Living in the UK means we are accustomed to the challenges of charging EVs in the rain. In this article, we’ll answer the question of whether you can charge an EV in the rain. We will provide you with a clear understanding of what happens when you charge your EV in the rain and how to do it safely.
Charging an EV may seem like a straightforward process, but there are a few considerations to look at when dealing with wet weather conditions. Changeable weather is a part of our everyday lives, so let’s explore the world of EV charging in the rain and provide practical advice to ensure your EV charging experience remains safe come rain or shine.
Can You Charge an EV in the Rain?
You can charge an EV in the rain safely. Modern EV charging equipment is designed to withstand wet conditions, and EVs are equipped with safety features to prevent electrical hazards. Charging your EV in the rain is typically not an issue provided you take the necessary precautions.
Are all EV chargers waterproof?
Modern EV chargers are designed to be weatherproof and withstand the rain, here’s a rundown of the different types of chargers and how waterproof they are:
- Granny Chargers
These chargers typically come with a new EV purchase and use a standard 3-pin plug to connect to your house’s supply. The Best EV Granny Chargers are designed to be used outdoors and can handle light rain without issues.
- Home Chargers
Home chargers are usually weather-resistant. However, the degree of weather resistance can vary depending on the manufacturer and model, but they will all offer protection during heavy rain.
- Public Charging Stations
Public charging stations, including fast chargers and ultra-fast chargers, are designed with weather-resistant features. These stations are more robust and built to withstand outdoor conditions, including rain and snow.
*Caution with EV Extension Leads: While the granny charger may be weatherproof, take care when using extension leads. If you use an extension lead to reach your EV, it’s essential to choose one that is also weatherproof and suitable for outdoor use. Waterproof extension leads are best for EVs as they are designed to prevent water from infiltrating the connection points.
Can you Super Charge in the rain?
You can use Tesla’s Supercharger stations to charge your EV in the rain without any issues. Tesla has taken some pretty extensive measures to design Superchargers that are robust and weather-resistant.
Tesla Superchargers feature waterproof enclosures to protect the electrical components from rain. The Supercharger cables are also designed to be weather-resistant, with connectors that prevent water from entering the charging port on your Tesla.
Tesla vehicles have safety systems in place to monitor and protect against electrical faults during charging, ensuring EV safety in wet weather conditions.
While many EV chargers are built with weather resistance in mind, you should check the specific charger’s IP (Ingress Protection) rating, this will tell you what level of protection it offers for elements like rain and dust.
What is an Ingress Protection (IP) rating?
In the UK, the degree of waterproofing of an electrical item is measured using an Ingress Protection (IP) rating.
The IP rating is a standardised system that provides information about the item’s protection level against various environmental factors, including moisture, dust, and foreign objects.
An IP rating consists of two digits, and each digit has a specific meaning:
First Digit (Protection Against Solids)
The first digit in the IP rating indicates the item’s protection against solid objects like dust and debris. It ranges from 0 to 6, with higher numbers indicating better protection.
- 0: No protection against solids. The item is not sealed against dust or debris.
- 1: Protection against solid objects larger than 50mm, such as a hand.
- 2: Protection against solid objects larger than 12.5mm, such as fingers.
- 3: Protection against solid objects larger than 2.5mm, like tools or wires.
- 4: Protection against solid objects larger than 1mm, including most wires and small tools.
- 5: Limited protection against dust. Some dust may enter, but it won’t interfere with the item’s operation.
- 6: Complete protection against dust. The item is dust-tight.
Second Digit (Protection Against Liquids)
The second digit in the IP rating indicates the item’s protection against moisture and liquids. It ranges from 0 to 9, with higher numbers indicating better protection.
- 0: No protection against liquids.
- 1: Protection against vertically falling drops of water (condensation or dripping water).
- 2: Protection against water droplets at an angle up to 15 degrees from vertical (light rain).
- 3: Protection against spraying water at an angle up to 60 degrees from vertical (rainfall).
- 4: Protection against water splashes from any direction (splashing water).
- 5: Protection against low-pressure jets of water from any direction (water jets).
- 6: Protection against powerful water jets and heavy seas (powerful water jets).
- 7: Protection against immersion in water up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
- 8: Protection against continuous immersion beyond 1 meter. The depth and duration are specified by the manufacturer.
For example, an electric car charger with an IP67 rating would be dust-tight (first digit = 6) and can be immersed in water up to 1 meter for 30 minutes (second digit = 7).
How do I protect my EV charger from the rain?
Protecting your electric car charger from the rain will extend the life of the charger, here’s a few tips on how to do this:
Choose the best location
Choose the right location for your EV charger that provides some level of natural protection from the rain. The best EV charger installers will install your charger under a carport, in a garage, or near a building’s eaves to help shield it from direct exposure to rainfall.
Install an outdoor electrical outlet
If you’re using a granny charger that connects to a standard electrical plug socket, install an outdoor-rated plug socket to protect it from rain.
Think about cable management
You can buy cable management accessories like cable hooks or clips to keep the charging cable off the ground and away from puddles. This helps prevent water from touching the cable.
When not in use, store the charging cable on a cable reel or hanger that keeps it off the ground and protected from moisture.
Inspect your charger regularly for signs of damage where water might get in.
Keep connections dry
Make sure the charging connectors and ports on both the charger and your EV remain dry when plugging in or unplugging.
What if my charger got wet from the rain?
If the outside of your EV charger got wet from the rain it’s not a problem, as we have already discussed EV chargers are designed to be used in the rain. However, if you believe the internal components of the charger have got wet then you need to act quickly:
Immediately switch off the household’s electricity supply and unplug the charger from both the electrical outlet and your EV to eliminate any risk of electric shock. Safety should always be your primary concern when dealing with wet electrical equipment.
Examine the charger, including the connectors, cables, and the charger’s enclosure. Look for any signs that rain has got in. If water has entered the charger’s connectors or other internal components, allow the charger sufficient time to dry thoroughly before attempting to use it again.
If you have concerns about the charger’s internal components have it professionally inspected and tested by a qualified EV charger installer. They can make sure that the charger is safe for use.
Does the rain effect the range of my EV?
Rain can definitely have an effect on the range of your electric car, although the impact is not much – there is still an effect:
- Increased drag
Raindrops on the vehicle’s surface create additional aerodynamic drag, which can slightly reduce the efficiency of your EV. This means that your EV may require slightly more energy to maintain the same speed in rainy conditions compared to dry conditions.
- Wet Roads
Wet roads can result in higher rolling resistance, as the EV tyres have to work harder to grip the road. This can lead to a minor decrease in range compared to driving on dry roads. The effect is usually not significant unless the roads are extremely wet.
- Regenerative Braking
Regenerative braking systems can be less efficient in wet conditions due to reduced traction. When regenerative braking is less effective, the EV may rely more on its friction brakes, which can increase energy consumption.
- Wipers and Lights
Using windshield wipers and headlights in rainy weather can draw additional power from the EV’s battery.
The final word on charging your EV in the rain
We now know that it is possible to safely charge your electric car in the rain. Modern EV charging equipment is designed to handle the wet weather we experience in the UK, and EVs themselves are equipped with safety features to prevent electrical hazards during charging.
While charging an EV in the rain is generally safe and efficient, it’s common sense to consider basic precautions. Make sure the charging connectors and ports remain dry during plugging and unplugging the charger, using weatherproof equipment where necessary with a high IP rating, and conduct regular maintenance checks to address any issues promptly.
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John is the Editor and Spokesperson for Electric Car Guide.
With over 20 years of writing experience, he has written for titles such as City AM, FE News and NerdWallet.com, covering various automotive and personal finance topics.
John’s market commentary has been covered by the likes of The Express, The Independent, Yahoo Finance and The Evening Standard.