Saskatoon

Sask. inventors say magnetic extension cord ready to roll out in stores

A group of Saskatoon inventors are convinced their new product will solve one of the biggest frustrations of the winter season — driving away while your extension cord is plugged in.

VoltSafe invents power cord that uses magnets to attach cord to vehicle

VoltSafe co-founder William Topping says the company's magnetic extension cords should be on store shelves in December. (Courtney Markewich/Facebook)

A group of Saskatoon inventors are convinced their new product will solve one of the biggest frustrations of the winter season — driving away while your extension cord is plugged in.

After years of work, VoltSafe says it is ready to roll out its invention in stores.

The company has come up with a magnetic electrical plug that will snap off if it is pulled on, saving damage to the vehicle's cord and electrical socket attached to the home.

The idea for the business was born after co-founder Arash Janfada drove away from his home without unplugging, ripping a hole in his front bumper and somehow breaking his taillight as the cord whipped around the back of the vehicle..

"He kind of threw up his gloves and declares, like, 'There must be a better way,' almost, like, infomercial style," said co-founder William Topping.

After searching for a product that would fulfil his needs, Janfanda started emailing Engineering students at the University of Saskatchewan, asking if they would be interested in working on his project.

Now, after seven years of work, including getting approvals from safety certification boards, it's finally ready to go.

VoltSafe's magnetic extension cord is meant to cause less damage than a traditional cord if a motorist forgets to unplug their vehicle as they leave. (Courtney Markewich/CBC)

"It is great," said co-founder Trevor Burgess. "It's awesome, because it actually set the precedents for the future applications of our technology and all the different things we can use our technology for. Like, you know, homes, shore power for marine, hospitals, emergency vehicles."

The system works through a set of magnets that connects the cord to the vehicle. While the magnets are strong enough to attach the cord, they will break away if the vehicle is driven away.

The company is partnering with Federated Co-op to sell the cords across Western Canada. They'll also be available on their website and on amazon.com.

VoltSafe cords are more expensive than traditional extension cords, retailing for around $129.

"We had to protect our patents out of the gate, which means we can't just manufacture all of it in China," said Burgess. 

"Even though it's a little bit more expensive than we wanted, it's still actually cheaper than a lot of the other competitor-type products that don't even do the same effect."

The cords are expected to hit shelves in December.

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