Over 50% Of American Homes Are Unprepared For Safe EV Charging

Range anxiety and long charging times are some of the more pressing challenges the electric vehicle industry faces today. But these aspects arguably overshadow some underlying issues that require equal, if not more attention, like a proportionate upgrade of the electricity grid, and the safety of electrical systems in homes.

The Electrical Safety Foundation (ESFI) recently conducted a consumer survey to understand the compatibility of American homes with safe EV charging. ESFI discovered that more than 50 percent of US homes don’t have electrical systems ready for the continuous load that EV charging demands.

63 percent of respondents said that they scheduled a home inspection before installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), and 54 percent of homes required an electrical panel upgrade. Even though 75 percent of EV owners did not face any charging issues, eight percent of them had received an electrical shock.

Using manufacturer-approved and certified charging equipment is vital in ensuring the safety of your home and your EV. InsideEVs recommends using EV charging equipment that adheres to safety standards from UL, ETL, TUV, or CSA, and buyers should ensure that the unit contains a printed label.

EV charging often involves large quantities of current flow over sustained time periods. “The longer a circuit is energized, the more it heats up, and the connections can become stressed,” InsideEVs senior editor and charging expert Tom Moloughney wrote in his charging guide last year.

“Older homes may not be able to safely handle EV charging without overloading the home’s electrical system,” said ESFI President Brett Brenner. “ESFI urges consumers to have a qualified electrician complete an assessment on their home before purchasing or installing EVSE to ensure their electrical system can withstand the demands of EV charging.”

Non-approved charging equipment can bypass OEM-approved safety features, potentially exposing owners to shocks and fires, and possibly damaging an EV’s battery. “Only purchase certified equipment from trusted sources, check electrical manufacturers’ websites, and find authorized retailers and installers,” said John DeBoer, head of Siemens eMobility in North America.

Ninety-six percent of the respondents were satisfied with their home charger installation, and 20 percent had to replace their charging equipment. However, one-third of the respondents did not receive charging information before purchasing EVs. They agreed that hiring qualified experts to inspect the electrical systems at their homes was vital.

ESFI told InsideEVs that the sample size of this survey was 387 people, and the average EV was a 2020 model year, representing all major brands. Results from such a small sample size are not necessarily indicative of a nationwide trend. Also, we don’t know the regional demographics of this survey – EV owners in California would probably have different answers from those in North Dakota.

Source: ESFI