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Questions and Answers on how to charge your electric vehicle (EV) safely

These were developed as part of Drive Electric Week 2016

  • EVs are convenient and safe
  • As with all vehicles they need to be treated with care
  • WorkSafe will be providing guidance on installation
  • Get advice from a qualified electrical worker if you are unsure.


Will the EV charging cables be safe?

Yes, these vehicles have been designed with safety in mind. They can only be charged if the connection is secure and safe. The vehicle can’t be driven while it’s plugged in.

Treat it as you would any other outdoor electrical appliance. Only use the cables supplied by the manufacturer or supplied specifically for EVs.  Do not use a plug adaptor from one kind of plug to another. As you would with a caravan, use only one cord to bring power to the EV.


Is there a safety standard in place?

WorkSafe has identified a set of international safety standards for EV equipment that suit New Zealand’s electricity infrastructure. We will be providing guidance for electrical workers.


Can I plug it in at home?

Yes. You will be able to charge your EV using a normal 3-pin socket, as long as you use only the cables provided with the EV. Don’t use any cord system other than those designed for EVs. Don’t use extension cords or plug adaptors.


Can I charge it quickly at home?

You can plug your EV into your normal home power, but it will charge more quickly if you get a purpose built charging device installed by a professional. We are developing guidance to provide to electricians about how to install these safely. We plan to have this guidance on the WorkSafe website by mid-October.


Can I charge it in the street?

Yes, there will be public charging stations. They will have a limited set of standardised sockets, so you may need to bring your own cable. Some EVs carry a range of cables to fit different sockets.


Are public charging stations safe?

Charging stations have special safety features that are the same as the residual current devices (RCDs) installed in new homes, or for safely using portable tools outdoors. RCDs disconnect the mains supply when they detect certain faults. They are only effective if used in the way the manufacturer intended, so in other words make sure you read the instructions.  Be careful that the cord doesn’t create a trip hazard.


Are cables on the market unsafe?

There are no safety issues with the vast majority of charging systems on the market. There are some cases of second-hand vehicles being supplied with modified cables, unapproved by the manufacturer, which may be unsafe. WorkSafe is working with importers to identify and eliminate the problems.


How do I know if I have a cable with unsafe modifications?

If you have a second-hand Nissan Leaf and it has been supplied with a standard 3-pin plug (like you would find on a household appliance), stop using it until you have had a qualified electrical worker assess how much current it is drawing. Standard 3-pin plugs are rated for 10 amps, but the Nissan Leaf can draw approximately 14 amps.

If your second-hand Nissan Leaf has a caravan-style plug (three pins, but the pins have rounded ends and are recessed into a blue plastic cylinder) there are no safety issues, as these are designed to handle continuous operation at their full rated current.


For more information on electric vehicles go to the EV website.


Last updated 30 September 2016
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