Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 20 of 76 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've been driving a Volt since late June and have charged in a number of public locations as well as doing my fare share of 'dirty' journeys. As-of-yet I have not charged the car at home.

I live on a residential street with no off-street parking and there is no guarantee of a space in front of my own property. Some of you may think it crazy that I went for a plug-in vehicle with no guarantee of home charging - I was aware of the cons.

Before buying the car I canvassed my immediate neighbours to see if they'd have any objections to my trailing a cable over the pavement - there is a motor caravan parked a few doors down and it's a common enough site to see the (conventional) battery being charged before a holiday in exactly that way.

Does anyone have any experience of charging this way? So far I haven't found any definitive statement on the legality of doing so - my assumption is it's a grey area.

I need to get my Consumer Unit (fusebox) updated before charging and am tempted to simply get an external socket installed in a (lockable) weatherproof box so that I could plug the charging cable in and leave over night.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,777 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for that - I was definitely considering a cover and these are great suggestions.

The neighbour who charges their caravan doesn't use one and also has black cable, however they don't leave it plugged in over night (the cable enters their house via an open window).

Regarding contacting the council my concern is drawing attention to it - clearly if it's illegal I shouldn't do it but if it is grey and no neighbours mind then I'd rather not have the council investigate.

EV parking space would be ideal but probably not popular with the neighbours! My immediate next door neighbour already has a disabled bay and the aforementioned caravan is 2 doors down in the other direction so space is already at a premium.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,106 Posts
I would say that it is a very grey area but the general concensus of the EV community is that we must not charge EVs trailing cables across streets or from our houses to cars parked on the street.

Whilst you might be able to take certain precautions that might reduce the risk to the public I think that it would be very foolish indeed to do it. There is not only the general liability issues but also the image it portrays to the public at large. We have enough issues with bad press with issues they don't understand let alone the general one of trailing live cables across pavements to charge cars.

Clearly what you do is not my business but I would very, very strongly advise against it. Not only that, I would also request that you don't do it from the image point of view alone. If we start trailing live cables across pavements then that will just stoke the fire (pardon the pun!). As pioneers we simply must do it properly and be seen to do it properly if we want to win over the rest of the public.

Sorry to speak so forthrightly but it is very important in my opinion that we don't lay ourselves open to this kind of criticism if we want not to be seen as a bunch of self-centrered cowboys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
No need to apologise - I invited opinion.

Given you also have a full EV I presume you have private parking - I would hazard a guess that that is the case for many of the community.

Have you heard many experiences from those who don't?

What would your advice be? What would you consider 'proper' in my situation?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,106 Posts
Thanks for not taking my comments the wrong way. I really do not mean to be patronising or to tell anyone what to do. At the end of the day it is your car, your choice and I respect that even if I don't agree :)

I do not know anyone that is actually charging on public streets except that this has come up before on here but I cannot remember who it was that raised it.

There is a person I have heard of that only uses public charging but they have a Nissan Leaf and they use fast charging. It is more difficult in an Ampera as it takes hours not minutes.

Just a word of caution though... if you do join POLAR, or any other membership schemes, they all say "unlimited use" but they nearly always have a fair use policy that might prevent everyday use. They consider public charging for use away from home on trips and not as an alternative to daily charging at home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
I tried running a cable over head height from an upstairs bedroom, but i got cold feet after a couple of weeks. Now i only charge up at work or at public chargers.
image.jpg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,579 Posts
I see two issues here: what's fair and reasonable and the consequences if you decide to run a cable across the public footway.

First, if you take all precautions to minimise the risk of causing harm to the public then there shouldn't be any repercussions. That would include using a cable cover, charging at times when it's least likely to inconvenience others and maybe providing some sort of warning or lighting so that pedestrians are aware of the hazard.

The consequences include: an idiot harming your cable or your car, theft of your cable cover or cable or a contrived personal injury claim. Those risks would almost certainly put me off because they are difficult to insure against. I would look to charge at public points (at or near work being the best option).

I think the risk of a council taking action would be very low – most don't have the resources and this would be such a low level issue that it's unlikely to be investigated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,280 Posts
Just don't do what the Irish Fire brigade do....

Irish Fire Brigade.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
This is the legislation that I found being discussed by the trades people who sling cables, pipes etc., across pavements and roads.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/66/section/162

In essence if you sling a black cable across the pavement on a dark night you're nicked. And liable. And possibly uninsured.

However the proviso is 'all necessary means'. Now this is where 'Elf and Safety' would like to write you a risk assessment for a few hundred quid. But its largely common sense.

Moreover, there is a massive market in kit designed to prevent slips, trips and falls. Signage, anti-trip cable cover, adequate lighting if charging overnight, warning neighbours and so on. You could get really over the top without really trying.

However the basic situation is accepting there is a risk to Joe Public as well as you, check the public liability clause in your insurance and take steps to ensure even a pissed up drunk is going to stagger over your charging cable without too much trouble.

Lastly, I think the Ampera cable cannot be unplugged when charging but if it can and there's any risk of electrocution take steps accordingly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
There's another safety angle to this besides the question of nuisance and trip hazard.

There are different methods of earthing used for different electrical systems. Your house is probably TN-C-S / PME while street furniture is probably TT. In such circumstances if an earth fault develops on your house, the consequences could be far more serious with the vehicle parked in the street if anyone could touch both your car and an item of street furniture simultaneously. The probability of such a fault arising with the car on your property is similar, but the likelihood and severity of injury would be significantly lower.

TN-C-S / PME earths are generally only permitted for outdoor car charging at domestic properties (not other types of location), and never permitted for mains hook-ups to caravans or boats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
I bought a couple of these and tarted them up with reflective hi-vis sticker tape.

http://www.theramppeople.co.uk/ramp/20mm-high-cable-cover/921/

Another fundamental point is this: How busy is your particular patch of pavement? The spot I use this on is at the back end of a cul-de-sac where there is no use by 'passers by' other than the postie and only one set of neighbours who have been warned that it might be used from time to time.

If you are slinging things down on busy public pavements your level of risk will rise accordingly. If you live on a Benefits Street and Dee White is your neighbour, best make another plan...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,106 Posts
I can't help but feel that doing anything in this way is never going to be a good idea. I realise that you want to charge your car but what kind of message is it sending out to people that see this kind of adhoc arrangement? I apologise if this sounds insulting because I really don't mean it be but if people see wires from houses like that it smacks of DIY and if people think that they must do that kind of thing to own an EV then it cannot do the reputation of EVs any good at all.

I feel for everyone that wants an EV but doesn't have off-street parking and charging but my opinion is that if you are in that situation then an EV is not suitable for you unless you can and are prepared to use public charging all the time. Charging an EV in that way is to me totally unacceptable regardless of the safety and legality issues, of which there are plenty.

Once again, I am sorry if this comes over as insulting. The very last thing I want is to insult or upset anyone.

I would like to make a personal plea to any EV owner with only street parking, or anyone thinking of buying an EV that only has street parking... please don't charge from your house in this way. It has safety issues, legal issues, it has the potential to create issues with your insurances if there were problems but for me, by far the most important issue is that it gives out completely the wrong messages and impressions about what it means and what it takes to own an EV.

This is not how we should be doing this... imagine a street full of Outlanders all charging from their upper bedrooms? I cannot consider this a good idea for anyone. Sorry.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,463 Posts
Would I dangle a wire over the pavement if I was visiting someone and had no other option (i.e. I couldn't make it to a rapid charger), yes. Would I do it every night at home? No...

Do what you can to get some street furniture installed officially, that's the way it needs to go in the long term anyway!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
I see two issues here: what's fair and reasonable and the consequences if you decide to run a cable across the public footway.

First, if you take all precautions to minimise the risk of causing harm to the public then there shouldn't be any repercussions. That would include using a cable cover, charging at times when it's least likely to inconvenience others and maybe providing some sort of warning or lighting so that pedestrians are aware of the hazard.

The consequences include: an idiot harming your cable or your car, theft of your cable cover or cable or a contrived personal injury claim. Those risks would almost certainly put me off because they are difficult to insure against. I would look to charge at public points (at or near work being the best option).

I think the risk of a council taking action would be very low – most don't have the resources and this would be such a low level issue that it's unlikely to be investigated.
what about a garage drainage systems and put your cable inside ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
With due respect to Paul I can only say this. No EV manufacturer is advertising their cars as only being fit for those who have private drives or garages.

Secondly, EV drivers are far from the only people who might deploy cables across pavements. There are all manner of reasons to do this on a temporary basis ranging from window cleaners to local authorities themselves. If there's is an outcry over cables on pavements it's as likely to be for other reasons as it is for charging an EV.

To my mind this is a matter best addressed at industry level and with the recognition that as EV ownership grows, so might the number of people who do not have ideal domestic charging locations.

Every domestic charging situation is likely to differ. When there is minimal risk and where proper preparation and consideration of risk is taken into account, on street charging is possible in some circumstances. But naturally there will always be some risk.

I wonder whether ROSPA might look at this and provide guidelines for assessing risk?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,106 Posts
With due respect to Paul I can only say this. No EV manufacturer is advertising their cars as only being fit for those who have private drives or garages.
They don't have to. It is a combination of common sense and the law. I don't consider the fact that it is not mentioned by the manufacturers as at all relevant. Besides, they are not only suitable for those with private drives... there are many EV owners that only charge at public charging so for the manufacturers to say that would be misleading. However, if you don't have private, off-street charging then it is much more difficult and may be unsuitable depending on where you live, how you use your car, how you feel about having to find public charging all the time. It might suit you down to the ground!

Secondly, EV drivers are far from the only people who might deploy cables across pavements. There are all manner of reasons to do this on a temporary basis ranging from window cleaners to local authorities themselves. If there's is an outcry over cables on pavements it's as likely to be for other reasons as it is for charging an EV.
I have never heard of a window cleaner leaving a cable in that way overnight or for hours at a time unattended and monitored... totally different situations and false argument IMO.

As far as local authorities doing it they will do it with full knowledge and regard for the law, with relevant or necessary permissions/permits and with full regard for the safety of the public based on proper health and safety training. This would not be comparable at all.

Sorry @mfs1011 but IMO those arguments do not provide any precedence IMO.

I do agree though... it should be made clear that unless you have off-street, private parking with a power supply that
it will be difficult to own an EV right now. I am sure that many EV specialists do mention it... I would hope they all do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,160 Posts
Funny how a cable connected to a slow charger on street often in the bay next door or in a supermarket car park right next to the busy entrance is allowed, often for purely greenwash purposes, and deemed not to be a trip hazard by councils and businesses alike and who are the first to know their exposure to risk and liabilities.

Can someone please tell me what the actual difference is in risk?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
Funny how a cable connected to a slow charger on street often in the bay next door or in a supermarket car park right next to the busy entrance is allowed, often for purely greenwash purposes, and deemed not to be a trip hazard by councils and businesses alike and who are the first to know their exposure to risk and liabilities.

Can someone please tell me what the actual difference is in risk?
I've never seen the cable on a public charge cross a pavement. I've seen public charging equipment close to the kerb, but not requiring pedestrians to step over the cable because it ran the full width of the pavement.
 
1 - 20 of 76 Posts
Top