A shortage of public charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK is making drivers use extensions from domestic mains supplies to charge their cars, putting their safety at serious risk.

A survey conducted by the UK-based consumer protection charity organisation Electrical Safety First of 1,500 EVs owners has found that 74% of EV users charged their cars dangerously due to the absence of public charging stations.

Almost 75% of those who charge using a domestic extension lead created a ‘daisy-chaining’ extension to reach their vehicle.

Daisy-chaining is a method that involves using various extension leads plugged into one another to cover a longer distance. Users are advised to not use this method in any circumstances due to the heightened risk of electric shock or even a fire.

More than half of EV users who used an extension to charge their car admitted that they left cables running to their vehicle when it’s been raining.

The study further revealed that the number of charging point locations ranges from 147 per 100km² in London (and 2.6 per 10,000 residents) to 1.55 per 100km² (1.03 per 10,000 residents) in Wales.

The lack of charging stations not only causes inconvenience to EV users who live in areas with fewer charging points but also creates difficulties for those driving to these locations.

The charity said that the rate of licensed plug-in vehicles is dramatically out-pacing the number of charging points.

Analysis of data from the Department for Transport and Zap-Map revealed that over the last five years the growth rate of licensed plug-in vehicles is nearly six times more than public charging point locations in the UK.

Electrical Safety First has urged the UK Government to act quickly and provide adequate public charging points.

Electrical Safety First technical director Martyn Allen said: “Our research shows a direct link between a lack of electric vehicle infrastructure and vehicle owners charging dangerously.

“Our research shows a direct link between a lack of electric vehicle infrastructure and vehicle owners charging dangerously.”

“A modern Britain also needs to be a safe one and Electrical Safety First is urging the government and local authorities to ensure that the infrastructure is in place to support the rapid increase in numbers of electric vehicles on our roads.

“With regards to consumers, we warn EV users against giving in to temptation to use standard domestic extension leads to charge their vehicles outside, and never to ‘daisy-chain’ them together.

“We recommend taking advantage of the government’s grant scheme, which will contribute towards the cost of a specially designed home charging point.”