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How to Unplug an Electric Car Charger Cable from an EV

February 27, 2024

How to Safely Unplug an Electric Vehicle Charger Cable

Charging an electric vehicle (EV) is a straightforward process, but unplugging the charger cable requires following some important steps. Improperly removing an EV charging cable can damage the cable, the charger, and even the vehicle itself. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to safely unplug an electric car charger cable from an EV.

Stop the Charging Session

The first step is to stop the charging session, if it is still ongoing. There are a few ways to do this depending on the type of EV charger:

  • Charging station with screen/buttons: Press the ‘Stop’ button on the charging station to immediately halt charging.
  • Charging station with RFID card: Tap the RFID card to the reader to stop the session.
  • Charging station app: Open the app for the charger and stop the session remotely.
  • In-car controls: Press the charging button or use the touchscreen in the EV to cease charging.

Stopping the charging session ensures power is cut off from the cable before unplugging it. Forcing an EV cable out while charging is unsafe and can damage the equipment.

Release the Locking Mechanism

Most EV charger cables have a locking mechanism that clicks into place when inserted into the vehicle’s charging port. This prevents the cable from being accidentally disconnected during charging.

There is typically a release button on the charger handle that disengages the lock when pressed. Press and hold this button until you hear or feel the lock disengage before attempting to remove the plug.

electric car charging stations

Note that some older Level 1 chargers may not have a locking mechanism. If there is no release button, you can proceed directly to gently removing the cable.

Gently Remove the Charging Cable

With the lock disengaged, you can now remove the charging plug from the port on the vehicle. Grip the plug by the handle and carefully pull it straight out. Do not yank or pull hard as this could damage the port or cable. The plug should slide out with moderate, steady force.

If you encounter resistance, do not force the plug out. Double check that the locking mechanism is fully disengaged and try again. Forcing the plug can break internal components.

Properly Store the Cable

After removing the EV cable, take care to store it properly to avoid damage between charging sessions. Follow the storage recommendations for your specific charger:

  • Portable chargers: Wind the cable loosely around the charger body and secure the plug end in the holder.
  • Wall/pole mounted: Neatly wrap the cable around the mount brackets and holster the connector head.
  • Socketed chargers: Remove the cable fully from the wall socket and EV, then store in a clean, dry area like a garage.

Proper cable management protects the charger from accidental damage while not in use.

Troubleshooting a Stuck Charger

In some cases, an EV plug can become stuck and resist removal from the port. This is usually caused by a fault in the latching mechanism. Try the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Ensure the vehicle is unlocked. Locking mechanisms may not release if the car is locked.
  • Press the plug deeper into the port, then try to remove it. This may realign the internal latches.
  • Check for a manual release tab, often located inside the charge port or trunk.
  • Inspect the port and plug for any obstructions or damage preventing release.
  • Contact the vehicle or charger manufacturer if the cable remains stuck. Do not try to forcibly yank out the cable.

When to Call an Electrician

If you continue having issues getting an EV charger unplugged after trying the troubleshooting steps, it’s best to call a professional electrician. Forcing the cable can severely damage the charging equipment and the vehicle, costing thousands in repairs. An expert can properly diagnose the problem and safely remove the stuck plug.

Signs that you may need electrician help include:

  • Visible scorch marks or melted plastic on the plug or port.
  • A burning smell coming from the EV charge port.
  • The cable feels abnormally hot to the touch.
  • You cannot find a manual release mechanism.
  • Significant resistance when trying to extract the plug.

These could indicate an electrical or mechanical failure that makes the system unsafe to handle yourself. Professionals have the right tools and expertise to fix the issue without risk of injury or further damage.

Safety Tips for EV Charger Removal

Follow these additional safety precautions when unplugging an electric vehicle charger:

  • Always stop the charging session before removing the cable.
  • Use insulated gloves and tools if any part of the system feels hot.
  • Avoid pulling on the cable itself; only grip the plug handle.
  • Inspect the plug and port contacts for corrosion or debris before reconnecting.
  • Never try to remove a sparking or smoking EV cable yourself.
  • Ensure cables are fully unwound and managed to avoid tripping hazards.
  • Keep charging equipment out of reach of children and pets when in use.

Following basic electrical safety and the manufacturer’s usage guidelines will prevent almost all issues with removing EV charger plugs. Pay attention, take your time, and call for help when needed.


Removing an electric vehicle charging cable is easy when you know the proper steps. Begin by stopping the charging session, then disengaging any safety locking mechanisms. Carefully pull the plug straight out by the handle without yanking. Properly store the cable between uses and keep it free of damage. Troubleshoot stuck plugs cautiously or call an electrician if force is needed for removal. Follow basic safety precautions, and unplugging your EV charger will be hassle-free. Taking the time to build confidence in smoothly removing charging cables makes owning and operating an electric vehicle that much more enjoyable.

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