can you charge ev with extension cord


Can You Charge EV with an Extension Cord?

Electric vehicles (EVs) have become increasingly popular in recent years as more and more people strive for eco-friendly transportation options. However, one common question that arises is whether it is safe and viable to charge an EV using an extension cord. In this article, we aim to explore this topic and provide you with all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Understanding Electric Vehicle Charging

Before delving into the specifics of using an extension cord to charge an EV, let's briefly recap how electric vehicle charging works. EVs require electricity to charge their batteries, which power the vehicle. Charging an EV typically involves connecting the vehicle's charging cable to a power source, often a charging station or a wall outlet.

Most EVs come with a standard Level 1 charging cable, also known as a household charger, which can be plugged directly into a 120-volt wall outlet. These chargers are convenient for overnight charging and are usually included when purchasing an electric vehicle. However, Level 1 charging is relatively slow, delivering around 2 to 5 miles of range per hour.

For faster charging, many EV owners opt for Level 2 charging. Level 2 chargers operate at 240 volts and require a dedicated charging station to be installed. These chargers can provide up to 25 miles of range per hour, significantly reducing charging times compared to Level 1.

Now, let's delve into the topic at hand and explore whether using an extension cord is a safe and practical option for charging an EV.

Understanding Extension Cords

Extension cords are commonly used to extend the reach of electrical devices when the power source is located further away. They consist of a flexible cord with plugs on either end, allowing the connection of devices to a power outlet.

Extensions cords come in various lengths, wire gauges, and power ratings. It is crucial to choose an extension cord that matches the electrical requirements of the device being used. Using an extension cord with a lower gauge number and a higher power rating ensures a safe and efficient power transfer.

The Dangers of Charging an EV with an Extension Cord

While it may seem convenient to charge an EV using an extension cord, there are several risks and potential hazards associated with this practice. It is essential to be aware of these dangers to make an informed decision about whether to charge your EV with an extension cord.

Fire Hazards

One of the main concerns when using an extension cord to charge an EV is the increased risk of fire hazards. Charging an EV requires a significant amount of power, and the prolonged use of an extension cord can lead to overheating.

Extension cords are not designed to handle high power loads for an extended period. Using an extension cord for EV charging can result in the cord heating up, potentially melting its insulation and causing a fire. Additionally, the connections between the cord and the plugs may loosen over time, further increasing the chances of a fire hazard.

Voltage Drop and Decreased Charging Efficiency

Another factor to consider when using an extension cord for EV charging is the potential voltage drop. Electricity naturally encounters resistance as it travels through a conductor, and this resistance increases with the length of the cord and the gauge of the wire.

A longer extension cord or a cord with a higher gauge will experience more significant voltage drop, which can impact the charging efficiency of your EV. A lower voltage can result in slower charging times, reducing the number of miles gained per hour of charging.

Overload and Electrical Safety

Using an extension cord that is not rated for the power requirements of your EV can lead to an overload on the cord and the outlet. Overloading an extension cord can cause overheating and electrical failures, potentially damaging your charging equipment, the cord itself, or even your EV.

Furthermore, charging an EV with an extension cord increases the risk of electrical shocks and other safety hazards. Extension cords are not designed for outdoor use or prolonged exposure to the elements, and using them in such conditions can be extremely dangerous.

Recommendations and Best Practices

Considering the potential dangers of charging an EV with an extension cord, it is generally recommended to avoid this practice whenever possible. However, if you find yourself in a situation where using an extension cord is the only option, here are some recommendations and best practices to follow:

Choose the Right Extension Cord

Selecting an appropriate extension cord is crucial when charging an EV. Ensure that the cord is rated for outdoor use, as charging an EV often requires access to an exterior power source. Opt for a heavy-duty extension cord with a low gauge number and a high power rating, capable of handling the power requirements of your EV.

Keep the Cord Short

To minimize voltage drop and increase charging efficiency, choose the shortest extension cord possible. The longer the cord, the greater the resistance and potential decrease in voltage. Keeping the cord as short as possible helps mitigate these issues.

Inspect the Cord Regularly

Regularly inspect the extension cord for any signs of wear, damage, or loose connections. Replace the cord immediately if you notice any issues. Additionally, ensure that the cord is properly rated for the power requirements of your EV. Using an inadequate extension cord can lead to hazardous situations.

Consider Professional Installation

In cases where charging your EV with an extension cord is a frequent necessity, it might be worth considering professional installation of a Level 2 charging station. Level 2 chargers provide faster charging speeds and eliminate the need for extension cords altogether.

By having a Level 2 charging station installed, you can conveniently charge your EV without worrying about the risks associated with extension cords. However, keep in mind that professional installation will require the expertise of an electrician and may involve additional costs.


While it is technically possible to charge an electric vehicle using an extension cord, it is neither safe nor recommended for regular use. Extension cords are not designed to handle the high power requirements of an EV, and their prolonged use can result in fire hazards, voltage drop, overload, and other safety issues.

To ensure the safety of yourself, your EV, and your property, it is best to avoid using an extension cord whenever possible. Instead, consider installing a Level 2 charging station for faster and more efficient charging.


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