TECH

Boiling Your Kettle And Charging Your Car Won't Break Your House

Everyone remain calm.

22/08/2017 15:56

You may have seen that the National Grid recently put out a ‘thought piece’ which outlined some of the potential hurdles that might be faced when we inevitably all own electric cars.

As the paper itself states, it is designed to kickstart discussion around the adoption of electric vehicles and how our world might change.

Phil Noble / Reuters

One of the points it raises however has become the subject of some controversy.

It suggests that should you want to charge your car at speed, using a high-power appliance alongside it (such as a kettle) would be impossible without blowing the main fuse in the house.

Essentially it’s saying you can’t have a cup of tea while you’re charging your electric car.

Before you immediately start putting off those plans to buy an electric car there are some important points to consider here, the first of which is that you can absolutely have a cup of tea while charging your car.

For starters the scenario the report is basing this on just isn’t something that would really happen.

Jason Reed / Reuters

As an example, most Tesla owners actually charge their cars at 7.4kW or 22 miles per hour with a 1-phase grid connection.

This is well within the capabilities of a standard home and means that yes, you can make a cup of tea. 

What the report was implying was a worst case scenario in which a person tried to charge a car at 11kW with 1-phase grid connection house that has a 60 or 80 amp fuse.

This just simply isn’t something that’s likely to happen for a number of reasons.

The first of which is that Tesla won’t actually let you charge their car at 11kW unless you have what’s known as a 3-phase grid connection. This allows a higher supply of electricity into your home and thus would indeed let you charge your car and have a cup of tea at the same time.

Jason Reed / Reuters

Finally, and if you want to get really technical, UK Power Networks states that even 1-phase grid connection homes now come with a 100 amp fuse, not 60 or 80 amps. 

So while the report isn’t technically wrong, it’s a highly unrealistic scenario that simply isn’t going to affect you if you decide to buy an electric car.

Where the report actually raises some valid questions however is on the matter of shared properties and charging.

If you live in a flat, the likelihood is you’re not going to be able to install a custom charger, instead relying solely on public charging options, something that’s both dependant on popularity and your geographical location.

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