Finally, a Way to Safely Charge Your Electric Car — Even if The Charging Station is Blocked

There’s really nothing more frustrating to an electric car driver than arriving at a public charging station to find that it’s being blocked by another car, especially if that car is an internal combustion engine vehicle (a term known as ICEing by plug-in owners worldwide).

J-Long Extension Cable (Quick Charge Power)

J-Long Extension Cable (Quick Charge Power)

Aside from being a major inconvenience, finding the charging station blocked by an ICE vehicle (or worse still, an electric car that isn’t actually plugged in) can sometimes be the difference between getting home at the time you’d originally planned — or quickly having to readjust your plans. It can even result in some plug-in owners having to take the only other option available to them: calling the tow-truck.

But now a product has hit the market which will make blocked charging stations nothing more than a mild annoyance and let you charge your electric car regardless.

Enter Quick Charge Power, and a new product called the “J-Long” cable.

Essentially an extension cord, the J-Long cable makes it possible for plug-in car owners to charge their electric cars at a tethered charging station even if there’s someone else parked in front of the charging station. Some twenty-feet in length, the extension cord features a J1772 inlet on one end and a J1772 plug on the other. Plug the charge cable from the charging station into the inlet on the J-Long, plug the other end into you car, and carry on charging as normal.

As our friends over at GreenCarReports note, the J-Long cable isn’t the first charging cable extension lead to hit the marketplace, with plenty of home-made cables offering the same features available from places like e-Bay.

Inlet

But the J-Long cable is one of the first, commercially-designed charging cable extension leads we’ve seen, and is built to the same standards as the Type-2 to Type-1 cables most European plug-in car drivers carry around.

Why not do the same in the U.S.? Unlike Europe, where most lower-powered charging stations are untethered (meaning owners have to bring their own cable to the party) most U.S. charging stations are tethered (meaning the cable is attached to the charging station).

While that means you don’t have to carry a heavy cable around in your car unless you want to, it does make it harder to extend those charging cables when you encounter a charging station blocked by someone else.

The J-Long extension cable lets you plug in, even if the charging station is blocked.

The J-Long extension cable lets you plug in, even if the charging station is blocked.

The J-Long cable is available from Quick Charge Power for $299, and is the latest in a line of plug-in products designed to make electric car charging easier. In addition to offering a converted Tesla 40-amp portable charging connector (something it calls the “Jesla”) Quick Charge Power is readying itself to offer a CHAdeMO DC quick charge upgrade package for RAV4 EV owners wanting to benefit from quick charging on their Toyota RAV4 EVs.

Just like GreenCarReports, we haven’t tested the J-Long cable for ourselves and can’t vouch for its capabilities — and as with any other charging device, it’s up to the individual owner to assess all necessary risks before deciding to use one.

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  • Dennis Pascual

    I haven’t used the JLong product, but I am an early Jesla (before it was even named) customer and can vouch for QCPower’s other product.

  • Mark Benjamin David

    I don’t understand why we in the US have tethered plugs, this seems kind of stupid, really…but, then, we seem to have lost all common sense in this country. I’m guessing someone thought that we americans are either too stupid or lazy to bring our own cable? I just don’t get it. I don’t yet own an EV, but, don’t they all come with the necessary cables? Won’t you need one to plug in at home? Granted, maybe level 3 charge plugs are optional, when the car supports it, but, still…?

    • D. Harrower

      I’d much rather carry a 5-inch long adapter than a 20-foot 5AWG cord.nnPretty much every shared device from gas pumps to phone booths had its own cord. I don’t see a good reason to change this.

      • Mark Benjamin David

        But, for just about anything else electrical, you don’t have cords built into your house, you have outlets!nnnI see a near future problem (if it isn’t already) with wear & tear on those cords and vandalism. What happens when you get to a charging station and the cord got ran over or otherwise damaged? Surely there won’t be a “backup outlet” you can plug into, even if you happened to have a cord with you. You’re SOL, and maybe not enough range to get to another station, depending on what state you’re in.nnnI just seems so impractical, the people who own the charging stations will have to keep checking all stations to make sure the cords are still there, safe and working, and continually maintain them, when it would be a much better situation if we have our own cords and just plug in.nnnIDK, I’m US born, but don’t feel very american, we expect too much.

  • Mark Benjamin David

    “Quick Charge Power is readying itself to offer a CHAdeMO DC quick charge upgrade package for RAV4 EV owners wanting to benefit from quick charging on their Toyota RAV4 EVs.” I’ve been wondering if this was possible, hope this can be done in the US. … You know, the prototypes had Tesla charge ports (Tesla battery & drivetrain), if Toyota was really into BEVs, they would have paid Tesla to use the Tesla port and then they could go to the Tesla SuperCharging stations, but, no, let’s not think about what’s best for the consumer, let’s give them as little as possible, and muck it up as much as we can so we can delay BEV adoption.

    • Dennis Pascual

      Mark,nnnToyota’s restriction on the distribution and service of the RAV4EV 2nd Gen is a good indication of Toyota’s commitment to everything else but EVs. The QCP RAV4EV solution has been in process for a while now and is an amazing feat of reverse engineering for all parties involved.

  • Kenneth_Brown

    I like the idea of not having the cable tethered to the charging station where it will likely get vandalized/stolen. It’s really not a big deal to get one out of the boot. The US chargers may have cables attached because “that’s the way it’s always been done” and nobody has put any thought into why. nnnThe downside I see to the extension is that it does’t lock when in use.

    • Some EVSE can lock a plug, as do some PEVs u2026 but this is not part of the standard. nnPlugging-in or un-plugging could be design to send a notification, and/or could cause a video recorder to log time before and after the event. While technology exists very few locations have deployed.

    • D. Harrower

      Call me crazy but I don’t really want to haul around a massive cable in my car. I’ve been to dozens of “tethered” EVSEs and there’s only be one I’d consider to have been in substandard condition. None have been missing (due to vandalism).

  • Paul Churchley

    I hate to spoil the fun but using extensions in this way is not approved. In fact, it might breach UK/EU regulations on EV charging. I know everyone wants to be able to use adapters and extensions but if that is the case then you need to lobby your MPs and MEPs to change the regulations or to ensure that up and coming regulations are not passed prohibiting these techniques.