GE WattStation Vindicated; Nissan Accepts Blame For Leaf Charging Problems

On July 16 we reported GE WattStation chargers were suspected in Nissan Leaf charging issues, but since that time the fault has been traced to the car, not GE’s product, which the company has been fully assertive in pointing out.

The original story that GE Energy’s charger was being looked at as a possible cause for Leaf charging system failures began to circulate among the press after an initial piece by plugincars.com.

When we wrote our brief news 12 days ago, the first commenter was GE’s Sean Gannon, Global Media Relations and Public Affairs, who was sure to document points in an effort of public relations damage control.

“GE continues to actively work with Nissan to help determine the source of this issue,” Gannon wrote on July 16. “The GE WattStation has not encountered a similar issue with other brands of electric vehicles.”

The company’s proactive communications effort was probably a smart move, and as it turns out, at the end of this week the company was fully vindicated.

We could quote you GE’s press release which is linked below, but Gannon – who also contacted other publications via email with updated info which we have seen as well – left another follow-up note in our original story’s comment section.

“The cause of the Nissan Leaf charging problem has finally been determined,” he wrote. “It’s an OBC software issue on the Leaf – not an issue with WattStation. Here is a statement that we just posted to our Web site.”

The comment goes on as follows:

Nissan and GE have completed their investigation into the instances of Nissan LEAFs experiencing on-board charging (OBC) issues when using certain EV chargers. Nissan has traced the root cause of the issue to the LEAFs OBC software that can allow damage to occur to its OBC components while using certain chargers and in certain instances, such as when a brief under voltage or blackout condition occurs. Nissan is working to address this issue as quickly as possible, and in the meantime is advising customers to avoid charging during times when brownouts or momentary power dips may be likely, such as during electrical storms or high power usage on the grid.

As we were telling folks last week, even early on, GE’s analysis was indicating that the GE WattStation Wall Mount was not the cause of the on-board charging issue. Also, WattStation did not encounter a similar issue with other brands of electric vehicles.

And, just to reiterate, reports in the media that using a GE WattStation charger would void the warranty on the Nissan LEAF were incorrect, as were reports that Nissan had told its dealers to avoid WattStations. Nissan publicly stated that it is not their policy and they are addressing it with their dealers.

So there you have it. Duly noted, and you can refer also to GE’s press release linked above. If you have a Nissan Leaf and a GE WattStation, and haven’t already contacted your Nissan dealer for more information, that would be advisable.

This latest issue adds to an ongoing investigation by Nissan into more serious concerns related to suspected heat-induced Leaf battery degradation in Arizona, Texas, and possibly elsewhere.


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  • Gary

    I am one of those Leaf owners mentioned in the article above. I’ve been informed by Nissan USA Customer Service that I may proceed to reconnect my Leaf to my GE WattStation; and should the Leaf OBC again fail, the Leaf warranty will cover any costs to repair; with a statement for the record in this regard entered into my “case file” within Nissan’s propietary computer system, to which the local dealership has access.

  • Gary

    In anticipation of needing to return my GE WattStation to Lowes, a couple of weeks ago I contacted AeroVironment (AV) and purchased directly from them one of their Level II Charging Stations for approx $1100.00. Now that my GE WattStation has been vindicated of not causing the previous failure of my Leaf on board charging (OBC) component, I’m sending the AV EVSE back for a refund; only to find out now that AV will charge me a 20% restocking fee for returning the unopened package to them. I’ve asked to have the restocking fee waived, but have heard nothing from them about that yet.

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