Put down that extension cord, you’re going to cause a fire.
In the battle to get the world’s drivers to adopt electric cars, designing and building good EVs is only half the battle. The other half deals with changing the customs, habits, and even the culture surrounding how we use our cars. Think about it. Most of us pile in for a road trip whenever time allows or come home and leave our cars parked without topping off the fuel tank. But when it comes to our phones, we rarely go anywhere without bringing a charger, and plugging our iDevices in before bed became a thoughtless ritual more than a decade ago.
In order for EVs to become the norm, drivers are going to have to align themselves with the kind of habits they adopted when getting used to their phones. Unfortunately, many current EV owners are struggling to get it right, as Auto Express reports.
According to a survey of 1,500 EV owners conducted by the consumer protection organization Electrical Safety First, 75% of respondents said that they had used unsuitable extension cords to connect their EVs to a power supply rather than use a dedicated and weatherproofed EV charging cable.
And it gets worse, because of the group of respondents that improperly connected their EVs, 75% said that they had "daisy chained” multiple extension cords together in order to reach their cars. Much like most gasoline car owners know not to smoke while filling up at the gas station, EV owners need to learn that using unsuitable charging cables and connection methods can greatly increase the risk of a fire.
Martyn Allen, technical director at Electrical Safety First, said: "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.”
The study, conducted in the UK, found that the rise of EVs has not been met with an equally rapid increase in the number of public charging stations, which could be contributing to the problem. And we have similar issues in the US, with the International Council On Clean Transportation finding that US EV charging infrastructure is lacking. Automakers could come to the rescue with new technologies, such as wireless charging pads for EVs and PHEVs. But for now, the best strategy is to just make sure you’re using the proper hardware to charge your EV.