Beware of unsafe aftermarket EV charging cables

unsafe ev charging cables

A recent investigation by What Car? has revealed safety concerns with some aftermarket electric vehicle charging cables purchased online.

Three different EV charging cables failed safety tests, posing risks of overheating, electric shock, and poor electrical connections.

The cables tested include:

  • EVCARS Mode 2 EV Charger – £169 from Amazon.
  • Oasser Mode 2 Electric Vehicle Charger – £130 from Amazon.
  • Portable EV Charger – £108 from Component Authority website.

These cables allow EV owners to charge from a standard 3-pin plug. While convenient, What Car? testing shows they fail some safety tests.

Residual Current Device (RCD) Tests:

A key safety test checks the RCD, which cuts power if an electrical fault is detected. This helps prevent shocks. All three cables failed at least 4 out of 5 RCD tests in the lab. Two failed all five, showing the RCD does not work properly in these cables. This poses a major electric shock risk.

Plug Fit Tests:

The cables’ plugs were examined to see if they fit securely into a socket. A loose connection can overheat from prolonged EV charging. None of the three plugs passed this test, meaning they are prone to overheating.

Labelling Assessment:

While the cables had CE safety info, the labelling did not clearly outline the latest safety standards. Instructions were also unclear regarding water resistance ratings.

Electric vehicle charging cable testing standards and regulations

EV charging cables should carry the following certifications:

EN 50620Electric cables – Charging cables for electric vehiclesEurope
IEC 62893 seriesCharging cables for electric vehicles of rated voltages up to and including 0.6/1 kVEurope
UL 2263Electric vehicle cableUnited States
CSA C22.2 NO. 332:22Electric vehicle cableCanada
JCS 4522Flexible charging cablesJapan

When purchasing an aftermarket EV charging cable, here are some tips to ensure you get a safe product:

  • Stick to well-known, reputable brands and retailers. Avoid cheap, generic unbranded cables.
  • Look for cables that are safety certified.
  • Closely inspect the cable construction quality and materials. Poor welds, thin wires, and flimsy connectors can indicate an unsafe product.
  • Match the cable’s amperage rating to your EV’s charging capacity to prevent overheating.
  • Make sure the cable has clear usage instructions and electrical ratings printed on it.
  • Check product reviews online and avoid cables with reports of safety issues.
  • Consider investing in a cable with smart safety features like auto shut-off when unplugged.

While a deal on a cheap charging cable may be tempting, it’s not worth risking your safety or an electrical fire in your home. Spend a few extra quid to ensure you get a cable that meets all electrical codes and safety certifications. Consult with your EV dealer if uncertain about compatibility. Stay vigilant and only purchase EV charging equipment with proven safety standards.

Alfred drives a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus but has his eye on a fully-electric pick-up truck. He'd love an electric Ford Ranger, which should be a real thing in a few years!