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Can I charge my electric vehicle with an extension cord?

The short answer? No.

Electric vehicle manufacturers caution against using extension cables to charge your vehicle, and the Electric Safety Foundation International advises that majority of extension cords are inappropriate for EV charging.

Why can't I use an extension cable to charge my EV?

Most extension cords currently on the market are designed to be used with low current applications, and devices that require much lower power.

So, when extension cords are used with high-current applications – such as with some electric cars - they can supply insufficient current, which can be dangerous and inefficient.

Using these kinds of cables also carries high risk of overheating and will damage the insulation of the wires…and this increases the risk of a fire starting.

Even higher capacity cords are not made to be used for the length of time it can take to fully charge your electric vehicle, leading to overheating and potential charging issues.

Most electric vehicles would need an extension cord capable of around 20 amps, with heavy duty plugs and sockets, to charge efficiently. However, charging in this manner for extended periods of time still carries the risk of damaging the cable or causing fires, so it’s still not recommended.

So, what are the alternatives to using an extension cord for EV charging?

If you want to charge a bit faster, some alternatives include a dedicated 15amp circuit or alternatively, installing a wall mounted charging station. If you have access to three phase power, you can use something like the GIGER cable shown above.

If you want to use an extension cord at home because you don’t have any off-street parking, public charging is a much better bet as they’ll give you a safe and efficient input of power to your EV battery.

Electric vehicle charging guide at home.

Most electric vehicle owners charging at home will be using a 10amp-rated EV charging cable. When plugged in, you'll typically be pulling 10amps continuously for a long period of time. Therefore, to keep everything ticking along nicely, we recommend you follow these guidelines:

  • DO NOT use your EV charging cable with an extension cord

  • DO NOT use your 10amp EV charging cable with any type of power boards or other similar technology

  • Please be aware of other appliances on the same circuit as your 10amp EV charging cable, so not to trip a breaker.

Overall, when charging an electric car, it is best to follow guidelines set out by EV manufacturers. Charging correctly at home or in public is the safest and most efficient charging option for your electric vehicle.

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