2011 Chevrolet Volt 240V charging stationEnlarge Photo
In our modern world, electricity is literally everywhere, easily assessible from a 110-volt outlet.
That’s fine for running things like laptop computers and televisions, but when it comes to electric cars, charging at 110-volts takes forever.
One solution, as some electric car drivers have discovered, is to use a product that combines two, 110-volt outlets to provide 240-volts of electricity that can power a modified, portable level-2 charging unit.
But as a friend who recently sold a 240-volt air conditioning unit discovered, powering a 240-volt device from two 110-volt sockets is normally a really, really bad idea.
As the friend explained, the couple who purchased his air conditioner didn’t have a suitable 240-volt, high current outlet to plug the unit into. Instead, they purchased a 110-volt bridging converter, designed to combine two separate 110-volt supplies with different phasing to provide 240-volts.
Charging Cable and Socket
Charging Cable and SocketEnlarge Photo
They phoned him up a little while later, complaining the unit wasn’t working and that there was a burning smell coming from the converter unit. Essentially, they had tried to draw more power from the combined sockets than they were safely capable of.
In a home, most outlets are rated to provide between 10 and 15 amps at 110-volts, while specialists 240-volt outlets for driers and kitchen appliances may handle 30 amps or more.
Electric car charging stations with dedicated electrical wiring or dedicated sockets will have been fitted with suitable grade wire that can handle the high current that level 2 charging stations demand.
A bridging converter on the other hand, isn’t designed to supply the high currents that electric car charging stations require for long periods of time.
Not only that, but in older houses with smaller gauge wiring, pulling a constant 15 amps or more from multiple wall outlets could overheat the wires in the wall, causing more than just a funny smell.
Where possible, use a dedicated charging station and/or wall outlet dedicated to safely providing the right power to charge an electric car.
And if you’re away from home?
Always. Plug. Your. Electric. Car. Into. An. Outlet. You. Know. Is. Rated. To. Take. The. High. Current. Of. Charging
Thanks for listening.