Electric-car charging station safety: what you need to know


Size comparison of electric-car charging stations (EVSEs) on sale today, March 2016

Size comparison of electric-car charging stations (EVSEs) on sale today, March 2016

Enlarge Photo

Like any consumer product, it's important to consider safety when buying a charging station for an electric car.

While plugging the vehicle into a station is straightforward, the large amount of current carried over the cord from the power source to the car makes caution worthwhile.

Even safety-conscious consumers may find choosing the best charging station difficult, however.

DON'T MISS: How to buy an electric-car charging station: buyer's guide to EVSEs (Mar 2016)

That's because not every home charging station on sale in the U.S. has received third-party safety certification.

As with household appliances, there are formal safety standards for electric-car charging stations—but no requirement that they be tested to determine that they meet those standards.

Many charging stations sold on Amazon are not safety tested, according to a recent investigation by Charged EVs.

2016 Nissan Leaf

2016 Nissan Leaf

Enlarge Photo

Unlike such chain stores as Best Buy and Home Depot, which sell home charging stations, Amazon does not require all products sold on its website to have the relevant safety certifications.

Like other electrical appliances, the job of ensuring that charging stations meet standards typically falls to third-party testing laboratories.

These Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories include Intertek and Underwriters Laboratories.

ALSO SEE: How To Wire A New Garage For Electric-Car Charging: What You Need To Know (Feb 2016)

You may have seen the "UL" mark or Intertek's "ETL" mark on various household items that have been certified as compliant with safety standards by these laboratories.

Those marks also appear on safety-certified charging stations.

UL 2594 is the primary safety standard for electric-car charging stations sold in North America.

GE WattStation Electric Car Charging Station

GE WattStation Electric Car Charging Station

Enlarge Photo

But these certifications do not appear on Amazon listings, and of course it's impossible to inspect a product offered online for a UL or ETL mark while browsing.

Amazon itself makes no official claims regarding safety certifications. That is up to the individual sellers offering products through its website.

MORE: Charger, charger, on the wall, who's the prettiest plug of all? (video) (Mar 2016)

At the same time, no easy-to-access database of safety-certified charging stations exists.

That means buyers must do quite a bit of homework, something they may not be motivated to undertake even if they realize the need.

2017 Chevrolet Volt

2017 Chevrolet Volt

Enlarge Photo

Last year, charging-equipment supplier ClipperCreek conducted a survey asking customers what they thought the most important features for a charging station were.

Safety certifications ranked dead last on that list.

But that may be because consumers assume that—like other electrical appliances—all charging stations in the U.S. are safety certified, ClipperCreek's marketing and communications director Suzanne Guinn told Charged EVs.

That is not an assumption shoppers should make, at least when buying charging stations online.

In other words, look for stations that are UL-certified to ensure that a knowledgeable third party has deemed a specific model to comply with basic safety practices.

_______________________________________________

Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter

 
Follow Us

Take Us With You!

 

Get FREE Dealer Quotes

From dealers near you
Go!

Find Green Cars

Go!


 
© 2017 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by Internet Brands Automotive Group. Stock photography by izmostock. Read our Cookie Policy.