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Discussion Starter #1
I finally got my Volt home yesterday.... Which is wonderful, except the only outlet I have remotely close to my driveway is in the very back of my garage. My garage also happens to serve as a woodshop and gym, so there's no room for a car in there and the charger the car came with doesn't quite reach outside far enough to charge my car.

IF I were to upgrade the GFCI plug in my garage to industrial/hospital grade and get a 10' largest-gauge-possible extension cord, would this be sufficient to safely charge on a daily basis?
 

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I think in this case I'd hire an electrician to put a second outlet in at the front of the garage. When not in use for charging you could then use this outlet for external power. For occasional use when the outlet is too far away I have a 40 ft. 12 gauge all weather extension cord.
 

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I finally got my Volt home yesterday.... Which is wonderful, except the only outlet I have remotely close to my driveway is in the very back of my garage. My garage also happens to serve as a woodshop and gym, so there's no room for a car in there and the charger the car came with doesn't quite reach outside far enough to charge my car.

IF I were to upgrade the GFCI plug in my garage to industrial/hospital grade and get a 10' largest-gauge-possible extension cord, would this be sufficient to safely charge on a daily basis?
If you are going to do any electrical work you should have a new 240V/50A line run and install a Level 2 EVSE. It's not expensive, I spent about $1000, $600 for a ClipperCreek HCS40 and $375 to have then line run and the CC installed. A permanently installed EVSE is vastly more convenient than using the Level 1 that came with the car because you don't have to stow it away when you aren't using it, you just park your car and reach for the cable and plug it in. The Level 2 will also charge the car in 4.5 hours, it takes much much longer to charge it with the Level 1 especially if you charge at 8A which you should if you don't have a dedicated line. Level 2 charging is also more effecient than Level 1 charging. Also most importantly, running a new line is the safest solution and since most of the cost is the electrician's time you should run a 240V/50A not a 120V/20A. The new line will be there for the next 50 years or more so do it right. A good EVSE should last for many years so don't cheap out, get a quality EVSE that you can use for the Volt you have now and for the BEV that you will buy next. As I said earlier I bought the ClipperCreek HCS40 which was recommended to me on this forum when I bought my Volt two years ago. The CCs are made in America and they are built like tanks (OK plastic tanks).
 

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IF I were to upgrade the GFCI plug in my garage to industrial/hospital grade and get a 10' largest-gauge-possible extension cord, would this be sufficient to safely charge on a daily basis?
I've done it. I won't comment on "safety" since it just starts an argument (like... EVERY time!). However....

I think in this case I'd hire an electrician to put a second outlet in at the front of the garage. When not in use for charging you could then use this outlet for external power. For occasional use when the outlet is too far away I have a 40 ft. 12 gauge all weather extension cord.
I'd go a step further and go for a 240V receptacle (I did in fact!). Much depends on the details of doing this and what your budget is.

The best advice you'll get here though is none, other than to consult a licensed electrician in your area. No one on the internet can see what the particulars of your house are, and a rare few are actually more than armchair electricians.
 

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There are too many variables to give you a flat yes or no answer. If you upgrade the outlet to a good NEMA 5-15P or 5-20P, is the house wiring big enough (probably for the 5-15P, but how long is the wire? anything else on the circuit? etc)? Make sure to use the screws on the outlet, the push -in connection are problematic (can't handle higher amps).

If the outlet is good, how large is the largest gauge extension cord you can get? Worst case scenario, get some 12/2 (*ONLY IF EXISTING OUTLET IS 12/2* NEMA 5-20P - good for 20 amps) or 14/2 (NEMA 5-15P - good for 15 amps) BX, romex, or portable power cord and make your own extension/outlet.

Edit: I agree with the above, go the 240V route... you'll thank yourself. You're looking at almost the same amount of work. I'll also say, as an internet-armchair-electrician, the advice above has worked for me. I've wired 2 houses and 3 barns/workshops: all 5 passed code inspection, are still standing, with no gremlins. Don't take on any job you're not 100% comfortable with.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I also agree to adding a new 240 VAC circuit for a Level 2 EVSE. This is for the long term ownership, safety, and economy when charging and driving your present Volt. Then consider that in a few years you may be upgrading to a better EV, such as the Chevy Bolt EV or others, and that will use the same Level 2 EVSE.

Invest a bit now and protect your future.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
If the outlet is good, how large is the largest gauge extension cord you can get? Worst case scenario, get some 12/2 (*ONLY IF EXISTING OUTLET IS 12/2* NEMA 5-20P - good for 20 amps) or 14/2 (NEMA 5-15P - good for 15 amps) BX, romex, or portable power cord and make your own extension/outlet.
I recommend 12/3 instead of 12/2. The third wire is for safety grounding. Even if the Level 1 EVSE doesn't use it, you may need it for other appliances connected to this extension.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
I too would install a new outlet, preferably a 240 volt one, closer to the car . . . . if you can afford to do that. 'Upgrading' it from a 20 amp outlet (which uses 12/3 wire) to a 50 amp outlet (which uses 6 gauge wire . . . . don't faint when you see the cost for 6/3 wire!!) will probably double that cost and it does nothing for you unless you one day happen to buy a Tesla

If the cost of the above is more than you can handle right now, a 25' 12/3 extension cord is perfectly safe - The advice to replace the receptacle in the wall with a good hospital grade 5-15 outlet is spot on - Most problems with higher draw 120 volt circuits are caused by poor connections at the outlet, usually the result of a cheap outlet

Don
 

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I will say that many people, myself included, have used extension cords with their electric cars over the years -- Leafs, Volts, Fits. I don't think we've heard of a problem. On the other hand, we've seen a lot of problems with sub standard outlets. In all cases you need to pay attention.
 

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There are too many variables to give you a flat yes or no answer. If you upgrade the outlet to a good NEMA 5-15P or 5-20P
Semantic nitpicking, but the "P" stands for Plug. When you're talking about the outlet, you need to say 5-15R or 5-20R, for Receptacle
 

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I too would install a new outlet, preferably a 240 volt one, closer to the car . . . . if you can afford to do that. 'Upgrading' it from a 20 amp outlet (which uses 12/3 wire) to a 50 amp outlet (which uses 6 gauge wire . . . . don't faint when you see the cost for 6/3 wire!!)
Eh. It's $2 per foot instead of $0.50 per foot. So like $75 more in a typical install. Almost buried in the labor costs.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
Re; Armchair electricians. It's not rocket science (or brain surgery). Get your self a electrical code book ($10 or whatever) for your area. Consult with your electrical inspector for questions that the code book doesn't cover (used to have a local office here but now they don't so that's tougher). Get your electrical permit. Get the inspection approved by the inspectors and certificate. House fire insurance is still valid. Much money saved. You don't have to put the electrician's daughter through college.
 

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I recommend 12/3 instead of 12/2. The third wire is for safety grounding. Even if the Level 1 EVSE doesn't use it, you may need it for other appliances connected to this extension.
12/2 has a hot, a neutral, and dedicated ground; 12/3 has 2 hots, a neutral, and a ground.

Semantic nitpicking, but the "P" stands for Plug. When you're talking about the outlet, you need to say 5-15R or 5-20R, for Receptacle
Yeah, I was talking about building your own extension cord... so one P and one R...
 

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I will say that many people, myself included, have used extension cords with their electric cars over the years -- Leafs, Volts, Fits. I don't think we've heard of a problem. On the other hand, we've seen a lot of problems with sub standard outlets. In all cases you need to pay attention.
Agree on this. I upgraded to 240 with exterior outlets on the house but when using 120 and even now on 240 I use heavy duty exterior 10 gauge extensions to handle the distance needed from the outlet to the driveway. No problems at all with the extensions for the last 2 years, although I made sure all connections are weather protected with a connection cover.


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If you are going to do any electrical work you should have a new 240V/50A line run and install a Level 2 EVSE. It's not expensive, I spent about $1000, $600 for a ClipperCreek HCS40 and $375 to have then line run and the CC installed. A permanently installed EVSE is vastly more convenient than using the Level 1 that came with the car because you don't have to stow it away when you aren't using it, you just park your car and reach for the cable and plug it in. The Level 2 will also charge the car in 4.5 hours, it takes much much longer to charge it with the Level 1 especially if you charge at 8A which you should if you don't have a dedicated line. Level 2 charging is also more effecient than Level 1 charging. Also most importantly, running a new line is the safest solution and since most of the cost is the electrician's time you should run a 240V/50A not a 120V/20A. The new line will be there for the next 50 years or more so do it right. A good EVSE should last for many years so don't cheap out, get a quality EVSE that you can use for the Volt you have now and for the BEV that you will buy next. As I said earlier I bought the ClipperCreek HCS40 which was recommended to me on this forum when I bought my Volt two years ago. The CCs are made in America and they are built like tanks (OK plastic tanks).
+1, after melting an outlet in my garage charging at 12 amps I had a 240V/30amp line run and had a Clipper Creek LCS-25 installed. My total coast came to about $1000. A union contractor charged me $518 to run 85' of 10/3, update the breakers in my panel and physically install my EVSE. That was 4 years ago.

When a buddy came by to show off his Tesla he used the J1772 adapter that comes with every Tesla and he got 17MPH out of my set up which convinced me that's more then enough for even a Tesla.
 

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All good advice here. But the answer you're looking for is that Chevy says "no extension cords". So a properly sized extension cord is probably ok for a limited period of time only, and not a permanent solution. You should also test your connections for excessive heat if you are using an extension cord.
 

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All good advice here. But the answer you're looking for is that Chevy says "no extension cords". So a properly sized extension cord is probably ok for a limited period of time only, and not a permanent solution. You should also test your connections for excessive heat if you are using an extension cord.
The key is a proper gauge, outlet and stable connections. Testing the outlet, extension and connections for heat during sustained charging is a good idea.


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All good advice here. But the answer you're looking for is that Chevy says "no extension cords". So a properly sized extension cord is probably ok for a limited period of time only, and not a permanent solution. You should also test your connections for excessive heat if you are using an extension cord.
Well... is it easier for them to say "no extension cords" or explain the situation and still have somebody use one of these? It's a liability game... not a question of can it work safely and reliably.
 

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I finally got my Volt home yesterday.... Which is wonderful, except the only outlet I have remotely close to my driveway is in the very back of my garage. My garage also happens to serve as a woodshop and gym, so there's no room for a car in there and the charger the car came with doesn't quite reach outside far enough to charge my car.

IF I were to upgrade the GFCI plug in my garage to industrial/hospital grade and get a 10' largest-gauge-possible extension cord, would this be sufficient to safely charge on a daily basis?
As do some others, I believe the reason that Chevy says no extension cords is that they're worried that somebody might string together 2 or 3 of the kind of cords someone might use for Christmas tree lights and then plug the EVSE into that.

Use the shortest, heaviest gauge extension that will work, make sure the connection is protected from the weather, and that the outlet itself is robust and wired securely, then most likely everything will be good. ;)

In your shoes that's what I'd do in the short term. In the long term, I'd want something more robust and I'd install or have installed a level 2 charger.
 

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You should also test your connections for excessive heat if you are using an extension cord.
This is worth stressing, even without an extension cord at 120V. There are a number of examples to which I'll not post photos this time.

120V charging IMO is barely adequate but is used here because everyone has the basics. Charging at 12 amps is a real crap shoot since you're running at continuous max current. 8 amps is safer in the long run but people lose their patience with it.

Going to 240V also allowed me to put in some headroom on continuous current so my stuff stays cool. I probably should, but I don't monitor it for excessive heat anymore.

Re; Armchair electricians. It's not rocket science (or brain surgery). Get your self a electrical code book ($10 or whatever) for your area. Consult with your electrical inspector for questions that the code book doesn't cover (used to have a local office here but now they don't so that's tougher). Get your electrical permit. Get the inspection approved by the inspectors and certificate. House fire insurance is still valid. Much money saved. You don't have to put the electrician's daughter through college.
Too often the certified electrician is underappreciated. Becoming a certified electrician is a little more involved than just reading a code book.

House fire insurance is still valid indeed (in most cases). However, having a house fire isn't made into a better experience by it.
 
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