THE MAJORITY of electric car owners are putting their lives and others’ at risk by using domestic extension leads instead of purpose-built cables to recharge their cars.
A survey by the safety charity Electrical Safety First found nearly three quarters (74%) of pure-electric and plug-in hybrid drivers were using multi-socket extension leads at home to top up their car’s batteries, rather than using a purpose-built charging point.
More worryingly still, more than half (55.5%) confessed they’d connected multiple extensions leads together — a technique known as “daisy chaining” — in order to charge their cars. This is especially dangerous according to Electrical Safety First, as this considerably increases the the risk of someone receiving an electric shock, or a fire breaking out as a result of the heat caused by overloading the extension leads.
The charity says the prevalence of potentially life-threatening charging techniques could be in part due to a lack of local charging points. Of the electric and hybrid car drivers who took part in the study, a third of them said the accessibility of charging points in their area was “not adequate at all”.
This is in part because the roll-out of charging points doesn’t appear to have kept up with demand for pure-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, according to Electrical Safety First. Figures it sourced from the Department for Transport and Zap Map, the charging point mapping service, while the UK’s public charging network more than doubled in size between 2014 and 2018, the numbers of pure-electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the roads increased six-fold over the same time period.
Martyn Allen, Electrical Safety First’s technical director, said: “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.”
He added: “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.”