Identifying correct sockets and plugs

It is not advisable to charge from domestic household sockets, for several reasons.

First and foremost the safety will be compromised because domestic household sockets are not designed to connect to powerful sources like a modern EV battery. A short circuit or any other fault in the EV or on the power supply cord could easily result in fire, electrical shock or overload in other electric components.

A domestic power plug can be pulled out by children or someone could accidently trip on the wire and rip it out. A modern charging plug (like the type 2 plug in Figure 8) is fixed to the car while charging, so that no interruptions occur. Even if someone rips the cord from half the modern charging system it will shut down in a completely safe way.

Secondly the electricity grid may be over loaded if many people charge in the afternoon where load is already high. Even if there is no over load the environmental benefit of electric cars will fade if the charging is not synchronized with the renewable energy production such as wind, hydro and solar power. An ordinary wall socket has no way of knowing when it's the right moment to charge. Only a modern home charger with connection to a competent service provider knows that.



Figure 11: Sockets and plugs available in the EU

The Type 1 plug was originally designed in the USA but is also quite common in the EU. Gradually Europe will move to the Type 2 which carries 3-phase power rather than the USA version's single phase.

However Type 1 and 2 are completely compatible. A simple adapter will connect the two.

Type 3 plugs are mainly used in Italy. It is however technically familiar with Type 1 and 2.

Type 4 is a completely different kind of plug and should never be connected to any of the above. The Type 4 plug carries direct current (DC) which is absolutely not compatible with the AC power from the other plugs.

All the plugs Type 1 - 4 carry communication signals along with the power. The communication signals ensure safety, compatibility and correct charging speed.