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Is your EV charging cable safe? Expert reveals warning signs and dangers

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

With the cost of living crisis, it’s no surprise that drivers are taking to places like Amazon Marketplace and eBay for low-cost alternatives to the more expensive electric vehicle charging cables.

However, in recent months an investigation by Electrical Safety First resulted in three EV charging cables from Amazon Marketplace and eBay being recalled by the Government's Office for Product Safety & Standards.

Although all new cars are supplied with a charging cable, not all of them come with a 3 pin adapter charger. Leasing Options has shared how to spot if your charging cable is unsafe, highlighted the risks to your EV when using a faulty charger and what you can do to ensure you’re buying the real deal.

Warning signs your EV charging cable could be unsafe ⚠️

Mike Thompson, Chief Operating Officer at Leasing Options, explains: “If you have bought an EV charging cable from an online marketplace and are worried it could be unsafe, there are a couple of warning signs you should watch out for.

“Charging equipment should have CE marking or have UKCA marking according to the Government website. CE marking is a label that confirms that the product has met the EU health and safety standards whereas UKCA marking is a marking used only for England, Scotland, and Wales and confirms the product has met UK health and safety standards.

“Another sign that the EV charging cable you have bought online could be unsafe or faulty is if it’s not sufficiently weatherproof, all EV charging equipment should be waterproof and UV-resistant.”

Four dangers of using an unsafe EV charging cable 🚨

1. Using an unsafe cable could put you at risk of an electric shock

During Electrical Safety First’s investigation of the three faulty charging cables previously sold on Amazon Marketplace and eBay, they found that they posed a risk of electric shock.

If an EV charging cable has been correctly created to conform with EU and UK safety standards it should pose no risk of giving you an electric shock so it’s vital to ensure the charger you're using has the correct safety marking.

2. Your plug socket and cables could overheat

The three chargers which were removed from sale by eBay and Amazon Marketplace had a 3 pin plug at one end to connect to a wall socket. Whilst you can charge your EV using a home socket this will take a long time and could put an excess load on your home circuit. In the UK plug sockets are 13amp, if the EV charging cable is higher than this then this could overload the plug socket and cause both it and the cable to overheat putting you in danger.

If you own a 3 pin plug EV charging cable then you should ensure it is no higher than 13amp. It is also recommended that you should install a wallbox charger if you regularly charge your EV at home and only use the three-pin plug for emergencies.

3. The charging cable won’t sufficiently charge your EV leaving you at risk of being stranded

Another risk of using a faulty or unsafe charging cable is that it won’t sufficiently charge your EV battery. This could leave you stranded if you’re not aware that the changing cable hasn’t left you with a full charge and head out on a long trip.

4. If the faulty cable breaks your battery beyond repair it could cost £5k for a new one

Taking risks with your EV battery is no joke, as the average EV battery costs £5,378.43 in the UK. If you take the risk of using a faulty or unsafe EV charging cable you pose a risk of breaking your EV battery beyond repair leaving you with a hefty bill to get a new one to replace it.

Four things you can do to ensure you’re buying the real deal

1. Don’t just buy the cheapest as this may cost you more in the long run

Buying the cheapest EV charging cable you can find may seem like a good way to save money, but in the long run, it could see you having to pay for a new charging cable when that one stops working and spending money repairing any damage it has done.

2. Don’t be fooled by non-backed-up product descriptions check CE Marking and UKCA Marking

Don’t be fooled by products listed on online marketplaces with product names that include words like ‘genuine’ and ‘authentic’ as this isn’t always the truth. Always check that the cable has CE Marking or UKCA Marking before purchasing it, otherwise, it has not been approved by the EU and UK safety regulations.

3. Buy from reputable retailers or manufacturers

Online marketplaces aren’t recognised by law as a retailer, instead, they are a platform. This means they are not legally bound to ensure goods sold on their platform are safe in the way that online high street retailers are. This is why EV owners should buy charging equipment from reputable retailers or manufacturers to ensure they’re getting the real deal.

4. Be wary of fake reviews

If you see a product on an online marketplace that has thousands of reviews praising the product, be wary that there is a chance some of these reviews could be fake and used to trick buyers into trusting the product. On some sites, you will see reviews from ‘verified purchasers’ which means the online marketplace has cross-referenced the reviews with their sales database to confirm they have bought the product and the review is genuine.


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