As an unexperienced electric driver, the first time I drove a Renault Zoë I ended up parking and charging the electric vehicle with only 3% battery left on a charging station I had found. If that charging station was not at that location and I needed to drive a few blocks further, I would not have made it.

My question was then: Is it possible to charge an electric vehicle through a regular home socket with some kind of extension cable?

Answer: Yes and no

What if I had not found that charging station?

First of all, there are three known charging modes:

  • Mode 2 is charging with a limited current. This is usually done at a home socket, the supplied cable will consist of a small box wherein the allowed current is limited.
  • Mode 3 is controlled charging. In this mode, communication takes place between the charging station and the electric vehicle to decide the current available to charge.
  • Mode 4 is charging with direct current. The charging station is in direct contact with the electric vehicles battery and decides the current for the entire charging process. Mode 4 is known as the charging mode for fast chargers.

Mode 1 is also known as a charging mode but is not used for electric vehicles.

Charging with a charging cable from an electric vehicle socket to a home socket is known as Mode 2 and these charging cables are known as Emergency charging cables and can be bought through the electric vehicle’s dealer. As the name states, this cable should only be used in case of emergencies.


Driving Electric – it’s a way of life

Once you learn the life style of an electric driver and the golden rule – standing still? Plug in and charge – then you’re glued to electric driving. The smooth driving, speeding up in seconds and the silent driving (which is still a subject of debate) are just a few reasons of why I choose for electric driving.

Ian Wright, the co-founder of Tesla said:

“The interest we get is straight out,

‘Yeah. This will save money. And by the way, it will solve our emissions compliance problems. And also, by the way, we think our customers will like that they don’t make noise.’

If you ask people when their garbage is collected, they can usually tell you because it wakes them up.”

A few more golden rules:

    Never, ever charge an electric vehicle without a safety mechanism.

    Use an Emergency charging cable in case of an emergency…

    …and always charge at a charging station.



Carmen van Boeckel is Technical Trainer at ICU Charging Equipment