A shocking survey has found that 74 per cent of electric car owners who charge their vehicles at home are risking electrocution and fires.
Most dangerous are the practices of ‘daisy-chaining’ – plugging sockets on top of each other to cover longer distance – experts say.
The practice is widespread despite nine out of of ten owners saying they knew that home extension leads should not be used outside.
Respondents blamed the lack of public charging ports for the dangerous practices as growth of the cars in the UK outstrips that of new charging points.
Electrical Safety First (ESF), a consumer protection charity that commissioned the study, is urging the government to build more public charging points.
This comes as the number of plug-in vehicles in the UK grows at six times the rate of public charging ports over the last five years.
In a survey of 1,500 electric vehicle owners, that included both electric and hybrid cars, 74 per cent said they had charged their cars at home using multiple socket extensions to reach their vehicle.
Of those who admitted to doing so, the majority – 75 per cent – admitted to ‘daisy chaining’.
This common practice is particularly dangerous for charging vehicles.
Half of electric car users said they left cables running to their vehicle when it’s been raining outside.
Writing on its website, ESF said: ‘Daisy-chaining is advised against in all circumstances due to the heightened risk of electric shock and even fire that it brings about.’
Vehicle owners are being urged to use government grants to buy special charging extensions for electric cars.
These are deemed much safer than plugging in directly from home mains.
ESF’s website also states: ‘Never use a domestic multi socket extension lead when charging your electric vehicle.
‘If you do need to use an extension lead only ever use one that is suitable for outdoor use such as a reel cable.’
A separate reported that the number of electric car charging points in the UK has in fact just overtaken the number of petrol stations for the first time – with more than 1,000 in Scotland.
There are now 8,590 places across the country where drivers can charge an electric vehicle, against 8,400 petrol stations.
Electric cars constitute only one per cent of all road vehicles but there are efforts to create infrastructure designed to make owning an electric car less arduous.
A lack of charging points, long-wait times and small ranges have limited the spread of electric cars despite their rapid growth.
The Government has set a goal for all cars to be effectively zero emission by 2040.
However, MPs on the climate change committee are calling for the date of the ban on the sale of polluting cars to be brought forward a decade from its current target of 2040.
It says the UK must get stop selling traditional diesel and petrol cars by 2030 because electric vehicles will match them by then.
However, MPs warn that restrictions in obtaining the required natural resources for the batteries, mainly the element cobalt, means the 2030 may be missed.
It is therefore expected to recommend 2035 as the latest possible date.
Issues with rolling out battery-powered cars, according to previous recommendations from the committee, focus on a lack of charging points.
Mary Creagh, chair of the environment audit committee, told the BBC: ‘Ministers are useless.
‘They seem to think the market will miraculous provide charging point and the government has no job to regulate charging points.’
Current targets in England mean internal combustion engines will still be n the road in 2050, producing large amounts of greenhouse gases.