Leafs Encounter Charging Problems; GE’s WattStation Blamed
There have been reports that the WattStation is damaging the on-board chargers of some Nissan Leafs. The problem has so far affected 11 Leafs, a New York Times blog reports.
One San Francisco-area dealership emailed customers last week warning them that using the WattStation may make it impossible to recharge the car, reports PlugIn cars. The email, sent by Hanlee Hilltop Nissan of San Pablo, Calif., said that Nissan had documented multiple occurrences of Leafs losing their ability to charge after using the WattStation.
GE says its current analysis does not point to the WattStation as the cause of the reported failures. Nissan North America told the Times that it has no official policy instructing customers not to use the charger.
According to AutoblogGreen, the problem is probably related to a diode on the car’s on-board recharging system. The problem should not affect other models of electric vehicle, AutoblogGreen reports.
The WattStation was unveiled in 2011 at the Plug-In 2011 Conference and Exposition. The charging unit was initially available at just five Lowes home improvement stores in California before being made available at 60 stores across the US and on Lowes.com. In November 2011, GE finalized a sale and distribution agreement with EV manufacturer CODA Automotive, which gives buyers a chance to bundle the WattStation with their car purchase. The following month Amazon.com announced it had started selling the unit.
In October 2011, GE and Nissan launched a two-year collaboration to develop smart charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
The effort is focusing on integration of electric vehicles with homes and buildings, and on the future impact on the electric grid once millions of EVs are on the road, the companies said.
Several projects under the collaboration are already underway. In one, engineers are studying how to connect the electric Nissan Leaf to the GE’s concept for a Smart Home. Nissan recently unveiled a system which enables the Leaf’s lithium-ion batteries to supply electricity to households.
The Leaf was launched in December 2010 in select US markets. In March 2012, Nissan announced that the 2012 Leaf would be available in all 50 states.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that GE has admitted that the WattStation is causing damage to the Leaf charging system. GE has made no such statement. The company says that its current analysis does not indicate that the WattStation is the cause of the reported failures. We regret the error.
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