Household clothes dryers are power-hungry appliances that operate on 240 volts in North America, despite regular electrical appliances operating on 120 volts. So can you charge an EV at Level 2 speeds using the same dryer outlet? Yes, actually you can, but there are some caveats to be aware of. Let’s see how it is done.
This article is general information on this common EV charging question. Your specific plug type and wiring may be different. If unsure, consult with a licensed electrician.
NEMA 14-30 vs. NEMA 14-50
In most contemporary homes, the dryer in your laundry room is connected using a NEMA 14-30 electrical plug. This distinct design features four pins; a flat one, two circular ones, and an L-shaped pin. The NEMA 14-30 design plug is wired to a 30 amp circuit to be compliant with the Electrical Code. The NEMA 14-30 plug is also visually very similar to NEMA 14-50 connectors that are included with most plug-in style EV chargers. However, these are not interchangeable, and a NEMA 14-50 EV charger will not plug into a NEMA 14-30 dryer outlet because the bottom pin is a different shape. This is by design because the NEMA 14-50 style plug is rated to 50 amps, and must use appropriate gauge wiring.
There are small adapters on Amazon that convert a 14-30 plug into a 14-50 one that is physically compatible with NEMA 14-50 EV Chargers. We have even tested one ourselves here at EVchargerRevews.net. However, the EV charger will assume it is still connected to a 50 amp circuit and may pull too much power, tripping the circuit breaker.
To safely charge through a 14-30 to 14-50 adapter, you must configure your EV charger to a 24 amp mode or lower. Some EV chargers like the Tesla Mobile Connector do not have selectable amp modes, so charging speeds need to be restricted inside the vehicle prior to plugging in.
Advantages of dryer outlet charging
- If the location of the plug is within cable reach of your vehicle, the dryer outlet can be an inexpensive way to deliver Level 2 charging speeds to your EV.
- May be the only option for short-term stays or renters who are unable to install dedicated EV charging outlets.
Downsides of charging from a dryer outlet:
- The location of the dryer is often far from your parking spot and not optimal for EV charger placement.
- This electrical connection is rated to 30 amps, meaning you can only safely draw 24 amps. With a purpose-built 14-50 outlet in your garage, it is possible to charge at 40 amps. (and even higher with a hardwired EV charger)
- If using a 14-30 to 14-50 adapter you must remember to restrict your EV charger to 24 amps. This can be easy to forget and trip the circuit breaker.
- You can’t use the dryer while the EV is charging overnight
Frequently Asked Questions
NEMA 14-30 outlets are rated for 30 amps, you are safely allowed to pull 24 amps continuously. At 240 volts, 24 amps will mean 5,760 watts of power. So you are able to charge the EV at 5.7 kW.