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Looking for some experienced advice here…I'm a city dweller living in a condo building that does not have any chargers installed.

I've had my Gen1 Volt for 5 years now and fortunately during most of that time I had access to a free Level 2 public charger to keep me juiced up. Sadly it was converted to a Blink charger at 0.39 cents kwh which means I end up paying about $4.50 for a full charge, which is a good deal more in my area than the gas equivalent. I still use it often as I prefer to pay a bit more to run clean and at full power but after about a year of this it's really starting to get under my skin.

I noticed recently that there is an outlet within 25 feet of my parking space in the garage so I was thinking about using an extension cord to charge as long as I can confirm that the outlet is rated high enough.

Two questions:

1. Have enough people used extension cords for charging that they are considered by the Volt community as relatively safe as long as you use a high-enough rated extension cord? I know GM advises against this but what’s the community real world experience? Any recommendations on cord models that people think are reliable and safe?

2. Are any of these cords built to withstand cars driving over them like construction-site grade or something? I really know nothing about this so apologies if that’s a dumb question. Between the outlet and my parking space is an exit lane where multiple cars would probably drive through per hour. I see on Amazon there are some metal ramps you can buy to cover the cord so that cars won’t drive directly over them so maybe that’s a workaround. I think installing these speed bumps in my parking lot would piss off a lot of the other residents so that’s probably out of the question.

I’m thinking #2 probably kills the idea because I’m guessing no cords are rated as 100% safe with vehicles driving over them constantly. Added to that I would need to get all of this approved by the building which is an entirely different challenge.

Any thoughts on extension cord safety for the Gen1 Volt would be much appreciated!
 

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Many people use extension cords when charging their Volt vehicles although GM specifically states in the Volt Owner's Manual that extension cords are not recommended.

When charging at 120V the Volt will draw a maximum of 12 amps (8 by default). For distances up to 50 feet a 14 gauge extension cord will work. A heavy duty cord can stand up to some abuse but this does not mean being repeatedly run over by a vehicle or stepped on. The weak link in any extension cord (assuming it is the correct gauge wire for the amperage and length) is where the extension cord plugs in to the receptacle and especially where the EVSE connects to the extension cord. This interconnection point can hold moisture, dirt and corrode over time. Also, the connection will weaken from repeated plugging and unplugging leading to increased resistance, overheating of the connection.

If you must charge at 120V, use an extension cord then:

A) If the receptacle is old or worn out (loose) replace it with a hospital or commercial grade receptacle (these cost a few $ more than an inexpensive contractor grade receptacle.)

B) Keep the extension cord as short as possible. Always uses a grounded extension cord (3-wire).

C) Never use smaller than 14 gauge extension cord when charging at 8 or 12 amps.

D) Keep the connection between the EVSE and the extension cord dry and off the ground. (there are box covers sold for this purpose.)

E) Minimize the number of times you plug and unplug as the connection will loosen over time causing overheating.
 

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For the past 4 years, I have been using a 50 foot cord that is 12 gauge and never had any issues. The only time I had any problems is when somebody took my cord for a few days then returned it. Since then I have cured 2 problems with one solution. I opened up the charge cord and hard wired the extension in to the charge cord itself. This reduces the second connection and no longer have to worry about the connection getting hot or water getting in to it. Also nobody can take the cord itself for their own use unless they need the evse. I do not have the cord out where other cars drive over it.
 

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I have a 40 ft 10 guage extension cord rated for outdoor usage. I've had one instance where my EVSE would work when directly plugged into an outlet but not via the extension cord - I took that as an indicator not to use that outlet. I never lay out my extension cord where it can be driven over and do everything I can to avoid it being stepped on. One of the best uses I've found for it is when the outlet is too far off the floor/ground and the EVSE box is hanging. I'll use this cord to prevent the EVSE box from hanging and putting excess wear on the EVSE's plug.
 

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Use extension cords with larger gauge wires and keep the length of the extension cord as short as possible.
 

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I use two outdoor rated, 50 foot, very heavy duty contractor 10 gauge 3 prong 5-15 end extensions to run 15+ amps 240V from a 14-50 to 5-15 adapter from our 14-50 outlets on the side of the house to each of our dual 120/240 voltage evses with 5-15 ends, although the connections to the evses and the evses themselves are protected inside a locked Rubbermaid mini shed. The charging ends of the evses going into the vehicles are outside, and no issues whatsoever after more than three years charging outside in our driveway of our two volts, although I would emphasize no one is driving over the cords.

https://www.amazon.com/Century-Contractor-Extension-Cord-extension/dp/B071LPYYVW

I did this unusual setup because those 10 gauge extension cords are way more than robust enough to handle the current (amps and volts) involved (nothing gets even mildly warm), and to use a 240V extension would be prohibitive; they’re excessively thick and extremely heavy such that they would not work with getting the cords into the top corners of the mini shed, and would be way more than is necessary for 240V, 15+ A.

You need to figure out an unobtrusive way to avoid cars driving over the extension or position the car in such a way to protect it.






Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I have run off an extension cord for years and not had any problem at 8 amp charging. In reality, two extension cords. In order to eliminate wear on the charger plug, I used a short, heavy duty extension cord, about a foot long, that always stayed plugged into the charger. In your case, you refer to a garage. Truthfully, you cannot leave the cord for cars to run over. An alternative might be to ziptie the cord overhead? Leave the extension cord outlet somewhere convenient to your parking spot, plug in your charger, you are good.
Use the best quality cords you can obtain.
 

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Same here, been using a heavy duty extension cord for a while, the connection where the extension cord and charger is weather-protected by a SockitBox. Agree that figuring out how to run the cord overhead would be a preferable solution. Good luck.
 

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I think it's also important no matter your configuration, especially your first few charges or when you change extension cords, is to regularly check all wires and connection points for heat stress. Check every 5 minutes, then 10, 15, 30, 60 as you get confident that your setup is handling the charge. After you're confident you can charge without heat stress, check at least once a week after it's been charging for at least an hour. All it takes is a small defect to start a fire.

2019 Volt LT, Pacific Blue, Power Convenience Package, LT Driver Confidence Package, Comfort Package, nicknamed "Voltemort".
 

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Use extension cords with larger gauge wires and keep the length of the extension cord as short as possible.
. . . . and even more important, use a cord with high quality connectors on both ends . . . . and replace those connectors every year or so if you're regularly plugging and unplugging them - Nothing lasts forever

If your cord is going to be regularly driven over, you'll need a flat cord - One where the 3 conductors lie side by side, rather than on top of each other like they do in a round cord. There are companies who make quality flat 3 conductor 12 gauge cords. Check Americords.com for flat extension cords

If it were me, since you will no doubt be plugging and unplugging it nearly every day and since several cars will be driving over it every day, I would buy 2 or 3 of them and use a new one about every 6 months or so . . . . nothing lasts forever and driving over a cord will surely hasten it's demise

Don
 

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I would never use an extension cord in an area where it is going to get run over. Even a single "drive over" could seriously damage it - leading to a potential electrical fire. Yes, it would be in the middle of your parking lot. But still...
 

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There's no hope for an extension cord being driven over. Imagine it hooking a motorcycle, or the rider's foot and throwing him off. Imagine it getting caught on a snowplow blade, or a dragging muffler. A trip hazard for pedestrians. So forth.
 

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I’ve been using a 25 footer outdoors for about a year and a half with no issues at the 12 amp setting on my 2017 volt.

My sister plugged her tesla model 3 into it and it melted the cord though. I still haven’t figured that out- my outdoor gfi outlet is rated at 15 amps. The cord is 20 amps.
 

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I’ve been using a 25 footer outdoors for about a year and a half with no issues at the 12 amp setting on my 2017 volt.

My sister plugged her tesla model 3 into it and it melted the cord though. I still haven’t figured that out- my outdoor gfi outlet is rated at 15 amps. The cord is 20 amps.
The circuit breaker at the service panel protects against excessive current draw on the circuit. A GFCI outlet will trip when even a small current is detected flowing between the hot terminal (120V) and the earth ground.

If the breaker at the panel is rated for 15 amps that is the maximum load just not for continuous use (maximum 3 hours.) If the Tesla Mobile Connector (EVSE) was fitted with the optional 5-20 plug the Tesla Connector this could have been plugged into a 20 amp rated extension cord if the extension cord had 5-20R on one end. This type of extension cord with a 5-20 plug should not have been able to be plugged into a 5-15 outlet at the GFCI.

A Tesla molded 5-20 modular plug pigtail inserted into the Tesla Mobile Connector would signal the Tesla Mobile Connector that the circuit was rated for 20 amps. In this case the Tesla would begin charging, drawing up to 16 amps.This should have tripped any 15 amp rated breaker but would not trip a 20 amp rated breaker. (If the Tesla Mobile Connector is fitted with the bundled Tesla molded 5-15 plug pigtail this will signal to the Tesla Mobile Connector that the circuit is rated for a maximum of 15 amps, the Tesla would charge at a maximum of 12 amps (the same maximum amperage as the Volt would charge on 120V 15 amp circuit.)

The fact that the extension cord overheated and melted indicates that either the extension cord was defective or not of a sufficient wire gauge thickness for 16 amps, let alone the advertised 20 amp rating. It might be a coincidence that the extension cord failed the first time the extension cord was used with the Tesla Mobile Connector. The extension cord might also have overheated and melted the next time you attempted to charge your Volt at the 12 amp setting.
 

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I purchase a 100’ 12/3 extension cord rated for 15amp @ 125V 1875 watts. I replaced both ends with heavy duty plugs. I then made a adapter for my dryer receptacle and plugged the extension cord into that. I was charging at 240V using factory charger and never had any issue with extension overheating. I lived in a 3rd floor apartment and cord was dropped over balcony. Apartment management had no issue with this setup as cord was routed so it was aerial until it reached my covered parking spot.
 

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There are three separate issues here.

First...will it work. Of course the answer is yes, provided as discussed by others, the extension cord is adequately rated. The electricity has traveled from the power plant, possibly hundreds of miles, all around your city, up your street, and through your walls. I promise the electrons don't care if they go a few more feet.

In your particular case, however, the fact that the cord would be driven over is a concern.

However, even though it will work fine, you are not supposed to do this. The NEC section 625 says that EVSE must have a GFCI, and if the GFCI is part of the inlet cord assembly (like most portable units) there can be no more 18 inches of unprotected wiring between the GFCI and the wall outlet. Alternatively, if the wall outlet provides GFCI protection, there can be no more than 15 feet of power inlet cord.

Separately, the NEC says the outlet cord (EVSE to EV) can be no longer than 25 feet

Now, I don't know whether or not the end user is required to follow these rules, probably just the manufacturer, but that's just my guess

So I would say....

Yes, it will work fine, but having cars run over the cord doesn't seem great

It may or may not be "allowable"

If the wall outlet already has GFCI, an inlet cord up to 15 feet seems to me allowable, plus up to 25 feet of outlet cord
If the wall outlet doesn't have GFCI, it seems to me you can use a 15 foot extension cord with built in GFCI (Amazon, Grainger, etc). And of course the electrons won't care if it's longer than 15 feet.

Another alternative is the one I used to use: get a J1772 extension cord. These cost a lot more than a regular extension cord but the have the advantage of being usable at, for example, ICEd in public charging stations
 

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Looking for some experienced advice here…I'm a city dweller living in a condo building that does not have any chargers installed.

I've had my Gen1 Volt for 5 years now and fortunately during most of that time I had access to a free Level 2 public charger to keep me juiced up. Sadly it was converted to a Blink charger at 0.39 cents kwh which means I end up paying about $4.50 for a full charge, which is a good deal more in my area than the gas equivalent. I still use it often as I prefer to pay a bit more to run clean and at full power but after about a year of this it's really starting to get under my skin.

I noticed recently that there is an outlet within 25 feet of my parking space in the garage so I was thinking about using an extension cord to charge as long as I can confirm that the outlet is rated high enough.

Two questions:

1. Have enough people used extension cords for charging that they are considered by the Volt community as relatively safe as long as you use a high-enough rated extension cord? I know GM advises against this but what’s the community real world experience? Any recommendations on cord models that people think are reliable and safe?

2. Are any of these cords built to withstand cars driving over them like construction-site grade or something? I really know nothing about this so apologies if that’s a dumb question. Between the outlet and my parking space is an exit lane where multiple cars would probably drive through per hour. I see on Amazon there are some metal ramps you can buy to cover the cord so that cars won’t drive directly over them so maybe that’s a workaround. I think installing these speed bumps in my parking lot would piss off a lot of the other residents so that’s probably out of the question.

I’m thinking #2 probably kills the idea because I’m guessing no cords are rated as 100% safe with vehicles driving over them constantly. Added to that I would need to get all of this approved by the building which is an entirely different challenge.

Any thoughts on extension cord safety for the Gen1 Volt would be much appreciated!
Until I just traded in my Volt for a Bolt, I used a heavy duty extension cord every day, one at home coming from inside my garage and under the garage door to the driveway, and one from an outlet inside the front door of my business. Luckily, not the type of business park with many retail visitors, so no one complained about my cord. I never had a problem over several years. Most of the time I had two chargers so I didn't have to keep plugging and unplugging them to put in my car. Saved on wear and tear.
 

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Do any insurance experts know if someone were to do this at a rental property and the cord melted and set the complex on fire, would insurance drop the claim? I know a 100’ drop cord is absolutely against the NEC and probably violates other codes, but I’ve literally seen this at apartment complexes where (mostly Gen 2 Volts) are charging and I hope they have good insurance…

P.S. I have a dedicated 20A circuit and would highly recommend one for everyone if possible. Keeps the heat down and never trips, unlike most shared garage circuits.
 
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