Having to buy a used EV charging cable is not something many people think about. When buying a new EV you will be supplied with a suitable charging cable as part of the purchase.
However, many people are interested in buying used EVs that will consequently be accompanied by their second-hand charging cables. This makes it wise to know what to be on the lookout for.
There is also a small market for used EV charging cables. Many manufacturers have done a good job by introducing technology that locks these cables in place when charging. This drastically reduces the risk of cable theft, especially when charging away from home and newer model EVs. But does not eliminate the risk should someone break into your car when not charging, or into your garage.
Not to mention some models, like the Nissan Leaf, are considered to have delicate locking mechanisms that can easily be broken. Suffering such a loss can be devastating, with most new cables being replaced at a cost well over £1,000.
It is also possible to damage your charging cable through such acts as parking over it to deter theft. This is a simple and effective trick. However, with enough repetition, this may still damage the cord.
Luckily it is not possible to drive off while your EV is charging. These vehicles have warning systems and many models do not even start as long as they detect the connector is plugged in.
Let’s first look at why it makes sense to buy a used charging cable
As mentioned, mishaps can happen. Your cable may be stolen, or damaged from being driven over. Because of how expensive these gadgets are, it can make sense to opt for something second-hand, if of reasonable quality. The used market is typically more affordably priced than having to buy a new one.
If not replacing a stolen or damaged charging cable, it is helpful to have a second one. More so when you often have to charge away from home. Rather than having to unplug your default cable from the outlet or charging station at home, you can simply unplug from just the car side. Having an extra cable in the car means less work having to keep reconnecting when you get home.
Most EVs come with slow charging cables that can be connected to standard 13A sockets. Finding a replacement charging cable that supports faster charging can be a big help in reducing charge time. Depending on the distance between the vehicle and the charging port, a replacement cable may also help make charging safer if of more comfortably longer length.
Used EV charging cables can be tough to find. Because different car models make use of different connectors, it may be even tougher to find the right match. More so since these cables are made using copper wiring. This is a highly sought after material that metal scrap yard recyclers will often quickly scoop up.
Even where cables may come up for sale online, the demand can be quite high, sometimes leading to a bidding situation. This can drive up the price, leading an amount beyond what was budgeted.
The used market can be a hit or miss. The product may look good on paper but may end up failing. Without a warranty in place, it could easily mean losing good money.
This is why you need to be careful about your choice of the seller and know what to look for when examining the product before payment.
What to Look For
To begin with, you will need to consider the same factors as when buying a new EV charging cable. The connector type has to match your car model and charging station. You will need to work out if you need a unit that can support slow, fast or rapid charging. We recommend Type 2 connectors that are the standard found in most non-tethered home chargers and public charge points.
Also, try to find out what make and model of car it has been used to charge. Some of the early charging units, such as those for Chevrolet Volts, would fail. Other brands, including Ford and BMW, have previously recalled charging cables over design issues. A little online research should tell you if there is anything to be concerned about.
Check on the length of the cable. Consider the position of your charging unit or outlet and where you normally park. Ensure the length of the cable can comfortably cover this distance. This may not matter as much if you are buying this as a spare charging cable to use while on the road.
Be sure to factor in your car’s maximum AC charge rate. The charging cable you buy should match it or be higher rated. This will ensure that if you upgrade your vehicle later, you should still be able to use this cable.
If buying a used EV, be sure to check on what original charging cable came with the particular make and model. You can easily find this information available online. The previous owner may want to keep the cable for use with their next car.
Many EV owners appreciate the warranty that comes with their car. This is usually pegged on either mileage or specified period, whichever is arrived at first.
When it comes to parts that come with the vehicle, you will need to look at the manufacturer’s warranty. Some brands do make warranties transferable in case of onward sale. Others do not. For those that do transfer the warranty, it is just for the balance remaining on the warranty period. And this may or may not apply to all parts. Do check the fine print.
If the charger was a separate purchase, do verify with the dealer or manufacturer to learn if the warranty still stands.
Checking if a used EV charging cable is in good working order is quite simple. Look over the physical condition of the cable. Ensure there is no damage to the cord or connector ends that would compromise its waterproofing. Plugin the cable to see how it performs. You should be able to tell by your dashboard or charging app that it is performing optimally.
It is also advisable to get an insulation test done on the cable. Insulation resistance helps gauge the reliability and safety of electrical equipment. This test can detect unseen damage that may put the user at risk of suffering a shock when using a damaged cable. You can have this done at a garage that services EVs, by your smart home charging station installer, or by buying your own testing kit.