ELECTRIC car owners have been warned against charging their vehicles at home using regular extension leads.
Motorists risk fire, power cuts and even potentially deadly shock by charging cars with standard domestic leads, a safety charity claimed.
Conducted by Electrical Safety First (ESF), a study found three quarters of electric car owners have used multi-socket leads that aren’t suitable for outdoor use to charge their vehicles.
And in many cases, drivers admitted to “daisy-chaining” multiple extension leads together to increase their reach.
Drivers put themselves at risk electric shock if cables are left in the rain, while the practice can also overload domestic supplies, causing a power cut or fire.
Owners who don’t have a driveway are particularly prone to using unsuitable power leads.
How to safely charge your electric car at home
Electrical Safety First’s advice for EV owners:
- Never use a domestic multi-socket extension lead when charging your electric vehicle. Only ever use a lead that’s suitable for outdoor use.
- Never ‘daisy-chain’ extension leads. Plugging more than one extension lead into another in order to reach a greater distance increases the risk of electrical fire and electric shock.
- Always buy your charging cable from a reputable retailer or directly from the manufacturer. They put products through rigorous tests to ensure they meet UK safety standards.
- Frequently check your charging cable for wear and tear and replace it if any damage is evident.
- If you are charging from a 13A mains socket in your home, ensure the wiring in your property has been checked prior to doing so. Old wiring might not be able to cope with the demand from charging your vehicle overnight and cause a fire in your property.
- The safest and most convenient way to charge your vehicle at home is through a dedicated wallbox charging point. Ensure this is installed by a qualified, registered and competent electrician only.
- Take advantage of the on-going Government schemes aimed at relieving consumers of some of the cost linked to the installation of a home charging point.
Charity ESF said the number of electric and plug-in cars on the road now completely outweighs the availability of charge points.
Since 2014, the number of EVs on the road has grown by over 600 per cent to just over 186,000.
Data from the Zap Map website showed there were 8,546 charging locations in the UK, with 13,688 charging devices.
And while there are just 8,400 petrol stations in the UK by comparison, the length of time taken to charge an EV compared to filling up a fuel tank means resources are stretched much thinner.
Based on a survey of 1,500 owners, research showed that 74 per cent had used multi-socket extension leads to charge from the mains in their home.
An ESF spokesman suggested that car owners instead take up a government grant available towards the cost of installing safe charge points at home.
everything you need to know about electric vehicles
Martyn Allen, Technical Director at Electrical Safety First, commented: “Our research shows a direct link between a lack of electric vehicle infrastructure and vehicle owners charging dangerously.
“A modern Britain also needs to be a safe one and Electrical Safety First is urging the government and local authorities to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to support the rapid increase in numbers of electric vehicles on our roads.
“With regards to consumers, we warn EV users against giving in to temptation to use standard domestic extension leads to charge their vehicles outside, and never to ‘daisy-chain’ them together.
“We recommend taking advantage of the Government’s grant scheme which will contribute towards the cost of a specially designed home charging point.
“This is safer than charging from the mains, using a standard extension lead.”