Charging Safety

Charging your electric or plug-in hybrid car is safe and easy. EV charging equipment is tested and certified by independent organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories, CSA International, and Edison Testing Laboratories. In addition, EV charging systems employ sophisticated computers and software that manage the charging process while protecting both the user and the vehicle. There are two primary safety features.

First, the charging cable is not ‘live’ while you are handling it. A proper connection to the vehicle must be made and verified before charging will begin. Once the charging cable is connected, the system software automatically performs a health check to determine the battery’s voltage, capacity, and state of charge. Only after everything has checked out okay will the computer initiate charging and allow current to flow through the cable.

Second, EV charging systems employ multiple automatic failsafe protection systems to immediately cut power if any irregularity is detected during charging. For example, if the charging cable comes loose or is removed from the vehicle, power is shut off before any cable or connector terminals are exposed. If a voltage leak is detected, a ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) system halts charging to prevent the possibility of a user being shocked. And, last but not least, every EV charging system incorporates surge sensing capabilities that will cut power to protect the vehicle battery and electronics in the event of power grid problems.

Can I charge my electric vehicle in bad weather?

Your EV owner’s manual will contain specific safety recommendations for recharging from the vehicle’s manufacturer. A review of the manuals for several popular EVs found that most advise against recharging when the vehicle is exposed to inclement weather. If charging in such conditions cannot be avoided, it is good to know that modern EVs and their charging systems have sophisticated safety features that make personal injury or vehicle damage highly unlikely regardless of outside conditions.

This does not, however, mean that an attempt to charge an EV in bad weather will be successful. If the charging system protective circuitry determines that a safe and secure connection to the vehicle cannot be established, the system will simply refuse to allow charging until a good connection is possible.