% !Always check the public EVSE plug's metal-prongs before inserting in your
EV! %

Can a public charging station damage your electric car? The answer you
didn’t want to hear 
October 8, 2017  Steve Scauzillo

I never knew that a charging station can damage your car. Hard to believe.
But it’s true.

A few weekends ago I was driving my Kia Soul EV (actually, it’s my wife’s
car) in Pasadena. We were going to get a quick bite at Settebello on
Colorado Boulevard in the Playhouse District.

I pulled into the public parking lot off Union Street east of El Molino
Avenue and thought I got lucky. One of the charging stations was open, the
Clipper Creek, 240-volt machine. I’ve used this charging station for years
so I was very familiar with it.

This time, I tried charging the Kia and the plug arm would not click into
the car’s charging port. I tried it again. Nothing

Just then, a woman in a metallic blue BMW i3 (also all electric) drove up
and told me “Oh, I just tried that. It doesn’t work,” she said. But she
wasn’t sure what went wrong. She wondered if her car was malfunctioning.

Well, I had plenty of charge to get home so I didn’t worry about it. Until I
went to plug in in my garage and nothing. Then the dreaded error message
popped up on the dashboard screen. Something about “check your charging

I took it to CarPros Kia in Glendale the next morning They have an electric
car mechanic they hired from Seattle. He figured it out in five minutes.

One of the metal prongs in the car’s charging port was bent by the broken
charging arm of the public charging station I used the night before. The arm
had been chipped, the charging end’s metal prongs were fused over, forming a
kind of battering ram as it was inserted into my car.

“There are probably a lot of other people whose car was damaged,” my
mechanic told me. “I’ve seen this before.”

I believe the same thing happened to the woman in the electric BMW. But
since I didn’t get her number I could not reach her to tell her. Not many
people know about this danger lurking in public charging stations. I had
never heard of a charging station that can actually damage your car’s
charging system.

It took five days but my car was fixed. The mechanic had ordered a part from
South Korea and installed it, recharged my car and everything works great
again. What would’ve been a $500 repair didn’t cost me any money since it
was covered under warranty.

I called Joel Levin, executive director of Plug-In America, an electric car
advocacy group in Los Angeles. He hadn’t heard of charging stations getting
old and damaging your car.

If you own an EV or a plug-in hybrid, be careful of old charging stations.
Look at the charger arm to make sure the metal prongs are straight and not
bent or covered in plastic. Don’t plug in your car if the charger arm looks
sketchy ...
[© sgvtribune.com]

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