The recent weeks found news reports of WattStation home chargers damaging the on-board charging system in some Nissan Leaf electric vehicles. In response, GE Energy, the makers of the WattStation, admitted that some owners of the Nissan Leaf had encountered issues with the system.
The company added that it was ‘actively working with Nissan to help determine the source of this issue.’ They were quick to add though, that the home charging system had not encountered any similar issues with other electric vehicle models.
The WattStation was designed by Yves Behar, with the purpose of being attractive and easy to use compared to previous chargers. The system was introduced back in 2010 and the first home charging systems were sold starting July 2011.
For its part, a Nissan dealership located in San Francisco had shot an email to its Leaf clientele with a warning to stop using the home charging system. Mr. Rafael Carballo, Hanless Hilltop Nissan EV sales leader, said that Nissan had ‘documented’ cases of GE WattStations damaging the charging systems of the Nissan Leaf. He sent out the email, saying “It is recommended that you don’t use GE charging stations at this time.” He added that the information was sent to him by a Nissan regional operations manager and thought it would be prudent to alert their customers. He did admit though, that he was not aware of WattStations damaging cars sold by their dealership.
Nissan North America, through its spokesperson Katherine Zachary said through an email, “There’s no official Nissan policy instructing customers not to use GE WattStations.”
For its part, GE Energy’s statement was made through Sean Gannon, spokesperson for the power giant. He said, “Since its launch in 2011, GE’s WattStation has performed as designed, thousands of units have been shipped and it has received positive reviews from EV drivers.” He also added that the charging issue had been raised by eleven Nissan Leaf owners.
Other reports came from informal sources, such as the owner’s forum MyNissanLeaf.com. Members have posted their experiences and problems with the charger, such as Benjenn from Edmond, OK, saying that back in June, he had used the system six or seven times. When he plugged it again, his Nissan Leaf just went off. When he had it checked, a local Nissan dealer said that the vehicle’s on-board charging unit had malfunctioned and he related other problems with GE chargers.
The same forum also reported some other members with flawless performance from their WattStations when plugged into their prized Nissan Leafs.