There are over 1 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road in the United States. President Biden's executive order, calling for the federal government to try to ensure that half of all vehicles sold in the United states be electric by 2030, ensures that number will increase significantly in the coming years.
Many residents in your community have already bought an EV, or are thinking about buying one, but they may not know about the fire and electric shock hazards associated with charging EVs at home.
Home EV charging types
There are 2 types of home charging: Level 1 and Level 2.
Level 1 uses the charger included with the EV. These chargers are plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet.
Level 2 charging uses a charger that is sold separately from the EV and allows for faster charging times. They are plugged into a 240-volt outlet.
Recent EV safety recalls
BMW, Ford, Hyundai and Chevrolet have recalled EVs in the past year due to battery defects. Fire safety guidance in some of these recalls suggests that owners not charge their EVs overnight and to park them outside of garages and away from homes until the needed repair is completed by a dealer.
May 2021: A Chevrolet Bolt parked inside a garage is believed to have started a home fire in Virginia that displaced a family and caused an estimated $235,000 in damage. There were no injuries. : Loudoun County Fire and Rescue
EV charging safety tips
Help keep residents in your community safe from fire and electric shock related to charging EVs by sharing these safety tips.
Before buying an EV, have a qualified electrician install:
- A new, dedicated circuit for your EV charging device. Older home wiring may not be suitable for use with EV supply equipment.
- A Level 2 charging device (if that is your preferred charging method).
When you charge an EV
- Follow manufacturer's guidelines when charging your vehicle. Check with your local dealer if you need additional information.
- Purchase a charging device that is certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
- Plug Level 1 EV chargers directly into an outlet designed to handle the amperage of the charging device. Never use a multiplug adapter or extension cord.
- Install a residual current device with the charging unit. It will turn off the power if a fault is detected and help prevent a fire.
- Place all charging device components out of reach of children when not in use.
- Maintain the components of your charging station according to the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines. Signs of excessive wear may indicate a potential shock hazard. Never use an EV charger with obvious signs of damage.
- Cover the EV charging station outlet to stop water from entering. Check the manufacturer's guidelines to make sure it is safe to charge your EV in wet conditions.
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: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times