How Charging Station Safe Are You?
Being a road user comes with certain safety considerations baked into the crust. The prospect of hurtling down freeways at 70 miles per hour in a metal box has become so normalized that we tend to become blase about road safety the more accustomed we become to driving. When we make the decision to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle, we tend to do so for the fuel savings, tax incentives or to assuage our environmental concerns. Yet we know that electric and hybrid vehicles have their own safety considerations. We’ve already gone into the minutiae of whether electric cars are safer than their gas guzzling counterparts, but here we’re going to look at something a little more quotidian but no less important… Charging your electric vehicle.
Sure, you may not be involved in a high speed collision or have to contact The Rybak Firm, PLLC to sue any negligent drivers for damages at a charging station. Nonetheless, the act of charging your vehicle has its own safety considerations which some of us may flout on a regular basis. As we get more familiar with our electric vehicles we can become blinkered to the inherent safety risks that they represent. Here are some questions to ask yourself before plugging in and charging so that you can charge safe every time…
Do I know how to check my charging station is safety certified?
Needless to say, charging stations are expected to conform to nationally recognized safety standards, and every time a manufacturer makes a new product (or makes a change to an existing product) they must send samples off for approval. Safety engineers at these labs must spend a long time rigorously testing these products before they are certified and deemed fit for public sale. Thus, safe charging stations must bear a recognized testing laboratory markl (ETL mark) or an underwriter’s mark (UL mark). You can see examples of these along with more information about what they mean right here.
Do I know the warning signs that a charging station may not be safe?
In a perfect world, one would assume that every charging station we use is guaranteed to be safe. But we all know that the world is far from perfect. Some manufacturers use official looking marks that don’t necessarily mean that the charging station conforms to national safety standards. A prime culprit is the CE logo. If you see this logo and this logo alone this means that the product has not been independently certified and is not safe to use. A CE mark in addition to the ETL and / or UL marks is absolutely fine.
Do you know your plugs?
Some charging station owners buy cheap in the hopes of making a larger return on their investment, but in so doing, they may be compromising the safety of their customers. This is especially true when it comes to using non-grounded plugs like a NEMA 10-30 or 10-50. As these have not been earth grounded they cannot possible conform to NRTL guidelines and should be avoided at all costs.
Knowing the warning signs will ensure that you and your electric car enjoy a lifetime of safe and worry free charging.
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