Research shows the average UK motorist drives 25 miles a day, so most drivers of electric vehicles (EVs)—whether that be ‘pure’, hybrid, or another electric variant—charge their cars at home, but almost three-quarters use hazardous methods, says a leading UK charity on electrical safety.
Results of a study for consumer protection charity Electrical Safety First (ESF) show that the lack of local public EV charging points is causing motorists to put themselves at risk of electric shock and of causing electrical fires.
Taking shocking risks
The survey of 1,500 UK drivers, who own a plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle, found that 74% charge their vehicles at home using multi-socket extension leads meant for indoor.
Despite almost 90% of those surveyed admitting they knew it was a dangerous practice, three-quarters of the EV drivers using domestic extension leads charge their vehicles by ‘daisy-chaining’—plugging multiple extension leads together—further increasing the chance of electric shock and fire.
Over half of EV users who charge their cars using indoor extension leads have ‘at least once’ left cables running to their vehicle when it’s been raining.
Over 70% of survey respondents making long journeys from home or work, on at least one occasion, needed to use extension leads from a domestic mains socket to recharge their car at their destination—with 44.5% doing so more than once.
When asked why they take these risks, EV drivers say there’s a lack of public charging points close to their home, with a third saying the existing number of charging points in their area was ‘not adequate at all’.
Data from the Department for Transport (DfT) and Zap-Map — a platform designed to help EV drivers to locate available charge points — shows that the increase in EVs is growing six times faster than the number of charging units available to the public. In six years, the volume of EVs has increased by 1480%.
Charging point locations vary across the UK. London has 147 within almost 39 square miles, which works out to be 2.6 charging points for every 10,000 residents. Wales, meanwhile, has only 1.55 charging locations within the same sized area and just 1.03 charging points per 10,000 people.
The powers that be
Martyn Allen, Technical Director at ESF, said:
“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 [the] temptation to use standard domestic extension leads to charge their vehicles outside, and never to ‘daisy-chain’ them together.”
Lack of suitable infrastructure is a serious concern for drivers who the government hope persuade to switch to EVs. And while private sector businesses such as petrol stations and supermarkets also offer charging points, councils are fundamental in providing the infrastructure required.
In March the Guardian discovered that budget cuts forced at least a quarter of councils in England and Wales to stop installing further charging points.
Judith Blake, the transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, told the Guardian:
“In some areas, electric vehicle charging expansion will be driven by the market, and some areas will have different needs for charging infrastructure. Councils will play an important role but all areas will respond in a way that suits local circumstances.”
She added that although councils were trying to tackle air pollution in other ways, such as encouraging cycling, creating low-emission zones, and improving air quality monitoring; a lack of long-term funding was “a clear barrier to such investment” and called on the central government to address the issue.
In line with their decision to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, the government is trying to get more and more drivers to convert to EVs.
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) operates the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which makes charge points more accessible and affordable by contributing towards the outlay of installing an EV charging point at your home—safer than charging from the mains, using a standard extension lead!
If you have off-street parking and are the registered keeper (or lessee or are the primary user) of an eligible EV, you could get up to 75% (capped at £500, including VAT) off the price of the charging unit and its installation.
Most home chargers are a 3 kW or 7 kW rating. The higher powered 7 kW wall-mounted units are often more expensive but take half the time to charge an EV completely. EV dealerships often have arrangements with suppliers of charging units and may even offer you one for free when you buy a new car from them.
The reason off-road parking is preferable for installing charging points is to the cables causing hazards on public pavements, but in some local authorities, the number of residential on-street charging points are growing.
As per ESF’s guidance: Never use a domestic multi-socket extension lead when charging your EV and if you must use an extension lead, only ever use one suitable for outdoor use, like a reel cable (fully unwound to prevent overheating).
For detailed information on how to charge and use your EV safely, check out ESF’s Glovebox Guide.
Are you surprised by the survey results? How many charging locations are in your area? If you’re an EV driver, do you ever use extension cables to charge your vehicle? Tell us in the comments.
If people are daft enough to buy a electric car without finding out before hand where the charging points are then they must be crackers.
If people are daft enough to travel on these new fangled steam trains when it has been proved that the head explodes at over 10 miles an hour then it is their look out, I so agree with you Mr Luddite
Well said J Howsham
Of what relevance is the rate of increase in public charge points v. the rate of increase in electric cars?
Fundamental relevance. If you want to go any distance away from home or work, surely you need a public charging point? And if the hope is for everyone to switch to EVs including those without drives, there is an even greater need for them. Currently there aren’t enough so if EVs increase faster then the problem is only going to get worse.
Brian S, can you quality what you mean by “Currently there aren’t enough”? Aren’t enough for what?
Read the article Dumb cluck.
David, I agree with you. Percentages are proportions, not actual numbers. Campaigners and their spokespeople quote percentages (changes) that appear to support their arguments, whether or not the actual values do. Journalists, many of whom are innumerate, repeat those stated percentages verbatim without questioning what they mean.
To take a common example, the Government has been bragging about an “unexpectedly high” 3.8% rise in wages over the past three months, in comparison with a 3.1% rise in the cost of living. Sounds good? Not if the cost of living was 10% greater than average earnings at the beginning of that comparison period. After the two changes have occurred, the cost of living is still 9.25% greater than the latest average earnings. The Micawber principle applies: “result, misery”.
What about the relevance of increase in electric power stations v. increase of public charge points? For everyone to convert to electric they need to be building multiple power stations now. The ones they are building are because the grid is already overstretched before you even take the electric vehicles in to account. We are going to end up with power cuts just so Johnny tree hugger can think he is stopping climate change, when the truth is that humans have little to no effect on the planet. If the earth feels like going in to an ice age, there is nothing worthwhile you can do to stop it and vice versa
Nonsense. Where do you get this twaddle from? Top Gear? Look it up – you obviously have a computer and access to the interweb – In the last 15 years, the UK’s electrical energy use has dropped by 15% (https://www.statista.com/statistics/322874/electricity-consumption-from-all-electricity-suppliers-in-the-united-kingdom/). Even if *ALL* the UK’s ~40m cars were to become electric overnight, the increase in electricity generation would be ‘only’ ~10%. You can add another 5% for *all other road vehicles* (and, yes, I mean vans and lorries – including artics). *Peak* demand is another matter but by the time 100% of the vehicle fleet in the UK is electric-powered, we’ll all have batteries and solar panels on our homes and businesses reducing drastically the need for centralised power generation.
Wandsworth has many Public EV charging points. Trouble is that the 3-phase cables supplying the houses were never designed to stand the car charging load. In a suburban town, the 3-phase cable failed, and there was “some concern”
Unless your house wiring is over 50 years old there should be no danger in using an extension lead to charge your car. The very worst that should happen is that you will blow the fuse in the plug or trip the breaker. Unless of course you bought your extension lead from China via Amazon which doesn’t meet U.K. standards!!
As far as electric shock risk goes, leaving an extension lead out in the rain, that’s what the Darwin Awards are for . . . Might as well use a couple of match sticks in the plug socket.
|Domestic sockets and domestic extension leads are not made to carry their near maximum for the hours that are required to charge an electric car. They may well overheat with a fire risk. I suggest you do a little research before making comments
Even worse is that modern BS1363 13A plugs (for many years now unfortunately) have got plastic insulating sleeves on the live and neutral pins, reducing their current-carrying capacity by reducing their cross-sectional area. This causes heating of the pins when carrying near their “design” maximum.
Try comparing an old “British-made” 13A plug with no pin-sleeves to a sleeved plug when both are carrying say 12+ Amps to a 3Kw fire or heater for an hour.
The solid-pin plug will be warm, but the sleeved-pin plug will be uncomfortably hot. If they are the cheap rubbish types that seem to abound, they get even hotter. This heat is also conducted into the socket and also up to the fuse in the plug, possibly causing it to fail through heat not current through it.
All square pin plugs and sockets are a menace. Poor contact between the surfaces of the pins and the little bits of thin bent metal in the sockets almost always causes overheating. Usually the raised temperature is hardly noticeable but any warmth at all indicates that electricity is being wasted.
The safest load-carrying plugs and sockets are those truly ancient 5A and 15A round pin type with their slightly springy tips and almost 100% contact along the whole length of the pins. Modern “hook-up” plugs and sockets are nearly as good and have the added advantage of being watertight. The only issue is that one must have a suitable fuse of CB somewhere in the circuit.
The cross section under the plastic will I guess be greater than the wire to the plug. More heat will come from the resistance at fuse to holder contact and plug to socket contact. What is crazy is as already correctly stated that a 13a socket is not meant to take 13a continuously for long periods of time. Can you be surprised that people get it wrong
It’s clear that you’ve never used an electric car and know how it’s charging process works.
Clearly Colin, your knowledge of electrical installations , does not meet UK standards. either. A breaker (CB/MCB) as you refer to will only trip on over current. A RCD is required in order to protect for earth leakage and even houses built in the early 1990’s were not fitted with these. Not only did the article refer to the use of extension leads and leaving them out in the rain, but also the practice of daisy chaining them. A very dangerous process in it self due to the voltage drop across not only the lead but also each plug connection. Not forgetting that domestic extension leads are normally only rated at 10A so if charging a car you should use an industrial grade lead which is rated for 15A and normally comes with an integrated RCD in the plug.
It might rain overnight. Or five minutes after plugging in the extension. You know what our weather is like.
Colin, As an EV’er of some 10 years, I can safely say that you are (generally speaking) correct.
The main issue is not so much the plugs and sockets but the cross-sectional area of the cable conductors. Most domestic extensions use 1.5mm2 conductors at best (and the cheaper ones are not even this big). The next step is usually 2.5mm2 which would be generally used in industry. You can just about get these wired into standard plugs and trailing sockets (the conductors fit OK but not so much the outer cable sheath). Cables of this specification will generally work perfectly well with the 10A max current draw of a pEVSE portable charging cable and, indeed, this is all I used for the first 8 years of my EV driving, doing an average daily commute of about 45 miles which equates to about 15kWh of charging daily (incidentally also the average daily consumption for a house in the UK).
Plug and sockets must be kept in good condition, however. A dirty/poor connection will very quickly cause heating in an ever degrading vicious circle and a melted plug (with the potential for burns but not really fires – tho it has happened) is a likely outcome. So, monitor the temperature of your pEVSE connections regularly after an hour or so of charging. Any sign of serious heating should be remedied immediately by replacing the plug *and socket* concerned.
Better still, swap the plug and socket for industrial 16A CEE (aka blue commando) ones if you can.
I have to agree that to buy an EV without doing the research is very daft! I am looking at EVs right now but it would be a van rather than a car so the range is still a bit restricted, having done the homework I know where my nearest chargers are and the expected charge times – battery capacity Vs charger output rate. I would point out that sometimes councils are not as helpful as they could be, I have seen a few cases of installing charge points on the second level of a multistorey carpark, one hopes in the fullness of time this will change, I have read that Shell UK has installed chargers on some petrol station forecourts (Shell Recharge) and other petrol stations are to follow soon. More and faster chargers are coming online delivering 50Kwh and greater some even claim to deliver 300Kwh+ yet no car is publicly available to make full use of it.
A dedicated charger on your property is the best way to go and if you have a socket instead of a tethered lead you can have as long a lead as you want I have seen UK companies selling leads up to 25mtrs, no need to use an extension lead in that case 3Kw is about the max for a 13amp socket so most professional installations are of the 7Kw range requiring a direct feed from the Consumer unit (bit like a low-end Shower or cooker) I have heard of 22Kw chargers but they are still silly money even with the government grants available.
Good start Nick.
But do remember systems are not 100% efficient , so some of the charger output will be lost as heat. Suggest you add 10% to your times to be sure your 100% charged.
22Kw chargers would be an interesting installation as most properties are only fitted with a 24Kw power source (based on a pure resistive load and a supply voltage of 240V, less for inductive or capacitive loads)
Standard home charging points for EV’s are 7.5Kw and are required to have a separate MCB as well as an RCD on the charger.
One concern about smart meters is that suppliers could start to levy a greater price in proportion to the power factor of the device being used – I assume a battery has a low power factor, if not then they are going to love an increase in plug-in hybrids!
Wouldn’t there also be a queue for these chargers as there are so-few to go around.? “Sorry I’m late for work boss, but there were 6 cars queueing for THE CHARGER last night”…
Clearly you’re not an EV owner otherwise you would know how ridiculous that statement actually is.
I think he means because most EVs will charge at home (or work), certainly those involved in commuting, at least.
25m of cable (unless it is very heavy) will suffer issues with voltage drop, especially at ~30A! This may lead to aborted charges – not dangerous but certainly potentially inconvenient.
22kW charging requires a 3 phase supply but need not be very much more expensive than single phase ones. The components they are made from are identical in function to 1P charging points but just tripled-up for the 3 Vs 1 phase(s). Of course, that doesn’t stop companies from jumping on this latest government-funded gravy-train and charing a fortune for them.
The first person to get electrocuted by charging an EV should get an honorary Darwin award.
That’s a *little* unfair – after all, EVs and charging points are likely to suffer failures/damage like anything else. That said they are generally well designed and will most likely simply stop working a long time before they electrocute someone, let alone kill them.
So all I see is the poorer people having to fund rich people who can afford electric vehicles
They all ready get free road tax free congestion charge parking spots at front of car parks
im not rich. I earn 28k a year. most ev drivers would prefer charge points at the rear of car parks so they don’t get hogged by the illiterate who can’t read signs. I drive an ev as I realised the futility at looking at saving a penny or two on fuel prices when government is gauging 70% tax on fuel. join us in Galt’s gulch.
Please! What a truly stupid comment! You can buy a used – and still perfectly functional – EV for well under £5k. Granted, a (fuel-powered) ‘old banger’ would potentially cost a lot less but what you lose in up-front cost you would easily gain in low-to-zero servicing costs, cheap ‘fuel’ over its lifetime (and as you point out) cheap parking/discounted congestion charges.
The current incentives for EV purchase are designed to make life better for everyone in terms of better air quality and a reduction in dependance on foreign oil with all the political and ecological issues that creates (eg wars!).
Seriously. Expand your horizons a bit!
The discussion about us going all electric confuses me. When you see terraced street after terraced street filled with cars and not a drive in sight, how on earth will they be able to charge their vehicles over night?
Either every house will have to have a charging point in the pavement in front of their houses (who would pay for them?), or there will be a spiders web of wires over every pavement.
What a temptation for vandalism.
No, this is a purely political move.
The aim is a single fuel nation. Rather tempting for trouble makers. Oh, and who will then control the production and sale of electricity?
What about people who live in flats/apartments or houses where there is not even on-street parking? My understanding is that the electricity infrastructure is somewhat strained now, how is it going to cope when you add 6 million electric vehicles.
How long does it take to charge a car at a service station? We are used to driving in, filling up with petrol. paying and driving off in 5 minutes max, how will charging compare to that. How much does it cost?
Well the answers to all your questions are readily available if you have access to a computer,……. oh good, you do, so look it up
Ture, but the maths might be a challenge! Look up:-
1/ The number of cars in the UK
2/ The average UK daily mileage for cars
3/ Multiply 1/ x 2/ = yearly miles driven by UK cars
4/ Divide 3/ by 3 (roughly 3 miles of range for each unit (kWh) of electricity) = amount of extra kWh of electrical energy needed.
5/ Compare 4/ with what electricty we use now.
electric vehicles actually help balance the grid. most are charged at night when the grid is underutilised. some energy firms are trialling vehicle to grid tech so when an ev owner plugs in (at peak time) his cars stored energy is fed into the grid to help. the vehicle is then topped back up with cheaper electric through the night. most ev owners have time of use tarrifs and already charge at night when its cheaper and less demand. in short, ev’s will help the grid if used in conjunction with smart meters.
Balancing the grid has ended. Economy 7 (night rates) was invented so the domestic heating load could be stored in thermal bricks, so that nuclear and coal power stations could run at high output 24/7.
So how is domestic overnight charging going to balance solar power? 100% mismatch. How is the Grid going to transfer wind power to population areas from where it is available — Scotland, the Pennines and the North Sea?
I provided the statistical analysis for the RIIO submissions in the North-West area, which were supposed to manage the demands on the Grid for low-carbon electricity at 2015, 2023, 2030 and 2038. The base figures were a joke. For starters, the government estimate was that there would be only ONE million EVs by 2038: now they just committed to 25 million by abolishing wet fuel. We also got figures from 37 local authorities for population growth, air-pump and ground-pump heating, micro-wind-turbines, solar and so on. Every figure was made up on the spot — most of them were copied from the largest city’s guesses, so the Lake District had exactly the same proportion of new homes and EVs as Warrington.
We are an island surrounded by a sea that has two high tides a day, 365 days a year. Unlike solar and wind power generation tidal is a constant and predictable source of power generation but some vested interests put a downer on it about 30 years ago and so it has not benefited from the same investment and development as wind and solar. Nowhere in the UK is more than 70 miles from the sea so the power grid doesn’t have to compromise feeding the power to consumers. We need to adopt wave power ASAP!
How about using our rivers as well as the tide.
Don’t get confused. Tidal power needs huge coastal reservoirs for the tide to flow into for 6 hours, and then to flow out of for the next 6 hours, each time passing through turbines. Swansea Bay project was designed with a 9 km wall round their lagoon. Cardiff Bay is planned to be 18 km, enclosing 70 sq km. They work on the weight of water, not on the speed of flow. They are only effective in a few sites that have large rise and fall due to the coastal configuration, like the Bristol Channel.
Wave power relies on the hog-back effect of long swells to extract kinetic energy. They are only effective on exposed Atlantic coasts. and for one direction of waves, and when the sea is lively due to offshore winds.
Hydro (river) power relies on consistent rain and hilly terrain. Not going to happen in Norfolk, excellent in Scottish Highlands.
Being less than 70 miles from the sea is not the point. The Grid basically connects coal-fields to cities. If you build generation where natural energy is abundant, you are almost by definition going into the wilds. So new grid connections from Cornwall, West Wales, and the Hebrides. English Channel, Irish Sea and North Sea are leeward of where the energy comes from, so not worth the investment.
Wind power is much the same — nothing below 1000 feet high, or in open sea, works. In addition, wind turbines need a secure incoming power supply just to enable the control systems and provide excitation current (for the static magnetic fields), whether they are generating or not.
There is a nuclear plant at Dounreay, on the north coast of Scotland, operational from 1957 to 1994. For safety reasons, it needed a stable power supply so it could be operated even when it was not generating, and this is still used to run reactor cooling while decommissioning. That supply runs from the Clyde vally, almost 200 miles. This plant has been a net user of power during its whole life.
Go to Sweden and see how they’ve done it
Were all the cars in the UK electric, it would add about 10% extra electrical energy demand. That demand has actually fallen by 15% since 2005 and is continuing to do so. So, significant but in no way unachievable. Besides, by the time that happens local renewable generation and storage will completely remove that barrier.
there are already charge points available installed into street lamps and bollards. the technology is there….just not everywhere. with the newer cars having increased range rapid charger help too just needing a charge a couple of times a week for many people. I don’t have a charger at home but charge on the public network and at work.
Probably academic if the planet is permanently damaged. We must stop burning fossil fuels but we also need the government (such as it is ) to take the climate seriously. Much more important than Brexit etc.
Well, you have a point (as far as terraced housing goes). But most of us go shopping at least once a week and/or visit a leisure centre for an hour or so. *If* all of these were effectively forced to provide rapid DC charging facilities then that would be one way to cope – bear in mind the average daily mileage for a UK car is only 21 miles (for those which live in cities this figure is probably a lot less). So a weekly 30 – 60 minute rapid charge would be sufficient.
Realistically though, some system of permitting at least a significant proportion of terraced house-dwellers to charge their EVs will have to happen. Some more forward-thinking local authorities are already looking at this issue. Eg using street lamps fitted with charge sockets or installing a channel in the pavement to permit a cable to be placed in it overnight. Ultimately, I expect “all* on-street parking will be designated (a lot already is simply to discourage car-ownership and/or cope with parking) and each bay will have a wireless (inductive) charging pad. The technology is as old as the hills and well-proven but who will pay for it?
Also, the coming autonomous vehicle revolution will much reduce demand for private car ownership in towns and cities anyway. Free (electric & autonomous) bus travel (no driver + no fuel = 75% cost saving), anyone? Half-price (or less) taxi fares? Why would you then want the hassle and cost of owning a car? What to do your annual pilgrimage to visit aunty Flo in Little Piddling? Hire a (electric, of course) car…
As for it all being political? Get serious. The world and everything that lives on it is under threat from the effects of dumping 60 million years -worth of sunshine (and its conversion into fossil fuels) into our oceans and atmosphere in 150 years. If we don’t do something to halt (and ideally reverse) that, our species (and many others besides) is simply not going to see the turn of the next millennium.
All people need to do is to get an electrician to install an outside power point so they can charge their vehicle
That is all well and good and is something all EV owners should do, assuming of course they have a driveway or off road area they put the car to charge up but useless for the thousands of terraced home owners and tennents. Also not much use when you are 40 miles from home on a freezing cold wet or snowy day hunting for a charging socket and once you do find a charge point facing a considerable wait to get enough sparks into the battery to get you home or to your next appointment.
do you wait until you run out of petrol before filling up? I have never done that. I always fill up when the tank gets close to empty. you wouldn’t disappear into the middle of nowhere if you knew you didn’t have a lot of fuel left. same goes for an EV. the only major issue is broken or ‘ICED’ chargers.
It requires a little more than just an outside power point. It would take 10 to 13 hours to charge even the lowest range EV this way and well over a day for the average EV. A proper charge unit is needed for which there are grants available under OLEV.
I know where the points are but can’t use them because we do not have a smart phone- When will they make them available to people with Debit Cards? We didn’t know that when we bought the car that we would have to have a smart phone.
Understand your comment about payment. I don’t own an EV but have just looked up the process and it seems arcane to say the least, having to either use your phone (not sure whether that is via App which would require mobile signal) or Bluetooth or NFC (which not all phones support). Few if any seem to support conventional card payment on the spot. A lot require you to ‘sign up’ in advance, but this is crazy as there are a number of different charging networks, so do you have to sign up to all ‘just in case’? As an outsider this appears to be the usual half baked approach so favoured by the UK. And now we have the (soon to be ex) MayBot announcing there wont be a single non EV on the road in 30 years! Can’t say I’ll be doing so any time soon.
Totally agree but I have just taken the plunge and have subscribed to an EV on a month by month basis to see how it goes. Can get “free” charging via the subscription. The government must however start to force providers to introduce universal swipe and pay technology like you would do in any other contactless transaction. After all charging an EV isn’t very expensive. Its currently costing me either nothing or about 4-5p/mile.
its a bug bear for all of us. try charge point/instavolt. they accept contactless cards. other option is polar membership. they use a card that you tap on the front of the charger. there are others but apps are a pain sometimes (ecotricity).
This article is just plain wrong.
I can’t believe that anyone with an EV with a decent battery capacity would be using a domestic 13A socket – it would take too long to charge -longer than just overnight. They would use the government grant to get a decent charger installed on an outside wall. This article must be about those with city cars or plug-in hybrids.
Round my way I rarely see a car plugged in to the public chargers. So I don’t think its simply a case of availability. The number of different systems, apps required etc, makes the whole process quite user hostile. I recently went on a long trip and thought about using a charger at a motorway service station, but couldn’t find any information about cost. Even after I’d downloaded the ecotricity app, registered, entered my car details, entered my credit card details, I still couldn’t work it out. By then I’d had enough, and I had a choice, as my car is a plug-in hybrid, so I decided to continue on petrol alone. I imagine that most owners of hybrids would feel the same, and I can’t imagine anyone taking a city EV on a long motorway trip .
There has also been quite a lot of on-line abuse of owners of plug-in hybrids, occupying public chargers for lengthy periods, and I can understand it. Why should I be free to choose to occupy a slot for 2 hours, denying someone with a proper EV to get the next 100 or 200 miles up the motorway, just because I choose to want to drive for the next 20 miles or so in EV mode, instead of using the petrol part of my car’s hybrid drive-train.
If I were to use a public charger, the maximum charging rate is 3.7kW for my car is 3.7kW and it takes 2 hours to charge at that rate. Most charge stations charge by the hour , assuming a minimum charge rate of 7kW and the amount I’d be paying for the electicity is excessive. So, I charge overnight at home as do most PHEV and city car owners who can’t charge at work. Some will have installed a home charger using the government grant, and others will use a 13A socket.
Using a 13A socket, the charger limits to 8A, and it takes a little over 4 hours to charge, which is fine for an overnight charge. The charger and plug itself are fully interlocked to prevent shocks at the car end, and the cable itself plugs into a standard 13A socket in the garage, with the cable run under the up-and-over door. Its perfectly safe, even in the rain. However, I would not be worried about the use of extension cables – if rated for the current, fully unwound, RCD, overload and overheating protected for outdoor use, as mine is (for use with other items like hedge trimmers, pressure washer etc) then they can be perfectly safe. I have heard of cases where circuits have tripped, but none of physical injuries caused by charging a car.
So, I think that the analysis of this article is just plain wrong. The safety or otherwise of using a domestic supply is one thing. Concluding that people are risking their lives because there aren’t enough public charging points is wrong. The population charging at home is a different one to the population needing charging points. (PHEV and city cars v owners of TESLAs, Jaguar I-pace, Nissan Leaf etc).
A couple I know are on their second leaf and haven’t got a charging point. How do they charge it? It takes two days to fully charge from a socket. You’d go mad if you had a 3kW fire plugged in for two days!
Grannie chargers give 2.3KW @ 10amps. I have just started subscribing for an EV. The charger tops up the battery at a rate of 4.4%/hour and there is an additional 1.5hours if you want to condition the battery from 99% to 100%(conditioning helps to maintain the battery performance). This has been fine for a short period as I can charge up in a detached garage with a 15amp fused spur of a 32amp ring circuit. The I wouldn’t say that drive me mad as it is about the third the cost of petrol 🙂
I am currently getting a 7KW dedicated charger installed which will cost £499 and reduce charge times. Agree this won’t work for everyone but we have to start somewhere and get off our addiction to oil before the planet (our home) is permanently damaged.
Surely the answer is to have a fifty mile cable coiled inside something like a giant extendable dog lead. Then most people won’t need charging points. And, if a ratchet and spring system is employed, they won’t need any electricity for the return journey (although they will be going backwards very fast). Clearly the EV manufacturers haven’t thought things out properly.
While I’m sure the UK Roll Out of EV Charging Points will be inadequate, and far too slow, there is an interim solution of avoiding “plug in hybrids” by purchasing “self charging hybrids”. I have ordered a Self Charging Hybrid (Ford Mondeo Estate)
For those who want to go Full Electric then “Recharging” has to be part of the Purchase Equation and Planning.
I have investigated the cost of adding Further Solar Panels (but separate from my FIT Scheme maximum of 4Kw/Hour) with Tesla Powerwall Batteries to enable me to charge a Porsche Taycan. But this was expensive compared with the cost of the car purchase. Mind you the Porsche 800volt system means very fast charging (even compared to Tesla!).
Sadly to change my Porsche Macan GTS for a Macan Hybrid has been foiled by Porsche on this model to go to Full Electric!
I hope you work nights 🙂
As a “self charging hybrid” ,a marketing term invented by car makers ,merely uses the petrol engine to top up a small battery to aid acceleration I don’t see what advantage it is . They cannot charge from an external source and their economy improvements appear to be insignificant.
No problem charging my car at home be lucky to get in my road to do it.
Well planed idea i must say.
What will happen went all cars are electic the nation grid will calaps ? ( 6pm and total blackout)
mybe instead of wasting money cosmetic road repairs they should be laying tracks in the roads for electic
The would,s bigest Scalectrix track.
If buying an EV, they should supply a charger with it. If you buy a mobility scooter or a cordless drill, you get the charger. If you buy an electric forklift truck, you get the charger to go with it. Why this is not supplied with cars is wrong. The cars cost a lot. That should include the charger. Or at least a charging cable which is long enough to reach into the house or to an external waterproof socket mounted on the wall. Budget cuts stop intallation ofthe charging points ? Less money for the government to profit if petrol cars are phased out.
EV owners get a government subsidy of up to £500 towards installing a proper charging point on the wall.
Bit like saying drinking the petrol you put in your car is dangerous.
Stupid people are just stupid.
This article is highly inaccurate and shows little understanding of the actual day-to-day practicality of EV ownership. I own an EV, have never used an extension and never have an issue finding a charge point when I’m out. There are now more public EV charge points than petrol stations in the UK. Get your facts right, this is just FUD.
Why compare the number of charging points with petrol STATIONS? Compare instead the number of PUMPS with charging points and the picture is rather different. And bear in mind that it only takes a few minutes to charge a vehicle with petrol or diesel. I can’t see really widespred use of electric vehicles until access to charging is drastically improved. I don’t expect to live that long.
More EV point than petrols stations? Totally dumb statistical comparison.
My petrol station has 8 pumps and takes five minutes to fill. So it handles 96 cars an hour, and I get 400 miles to a tank.
Your EV point can’t manage one vehicle an hour for a full charge, and that won’t get it half the distance either.
The last time EVs come up on this site, somebody said they have no problems driving London to Scotland — they just take 2 full days over the journey, and pay for a hotel.
There is not enough materials in the world to build the batteries for the UK let alone the rest of the world
its nonsense. those buying an ev usually qualify for a charger grant so get one fitted. the instances where an extension cable for a granny charger would be used would be rare. I don’t have a charger at home and haver charged at home 4 times since owning the car (1 year). I rely on my workplace or the public network. getting extension cables out just isn’t worth the hassle.
I should not worry you lot. There will never be enough electricity to charge everyone’s car if we all go EV so it will be rationed via the smart meter. You may get 10 miles per day allowance unless a special case. That is why the government want them installed. Never trust a government as it changes its mind faster than you changing your car. Imagine the crazy ideas that will come along by 2050?
Hallelujah! I was despairing that there was nobody contributing to this that has a brain!
For decades we’ve been decommissioning time expired power stations but not built a single replacement so a TARDIS would be useful so that we can go back in time and start building lots of (non-polluting nuclear) power stations to make up for the shortfall. You won’tr be using them to charge your EVs though, because you’ll need it all to keep warm when the ban on gas fired central heating comes into force.
Maybe this site could start a database of the existing sites updated monthly
If there are 7.5kW chargers being installed then you should never, never be using a standard extension cable anyway (not even a standard 13A household socket.
7.5kW at its maximum output would draw 30amps from the electricity supply (and if these are being fitted then the law states that the circuit supplying it must be able to carry its maximum load.
So, obviously thes chargers are only charging at a maximum of 3kW anyway.
No, the charger will be wired correctly for 30amp supply. 7.5 kw is on the output side of the charger at a different voltage.
Watts = volts x amps. You can’t deliver more power than is supplied! It’s simple physics.
Sorry, it will be 300watts short as 30amp at 240v is 7200watts. I said voltage nothing about the power, should have been more specific.
I would like to buy an electric vehicle, but only have on street parking and after doing some research both the local council and county council will not allow me to use an electric cord that goes across the pavement due to it being a trip hazard and thus being flagged as a health and safety problem.
The nearest public charging point is over two miles away and there is time when either my wife or I are called out in the middle of the night to sort out our customer problems, would you let your wife walk 2 miles alone in the middle of the night into the town center.
There is also one big problem with electric vehicles at the moment and that is where does the power come from, as back in the beginning of May 2019 we had a coal free week where we did not burn any coal, wee hee we all say, but when you look at the breakdown of what actually provide the power other than renewable’s it’s a bit shocking;-
Imported energy (Non renewable’s) 6.8%
Bio Mass 6%
So that means that 58.8% of electricity used produced Carbon Dioxide at source and 21.2% of it will produce Nuclear waste that we will have to deal with for thousands of years producing goodness knows how many tons of Carbon Dioxide.
You will get people and companies say that they only used ‘Green Electricity’, however that is clearly a lie as unless you have the renewable’s directly providing the power i.e. a cable from a wind turbine to your electric car you will be producing Carbon Dioxide.
The way electrical power is produced and supplied in this county and abroad is that it is produced from a variety of different sources as shown above and the power coming in is a mixture of different methods.
So running a small car, with a fuel efficient economical engine will produce less Carbon Dioxide than a hybrid or larger electric vehicle.
Also on the back of that for everyone to start using electric vehicles will need a major investment in additional Power Stations, Transmission Pylon’s and Wires, street cabling and finally charging stations in every house.
Most people are ignorant about electricity. Full stop It can and does quite easily klll
The answer is exchangeable batteries.
If you are thinking of replying that this can’t be done, please first visit
and take a look at th their videos showing it actually being done, for tuktuks and for full size buses.
While an outdoor rated reel cable might be able to supply 3kW of electricity when fully unwound, it would almost certainly overheat and cut out after a short period of charging. No standard mains reel cable could supply 7kW – the cable would not be rated for that amount of current, and would be liable to catch fire.
If and when I change my economical small common-rail diesel car for an electric one – a cheaper economical petrol one is likely to come first – I will invest in a mains supply from my consumer unit with appropriate water-resistant components. Indoor mains components – sockets, cable, wall boxes, etc – are not suitable for outdoor use, when there is a risk of exposure to rain.
No I do not have a ev but tell me if you can how do you charge an ev if you live on say three floors up a block of flats dangle it out the window
What people are not realising is that electric cars are still in their infancy they are rather like the first motor cars. When the first cars came out they struggled were only for the rich and filling stations were few and far between. Rather like the first computers they filled a room and had less processing power than a calculator. Look what happened to them. As EV technology gets better so will the charge times and reliability get better. Until there is a revolution in the batteries just like the microchip did for the computer, the EV car will always be held back.
If you are taking a risk of electrocution by connecting more than one extension lead or using them in the wet, doesn’t matter if it’s charging your car or using a power tool. If you must do this then use a surge protector to reduce the risk.
Your revolution in batteries would require a correspond ing revolution in the laws of P Physics and Chemistry.
Aint gonna happen.
Why, bill, we went from lead acid, to nicad, to nim to lithium ion to lithium iron, that’s chemistry by the way, and firms are working all the time to find better ways of making a battery.
They are running out of options in the Periodic Table. The issue is electrostatic potential versus atomic weight, and Lithium (atomic number 3, weight 7) is the best you can get. It is also the lightest element that is solid at room temperature, which is convenient. Pity it is a scarce element, and has such a polluting mining method (salinating the soil for ever). It also spontaneously combusts in the presence of water, giving off hydrogen (which makes it kind of hard to extinguish if your EV catches fire).
There are non-battery solutions, like compressed air reservoirs, spinning up flywheels, hydrogen tanks. But these are too far along the extremes of mechanical limits to be useful.
Right now, the energy-per-kilogramme of hydrocarbons, combined with an oxygen-rich environment, is unbeatable.
Surge protectors don’t prevent electrocution, RCD’s do
It only takes minutes to recharge my diesel 75 and it can’t be so dangerous as it has never overheated or caught fire yet!
Exchangeable batteries would be even quicker.
Total nonsense. Providing the house has an earth Leakage Circuit breaker a shock or fire is unlikely.
Don’t be too sure! With all that you rightly say is in your fusebox, the Protective Multiple Earthing “Earth” is taken from the Mains Neutral, which is in turn “earthed” along the main by earth spikes as specified by the Network maintainers. Your mains charger out in the front garden is not “within the Constant Potential Area” of your house, where radiators, water & gas pipes etc are all bonded to “Earth”. So, if you are touching metal earthed via the charging socket with one hand, and true garden earth with the other you need to know what the local real voltage of the Neutral is relating to real earth. Usually not more than a volt or two – but who inspects that regularly? No-one. I had to deal with a farm where the 11kV to 240 / 415 V transformer was failing, putting a proportion of the 11kV down the “common Earth wire”, to which the telephone had a connection, for its bell circuit. The distant telephone exchange was at “True earth” potential, and the bell needed no more than 30V to ring. Someone picked up the phone and faced a potentially life threatening shock. The telephone was at true earth potential, the nearby metalwork which they touched (a radiator) was up at some fraction of the 11kV coming from the faulty transformer. Everyone lived to tell the tale, but it made me more conscious of the risks even in nationally agreed ways of earthing etc. A similar problem can arise if there is a thunder storm around – “Earth” inside the house could be up at a fraction of lightning voltage during a ground stroke, People in the house find everything is at that high potential and come to no harm – but you are in the front garden trying to charge the EV. Some now require the front garden Charging point to have an earth spike to limit the rise of Neutral above true earth to a reasonable level.
Paul E, a man who knows.
Farmers used to be mystified that a cable fault or lighning strike would end up with all their dead cows lying facing the fault (or directly away from it).
The ground potential along the length of a cow is a lot more than across the width. So the cows that were crosswise to the fault just walked away, and the others got a lethal current.
If a power engineer gets called out to a fault in a field, he approaches it with shorter and shorter steps (until he creeps along an inch at a time) so he can figure out what the fault is.
Just over 100 years ago petrol cars were the thing to replace the horse. Imagine how that would have happened if you could not purchase petrol easily. It would have been a non starter!
Want clean air then provide charging points and get rid of the purchase tax on EVs. Don’t tax the salaries of people building EVs then they can be cheaper to make as wages can be lower. Prove to people that charging is easy, make the EV cheaper to purchase and a lot of people would purchase.
BUT what about LPG. Only CO2 and water. Easy to refuel if gas was more widely available and many cars can be converted. No need to change the engine you have.
So zero road tax for LPG powered cars, zero VAT on the conversion, gets rid of that polluting petrol & diesel.
I believe some LPG systems can work on diesel vehicles too.
I guess what’s coming is to increase tax on diesel and petrol powered vehicles to the point they become a money pit then change is inevitable.
LPG is Petrol in a gaseous form, and produces similar levels of CO2.
Just like the fuels used to make 80% to 90% of the electricity in the UK.
The only way out is a big change in the amount of renewable’s and Nuclear, but don’t watch Chernobyl as it shows you that it can be far worst at polluting than CO2.
I am an old fart and my father was born around 1900. He remembered when there were no filling stations, and you bought petrol from a Chemist (well, it is a chemical). It came in two 2-gallon cans, with a plywood frame and handle. Usually kept round the back of the shop in a big stack, so completely safe. You had to provide your own funnel, and fill it up in the street. Cute! You also carried at least two spare wheels and maybe some inner tubes too, because most of the roads were gravel and had a lot of nails that fell out of the horse’s shoes. Engines also had total-loss oil systems (no sumps) so the roads were a little slippery when wet.
Without even a basic understanding of electricity people will be at risk. The power and heat given out from just a standard 12 volt wet battery, as used in most combustion engined vehicles, is impressive enough. I’ve had to break off a metal tool box with a hammer as it had contacted a terminal and the metal car panel and was becoming welded across the two. Anything but a high rated copper core within a protective insulation is risky. The edge of a garden tool, metal boot stud etc. cutting through a cable designed for indoors is a lethal possibility. A million to one chance of it ever happening? There are going to be several million people charging cars everyday – that is several people a day having that accident!
My kids were in the house messing with a CB radio, a 12-volt battery, and a battery charger when something shorted.
Fifty years on, I still have a + scar my left thumb and a – scar on my right thumb — I wasn’t going to waste time looking for tools.
At least when I need defibrillation, they will know my polarity. And yes, I am DC (and obviously not PC).
I live in a flat in NW England. My nearest charging point is 4 miles away. There’s no way I could own an EV although I would love to have one
Jan, do have have underground parking with your flat? Building managers should install charging points.
You don’t need one per vehicle. You could common-rail ten cars to a charger. It would be possible for it to keep a queue of the order cars were plugged in, and switch to next when one reached a full (or predetermined level) charge.
If you all had PINs, it could bill you monthly with your maintenance charge.