An investigation by Nissan and GE into reports the WattStation home charger damaged 11 Leaf electric vehicles found that the car’s software can allow damage to occur while using certain chargers in specific circumstances, such as during momentary dips in the power supply.
The investigation found there were problems with chargers from other manufacturers besides General Electric, GE spokesman Sean Gannon said. Gannon, who did not name the other manufacturers, said all GE can speak to is its own product and the fact that WattStation is not the cause.
Nissan said it’s working to address the issue as quickly as possible. In the meantime, the automaker has advised customers to avoid charging the Leaf during times when brownouts or momentary power dips are likely, such as during electrical storms or high power usage on the grid.
Reports emerged earlier this month that the on-board chargers of 11 Nissan Leafs were damaged while using GE’s WattStation. At the time, GE said its analysis didn’t indicate the WattStation was the cause of the reported failures.
Last October, GE and Nissan launched a two-year collaboration to develop smart charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. The two companies are working on ways to integrate EVs with homes and buildings, and to lessen their impact on the power grid once millions of those vehicles are on the road. Engineers working under the collaboration are already studying how to connect the electric Nissan Leaf to GE’s concept for a Smart Home.
Shortly before the GE collaboration announcement, Nissan unveiled a system that enables the Leaf’s lithium-ion batteries to supply electricity to households.
Since the WattStation was introduced last year at the Plug-In 2011 Conference and Exposition, Lowe’s and Amazon have started selling the unit. GE also finalized a sale and distribution agreement with EV manufacturer CODA Automotive, which will give buyers a chance to bundle the WattStation with their car purchase.