Can You Charge an Electric Car With an Extension Cable?

A guide looking at the possibility of using an extension cable to charge an electric car.

Last updated: Jul 03, 2024 3 min read

Solo 3 S Electric Vehicle Charger V3


Yes, you can charge an electric car with an extension cable using a 3-pin plug, but should you? If you can avoid it, we don’t recommend it as there are potential hazards like overheating and electric faults which could cause fires. Ideally, extension cables should only be used in emergencies, and always charge when you can monitor the process - i.e. not overnight.

Charging without an EV home charger – is it possible?

With a growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road comes the need for flexible and reliable charging solutions. For many EV drivers, the ability to charge their cars conveniently at home is important. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a drive or private off-street parking to install a dedicated home charger.

Electric car owners without a driveway or off-street parking can use public charging like fast chargers at supermarkets and on parking lots or rapid chargers found off motorways to keep their batteries charged. But what if you still want to charge at home? In this guide, we’ll find out if it’s possible to charge an electric car with an extension cable plugged into a standard 3-pin socket at home.

Charging an electric car with an extension cable

Whilst it is possible to charge an electric car with an extension cable using a standard 3-pin plug, this method of charging is generally not recommended. Experts and safety groups including Electrical Safety First advise against the use of extension cables to charge an electric car at home because of the associated safety risks.

Extension cords aren’t typically made to handle the high and sustained current needed for EV charging over extended periods. Carrying these high loads for sustained periods of time can lead to potential hazards such as overheating or electrical fires. Charging with an extension cable and 3-pin plug is also very slow. For example, a domestic 2.4kW socket takes over 24 hours to charge a 60kWh EV battery. By comparison, a 7kW EV home charger is around three times faster, and significantly safer. Because it takes so much longer with a 3-pin plug than a dedicated EV charger, the danger of overheating is compounded because you may have to leave an extension cord and the electric car charging unattended overnight or while you’re not at home to get enough charge.

Safety tips for using extension cables for EV charging

If you have to use an extension cable to charge your EV in an emergency, you should follow these simple tips to stay safe:

  • Select the right type of extension cable – Use an extension cord that is capable of handling the charging load. Opt for one that is made for outdoor use and rated at least 13 Amps.

  • Check the cable frequently – Always keep an eye on the charging process when using an extension cable. If you notice any signs of damage or overheating, stop charging immediately.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines – Check your EV’s instructions and any guidelines provided on the use of accessories like extension cables for charging.