Electric vehicles are undoubtedly one of the most forward-thinking automotive developments of recent years - although, of course, electric motors have been around in one form or another since the 19th century.
However, it seems that many potential buyers have more questions about the charging process for electric cars than the cars themselves, which is why we’re here!
Some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding electric cars are about charging them in the rain: is it safe? How is it done?
In this article, we’ll be discussing whether or not you can charge your electric car in the rain, as well as information you can find and precautions you can take to ensure a safe, weatherproof charging process in the rain.
Can You Charge an Electric Car in the Rain?
Current and prospective owners of electric cars will be delighted to know that yes, you can charge your electric car in the rain.
The reason so many people worry about charging an electric car in the rain is, of course, because the motor inside the car runs on electricity rather than fuel. Therefore, the main fear is that exposing the electric motor to rainwater might lead to shortcircuiting, sparks, or even electrocution.
This is actually a very sensible mindset to have going into owning an electric vehicle because it’s based on what we’ve all (hopefully) been taught from a young age about electrical safety. Other standard electrical appliances, or appliances that produce electricity such as generators, are widely known to be dangerous when exposed to water. Therefore, it makes sense that many first-time electric car owners are cautious about the potential dangers of charging their electric car in the rain.
Thankfully, electric cars do not come with the same water-exposure risks as other electrical appliances or machinery. Electric cars are built with waterproof shields or coverings over the plugs so that water can’t enter the car’s internal construction and cause damage during charging.
Additionally, charging ports for electric vehicles are designed in such a way that they will not produce any electrical current until the charger is fully plugged in. This means that there’s essentially no risk of sustaining an electric shock while plugging your electric vehicle into a charging station, even in the rain.
Most electric vehicle manufacturers actually go even further than this, incorporating sensor technology into their cars’ charging systems. This kind of technology is designed to interpret any changes to the charging process and shut the charging system down if necessary. If, for example, the plug is removed from the socket while charging, the electrical current will cut out straight away.
For extra peace of mind, you can actually check the IP (Ingress Protection) rating of most electric car models online. The IP rating of an electric vehicle is essentially an indicator of how resistant it is to water and other particles.
An IP rating is given in the form of a 2-digit number, where the first number is an indication of general particle penetration (eg. dust and dirt) and the second figure denotes how resistant the vehicle is to water. The second number is the one we’re really interested in, and the highest possible rating is 8.
Many electric cars have a water IP rating of 7, which is very high and means that the vehicle is not only completely safe to charge in wet weather, but that parts of it could probably even be fully submerged in water (for a limited amount of time) without any negative impact.
Therefore, it’s safe to say from an engineering standpoint that electric cars are completely safe to charge in the rain.
How do You Charge an Electric Car in the Rain?
So, now that we know it’s safe to charge an electric car in the rain, it’s time to discuss what that process actually looks like.
There are two primary ways of charging an electric vehicle: using a public charging station or a home charging station. In this section, we’re going to be breaking down how to charge your electric car in the rain using either a public or home charging station.
At a Public Charging Station
Public EV charging stations are built to be highly weatherproof, so using one of these stations to charge your electric car in the rain shouldn’t be any different from charging your car in good weather.
One common method of charging using a public station is by physically plugging your car into the station using a cable. This cable will be water-resistant, lockable, and safe to use in any weather.
Traveling to a public charging station each time you need to charge your electric car isn’t the most convenient thing in the world. This is why many electric vehicle owners choose to invest in a home charging station for their electric cars.
Perhaps understandably, some electric car owners express some concerns as to whether home charging stations have the same water-protection functions and capabilities as public charging stations.
The good news is that home charging stations from reputable manufacturers are just as safe for charging in the rain as public charging stations. What we would definitely recommend, however, is hiring an electrical engineer or other qualified professional to set up your home charging station for you to make sure everything is connected and working as it should be. This is the best precaution you can take to ensure that your home charging station is 100% safe to use in the rain.
All in all, it would seem that, contrary to popular belief, electric cars are actually some of the easiest and safest vehicles to charge. As well as reducing the fire risk that often comes with fueling up traditional gasoline or diesel engines, electric cars are completely safe to charge in the rain.
The safety of charging your electric car in the rain is backed up by scientific engineering and reputable calculations such as IP ratings.
Electric cars can be charged in the rain from both public and home charging stations. You can charge your electric vehicle at home or elsewhere using a standard and safe plug-in method, and both home and public stations are equally safe to use as long as professional services are employed for installation.