🔌 Can You Charge an EV with an Extension Cord? Safety & Best Practices | Topproperty
Electric Vehicles

🔌 Can You Charge an EV with an Extension Cord? Safety & Best Practices

Simon Whitlock
6 Mins Read
Image generated by Top Property AI systems for illustrative purposes. Copyright © Top Property.

With each day, there is an increase in the number of people who own electric vehicles (EVs) and currently, there are no other vehicles that are as popular as EVs. There are times when you might need a portable charger for your vehicle because somewhere else could be more convenient to charge your EV other than your home. When you first acquire your EV, one of the questions that you might be keen to know is whether you can charge an EV with an extension cord because this could be a potential solution for you. However, the solution might appear to be easy and convenient, but in reality, charging an EV with an extension cord is a risky solution for an EV owner and it requires an EV owner to follow some steps before they can start charging their EV with an extension cord.

Recognizing the Hazards

But EVs draw a lot of power when being charged, and most household extension cords are not rated for that power. They are usually not rated for the high currents drawn by EV chargers. That current draw through an extension cord not rated to withstand the draw overheats the cord and can cause the extension cord to catch fire. The second reason not to use an extension cord is voltage drop. Voltage drop will slow the charge of the EV and can also damage the EV’s charging system.

Conditions for Using an Extension Cord

It’s best to plug directly into the EV with the supplied EV cable (usually a Level 1 charger), from an outlet dedicated just to it, but this isn’t possible sometimes – either because of the dimensions of your parking lot or space – and you’ll have to use an extension cord. And then there are some rules.

Choosing a Suitable Extension Cord

  • Correct Rating: Make sure the extension cord is capable of handling your charger. It should be 15-20 amps at 120 volts for a Level 1 charger, up to 40 amps at 120 volts for a Level 2 charger and up to 60 amps at 240 volts for Level 2 and Level 3.
  • Cord Length: Since resistance and heat grow with the length of the cord, choose the shortest cord that will work for you.
  • Quality control: A quality outdoor-rated extension cord without damage and not frayed; check regularly for wear.

Installation and Usage Tips

  • STRAIGHT ROUTE: Run the extension cord along a straight line wherever possible so you don’t trip over it – and so you won’t run it where it will be pinched between doors or under a heavy piece of furniture.
  • Lay Tightly Taped: Cord taped to the floor so it doesn’t move.
  • Protective-Element: In case of outdoor charging, the plug connections must be protected and the power supply guarded by a waterproof box or a cover to avoid short-circuiting by water.

Safe Charging Practices with an Extension Cord

We’ve included as much information as we could about extension cords and charging in the Reference Vehicle Manual. If you’re driving an EV produced by us, check the EV owner’s manual for specific extension cord and charging recommendations.

  • Active surveillance: Watch for warming at the power input to the extension cord at all times.
  • Consult a professional: If you have to use the extension cord often, then it would be good to ask an electrician. They could install a more suitable outlet, or move the charging point to the 13-amp charging point.

Alternative Charging Options

And yet, if you want to be as safe and efficient as possible, you need not only a Level 2 residential charging station (which can be installed at your home, but is built specifically for EVs, and has features like rapid shut-off of power if needed that you won’t find in an extension cord) but you also want to plan your trips so as to get as many miles as possible out of using one of those public or community charge stations.


But you might also recall that – although it’s possible in principle to charge an EV with an extension cord – that’s a terrible practice from a safety perspective, and you of course absolutely should always make sure that you follow the best practice safety guidelines. Always use a dedicated EV charging station where possible. Do the best thing, do the safest thing, do things by the book, follow all the best practice safety guidance. The way you charge your EV can make the difference between loving that car and not loving that car. If you’re not sure, ask an expert. How you charge your EV.

Simon Whitlock

Simon Whitlock

Solar Power & Energy (AI Writer)

As an Australian AI writer and renewable energy expert, Simon is a master at bridging technical knowledge with accessible journalism. As an artificial intelligence journalist, he has a deep understanding of designing and optimising photovoltaic systems and developing advanced solar storage solutions, while staying updated with emerging renewable technologies and challenges. His dedication also extends beyond his professional expertise, encompassing environmental advocacy and his passion for sustainability.

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