appliances. Normally, a fuse or circuit breaker would act as a safeguard.

However, that is likely to leave you without a charged vehicle if you don’t find out in time.

A more serious complication would be if the wiring is old, or there is an unreliable connection somewhere. That can easily result in an electrical fire.

Health & Safety

Another risk is that an extension lead, often used if a socket isn’t close enough to your car, has the same issue. Some EV manufacturers recommend that you avoid using an extension cable if at all possible, because drawing maximum current for lengthy periods can potentially be dangerous.

Running a continuous high current through a lead will result in it eventually exceeding the temperature it is designed to cope with because it simply can’t lose heat fast enough.

Extension leads are also unsightly, hardly conducive to presenting a professional image to your customers, and a potential trip hazard. Legally, business owners must carry out a risk assessment to identify potential dangers to their workers and put in place measures to mitigate them. If a staff member suffers an injury at work, then according to UK health and safety laws their employer can be held responsible.

Instead, you should consider having dedicated EV charging points installed.

Using them is much safer than connecting your electric vehicle to a regular socket since they are designed to handle larger amounts of power for longer.


The latest regulations dictate that EV charging points must be installed into a separate final circuit, with load control, and a residual-current device (RCD) (an automatic disconnector) – to avoid overloading.

The charging stations must also come with built-in Protective Multiple Earthing (PME).

This is a system designed to prevent the user from receiving an electric shock – and suffering an injury – while using a dedicated EV charging point.

They deliver around 7kW of power, so the vehicle is charged three times faster.

To give you a better idea of the difference a dedicated charging point can make to charging times, take a look at the table below:

Car Model Regular Socket Dedicated Charging Point
Hyundai Ioniq EV (28kWh) 12 hours 4.5 hours
Nissan Leaf (40kWh) 21 hours 7.5 hours
Tesla Model X (100kWh) 29 hours 14 hours


Of course, these times can fluctuate depending on the type of charging point you choose (slow, fast, or rapid), and we’ll take a further look at these a little later.

Electric vehicle charging point installation is not as intrusive as you think, nor does it take up a huge amount of space.

Charging Points at the Workplace

There has been an increase in the number of businesses choosing to provide their employees with on-site EV charging stations.

Doing so can benefit employers, their workers, and also their customers.

With the Government offering to part-fund their installation, now is an opportune moment to explore whether this might benefit your company.

In the UK, the Workplace Charging System (WCS) is assisting businesses to pay for electric vehicle charging point installation.

The WCS is a voucher-based scheme designed to provide eligible applicants with support towards the upfront costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charging points.

The contribution is limited to 75 per cent of your bill, up to a maximum of £350 for each socket.

Each applicant can have up to 40 charging points across all sites it owns.

An approved installer like AMS Solutions can complete the work.

As explained above, charging your electric vehicle using a dedicated charging point at your workplace is a more convenient, and safer, way of restoring it to full power.

Benefits of Installing an Electric Vehicle Charging Point

Whether you’re a business owner who’s thinking about having electric vehicle charging points installed, or you’re an employee making a persuasive case to do so, the list of potential benefits is long.


A dedicated electric vehicle charging point will drastically reduce charging time compared with a regular socket. Think of the difference when you try to charge your mobile phone by plugging it into your laptop versus using a compatible charger designed to do the job.


If your workplace has electric vehicle charging points installed, they will be easily accessible and within reach of your car – no need for an extension lead here! Not only that, your vehicle is likely to be fully charged by the end of your working day ready for your commute home.


The installation of EV charging points facilitates your company reducing its carbon footprint.

That is, of course, good for the planet.

However, it can bolster your reputation on green issues – particularly important if your brand values incorporate as much – and encourage support from sympathetic customers or members of the public.


As mentioned above, the Government’s WCS is there to help businesses cover the initial cost of paying for the installation of EV charging points.

Additionally, if you as a company pay the mileage or petrol costs of your employees – then there is another potential area to spend less money. The average full charge is cheaper than petrol prices, so encouraging workers to switch to electric cars by providing workplace charging could lead to long-term savings.

Final Word

To ensure you’re able to charge your electric vehicle safely and quickly, a dedicated charging point is always the best solution.

Plugging your electric vehicle into a regular socket will result in it taking longer to charge, sometimes more than 24 hours depending on the model.

It’s also not as safe, since you need around 7kW of charging power, and regular sockets can only produce around 2.3kW.

So, put down the extension lead and explore the possibility of electric vehicle charging point installation instead.

Both your vehicle, and the planet, will thank you for it!

AMS Solutions provides commercial EV charging installation services across the North of England.

Get in touch with a member of our team today to find out how we can help you.



Electric Smart Car being charged

Can electric vehicles be charged using a regular socket?


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