The Electrical Safety Foundation (ESFI) recently surveyed electric vehicle (EV) owners to gauge their understanding of EVs and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), or EV charging stations and chargers. The goal of the survey was to identify safety gaps related to emerging technology to ensure consumers are safe while operating and charging their EVs. The survey results show that more than 50% of the electrical systems in homes are not ready for EV charging.
Survey respondents agreed that safety needs to be the top priority when installing and using EVSE. The majority of EV owners—75%—have not had any charging issues, but 8% have received an electrical shock. Several responses highlighted various safety considerations, from the installation location to the use of certified equipment.
Several respondents stressed the importance of choosing a high-quality charger from a reputable source. There is a clear need for information regarding charging EVs safely. Nearly one-third of owners surveyed did not receive information related to charging before purchasing their EV.
The survey respondents also stressed the importance of conducting thorough research before purchasing and installing EVSE, as well as hiring a qualified EV installer to complete the installation process.
When respondents were asked about preparing their homes for EVs, 63% said they scheduled a home inspection before EVSE installation, while 54% needed an electrical panel upgrade. Many respondents mentioned the convenience of having a home EV charger, focusing on the benefit of charging overnight and eliminating reliance on public charging stations, as many cited problems with finding available charging stations.
This included a general scarcity of charging stations, stations occupied by non-EVs, or stations in inconvenient locations. Respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the time it takes to fully charge an electric vehicle, which is problematic when charging infrastructure is scarce or while on a long trip.
ESFI recommends only using manufacturer-approved charging cables. Non-approved adapters can bypass safety features installed in manufacturer-approved chargers. They can also cause shocks, fires, and even damage your car’s battery.
When respondents were asked about EV adapters, 45% said they had purchased an adapter, while 53% had not.
The Electrical Safety Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety at home and the workplace.