Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles

The future of cars is looking super-charged, as electric vehicles are becoming more common around the world.

What is an electric car?

Electric cars are fairly new to the automotive world, and are powered by batteries that are installed within the car. These batteries need to be charged after the car has driven a certain distance, and you may have noticed charging stations popping up at shopping centres and supermarkets.

They’re better for the environment, safe to drive and will save you a lot of money on petrol.

But where there is electricity, there are also safety concerns to be aware of. See below for our advice on using your electric vehicle safely!

Electric car safety

  • Ensure that you carefully read the vehicle’s manual before you get in the driver’s seat, and follow all instructions.
  • Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when charging your vehicle, and never use a charging point that isn’t compatible with the make of your car.
  • Some people are concerned that using an electric vehicle in the rain will put them at risk of electric shock, but there’s nothing to worry about – the engineers have ensured that the cars are waterproof.
  • The charging stations are also waterproof, so you will be able to charge in the rain. If in doubt, check with the manufacturer.
  • If you notice a fault or issue, stop using the car and/or charging station immediately and contact the manufacturer.

Electric car charging safety

  • Never use a domestic multi socket extension lead when charging your electric vehicle. If you do need to use an extension lead only ever use one that is suitable for outdoor use such as a reel cable.
  • Never ‘daisy-chain’ extension leads. The method of plugging more than one extension lead into another in order to reach a greater distance increases the risk of an electrical fire as well as electric shock.
  • Always buy your charging cable from a reputable retailer or directly from the manufacturer who will put such products through rigorous tests to ensure they meet UK safety standards.
  • Ensure you 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 may not be able to cope with the demand from charging your vehicle overnight and risk a fire in your property.
  • The safest and most convenient way to charge your vehicle at home is through a dedicated wall box charging point. Ensure this is installed by a qualified, registered and competent electrician only. Use our ‘find an electrician’ page to locate one near you.
  • 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.

Driven to Danger

Electrical Safety First recently conducted an investigation looking into the charging habits of EV drivers and the correlation with charger availability due to the rapid increase in EV ownership. We surveyed 1,500 electric vehicle owners and these were our key findings:

  • 74% believe that a lack of public charging points near their home has led them to use domestic multi-socket extension leads, not suitable for outdoor use, to charge from the mains in their home.
  • 9/10 of those respondent did so even though admitting knowing that these should not be used outside.
  • Over half of EV users who charge with the aid of an extension lead have left cables running to their vehicle when it’s been raining.
  • 75% of those who charge using a domestic extension lead admitted to ‘daisy-chaining’ extension leads to reach their vehicle. This is highly dangerous as it can lead to overheating and an increased risk of electric shock.
  • More than 1 in 3 EV owners said that, in their opinion, the current accessibility of charging points in their area is ‘not adequate at all’.
  • Nearly three quarters of respondents, when taking long journeys away from home or work, have been forced to use extension leads from a domestic mains socket to charge their vehicle at their destination – with 45% admitting to having had to do this on more than one occasion.

As a result of our findings, we are calling for the government and local authorities to ensure that public infrastructures for electric vehicles are in place to support the rapid increase in numbers of electric vehicles on our roads. For our full press release on the subject, click here.