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How to charge your electric car at home

I have been an electric car owner for a long time, and I enjoy it very much. I often get questions about charging, safety and time. When I’m charging on the go, the Fortum Charge & Drive app is the easiest option for me. When I charge my electric cars at home, I always use a home charger.

The safest way to charge an electric car is with a home charger

According to the 2018 survey by the Norwegian EV Association (Elbilforeningen), fully 88 per cent of electric car owners rely on being able to charge at home. Fifty per cent still charge from a socket.

This is not dangerous in itself as long as you use an approved plug and socket for electric cars, and have a hook next to the socket to hang the charging cable. But charging electric cars and hybrids puts a big load on electrical installations in the home.

Many sockets and cables in the wall are not designed for the heavy load that charging an electric car puts on them. So the safest option is to do as I do, which is to install a wall box at your fixed charging point at home.

A further advantage of having a home charger is that you get the full benefit from ‘smart charging’, where the car is automatically charged when the electricity price is low. As electricity prices can vary quite a lot throughout the day, smart charging can reduce your charging costs by up to 20% without you lifting a finger.

Safe home charging of electric cars with mode 3

The charging mode denotes the safety level and technical means of charging electric cars, and is divided into three levels or modes. Mode 1 is the least safe charging method, and is no longer used by modern cars.

Mode 2 denotes slow charging, or so-called emergency charging, and provides some basic safety functions. For example, Mode 2 blocks conductivity if there is an earth fault or if the charging cable is not connected properly.

Mode 3 charging includes fixed installations and connection with a specially adapted connector (Type 2). There is communication between the car and the charging station which ensures that the car does not draw too much current, and that no voltage is applied to the charging cable or car until everything is ready.

A fixed Mode 3 home charger is designed to handle the high current load that charging an electric car requires. It ensures that the car does not take on more power than the installation is designed for. A dedicated home charger also has a separate circuit from the fuse box, so that there is nothing but an electric car on this circuit. With this solution, you therefore avoid the risk of heat build-up and fire. The Directorate for Civil Protection (DSB) advises anyone who charges at home to get a charging box.

See also: 3 tips for safe charging of an electric car

Faster with a home charger for the electric car

A modern charging station at home will also be more efficient than an earthed socket, so you can charge your electric car or hybrid quicker.

When you charge your electric car with a home charging box, it is partly the car that determines how fast the charging can go. The charging box will have a certain amount of output to offer, and it is the car that decides how much it can take. The higher the output (kW), the faster you can charge the car, assuming that the car can take all the power the charging box offers.

If you have a charging station with high charging effect, some cars can be fully charged in a couple of hours. In comparison, a box that you plug into a socket takes up to 14 hours.” 

The Norwegian EV Association recommends buying a charging box with a charging effect of up to 7.4 kW. You will then be ready for the electric cars of the future, and can make use of your charging box for longer.

See also: Four good reasons to choose a home charger for your electric car

Choose a smart charging box when you buy a home charger for the electric car

If you are going to invest in a charging station at home, you should choose a so-called smart charging box. With a charging box that is connected to the mobile network, you can use an app to keep track of your electricity consumption.

In the near future, a smart charger will also be able to take advantage of how electricity prices vary throughout the day, and charge when it is cheapest or when other electricity consumption in the house is low.

A charger with smart management will be able to monitor when the electricity is at its cheapest during the day and charge at the most economical time. The most expensive time is when most people are using electricity.