Is It Okay To Charge Your Tesla With An Extension Cord?

This is going to be an ordinary, everyday article about mundane things. Nothing exciting to see here. However, it will be practical. A question you may have heard or asked yourself from time to time: “Can I charge my Tesla from a power point using an extension cord?” Disclaimer: I am not an electrician nor am I an EV expert, so I’ll just speak from my own experience and the experience of my peers — ordinary people.

I have made the glib answer to those who questioned the availability of charging options that I can plug in anywhere — just like a toaster! And I can, but what about when the toaster is a long way from the power point? Well, you say, use an extension cord!!

Ready to get the Tesla charger connected to the Model 3 using an extension cord.

I have found that sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t, and recent Facebook conversations highlighted the dangers. When visiting Winton in central Queensland, I charged using an extension cord plugged into an external power point. The car sat on that rig for 3 days in order to trickle charge back up to a full battery.

On a trip to the Bunya Mountains I tried to do the same at my brother-in-law’s house and it just didn’t work — we changed power points and we changed extension cords, but it just didn’t work. My extension cord worked at home when I got back and I checked it, but it just didn’t work at his house — much to his delight, as he has constantly made jokes about EVs having to carry extension cords.

But what if your extension cord gets really hot and starts to smell like your toast is burning? The obvious answer is — turn it off, unplug it, and check the cord, the plug, and the power point. Something is definitely wrong. Also, you need to make sure the cord is completely uncoiled and doesn’t overlap. Check the wall socket — if it is also hot, you might need to get it checked by an electrician. Was there plenty of ventilation?

Australia has 240 volts going to electricity sockets in the home, which means that charging at home from a regular power point can be enough for most people’s needs. In my own home, we have three choices: regular 8 amp power point, 15 amp power point (for the dryer), and of course our Tesla destination charger. We don’t use an extension cord at home, just the power cable that came with the car.

Remember, if you have any queries about power supply and use — consult an electrician.


 

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