neo1700
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Warning: Nissan EVSE Charger Handle Issue Disables Vehicle

Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:51 am

My car was completely disabled this weekend at a remote location due to a faulty release button on the J1772 handle. Nissan has known about this problem for over a year, but refuses to issue a recall. Once the button fails, there is no way to remove the charger handle from the car. Not only that, the car cannot be placed in neutral for towing, so your car has to be dragged onto a flat bed truck. There is another detailed thread from a year ago on this subject, but this problem is significant enough that I needed to warn everyone until this is fixed by Nissan. Here's my story from the weekend.

We've had our Leaf for one year, and have 12,000 miles on it.

This weekend, I was at a marina in Indiana. We plugged our Leaf into a standard 110 outlet, only to be greeted with three flashing lights and no charge. I thought it might be a warning of unreliable voltage, so I attempted to move the car to another outlet. To my surprise, the J1772 plug would not release from the car. No matter what I did, the plug would not come out. Consequently, it was impossible to take the car out of park. I downloaded the owners manual, and found a series of steps to forcefully unlock the charge port using "the appropriate tool". It would have been helpful if the authors of the manual had simply put a picture of what "the appropriate tool" looks like. I went through all the procedures to no avail.

I called Nissan Leaf Roadside Assistance using the Nissan Leaf app on my phone. I described the problem in detail, only to be told that all they are responsible for is towing, and they did not know anything about the problem.

I searched the web, and came up with this thread describing the problem in detail, with possible solutions. viewtopic.php?f=30&t=13229 It's a long thread, so I will give you the bottom line. Since June 2013, Nissan engineers have known about this problem. It is the button on the J1772 handle that fails, making it impossible to remove the handle, effectively turning the car into a brick. According to this post, the inability to put the car in neutral makes it impossible to tow.

At that point, I called Nissan Customer Support. The person at Customer Support was very nice, but soon informed me that they really only answer questions from the owners manual and web site support. He took me through the procedures in the owners manual, which I had already accomplished. I explained to him that this was a known problem with the J1772 handle from June 2013, and Nissan Engineering had been involved in the diagnostics. I asked him to elevate this to someone at Nissan. He said he did not have any way of contacting Nissan, and that he would call the nearest dealer and talk with their service department. He then asked me where the nearest dealer was because his dealer system was down. I told him I was not at home, so I didn't know. I asked him to use Google Maps to find it. At the same time I opened up Google Maps to find the nearest dealer. I gave Nissan Customer Support the name and number, and I was placed on hold. After some time, he told me he contacted the dealer, and was told there were no Nissan service personnel available because the rotate weekends between their stores, and there were only GM service personnel on call. I gave him the name of the next Nissan dealer, and was placed on hold again. He came back and said the next dealer told him they had nobody to help me. I told Nissan Customer Support that this is very disappointing as this is a known defect in their charging handle, and they should have had a recall/replacement program. He told me there is no way of elevating this as it was Saturday morning, and nobody would be in at Nissan until Monday Morning. I told him I would leave the car at the marina and they could come pick it up on Monday, as I could not get it into neutral for towing.

I later called Roadside Assistance and asked to speak to the towing company. They said they could drag the car onto the flatbed truck. Two hours later, I watched the car disappear into the sunset on the back of a truck.

Stoaty
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Re: Warning: Nissan EVSE Charger Handle Issue Disables Vehic

Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:41 am

As far as I can tell, your report is the third one in over 3 years that we have seen on MNL. Doesn't sound like that rises to the level of a recall.

Moderator: please move thread to EVSE forum.
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neo1700
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Re: Warning: Nissan EVSE Charger Handle Issue Disables Vehic

Mon Sep 22, 2014 11:57 am

Tesla had one case of a charger plug melting in someone's garage. It turned out that it was caused by faulty wiring in the garage. However, Tesla designed a new plug, with a fuse in it, and sent it to every Tesla owner just to be safe.

You would think Nissan would, at least, warn customers that this could happen.

Slow1
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Re: Warning: Nissan EVSE Charger Handle Issue Disables Vehic

Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:47 pm

neo1700 wrote:Tesla had one case of a charger plug melting in someone's garage. It turned out that it was caused by faulty wiring in the garage. However, Tesla designed a new plug, with a fuse in it, and sent it to every Tesla owner just to be safe.

You would think Nissan would, at least, warn customers that this could happen.


You do have a point there. While I agree with the sentiment, the practical side of this doesn't make the events all that comparable. Having a plug melt raises the risk of a fire with significant property damage, possible injury, and a TON of bad PR that could sink any company, especially one with very small volume/profits such as Tesla. A plug getting stuck and inconveniencing someone, while a nasty event for the person going through it, is a very different thing.

I wonder what, if any, engineering review of the incidents has shown for the stuck plugs. My guess, however, is that none has been done. If you consider the (tens of, hundreds of?) thousands of plug in/out events from folks likely to post a bad experience here on MNL, if indeed there have been less than 10 reported that is a very low incidence rate. I would guess the dealers are more concerned about getting folks on their way than they are on preserving information for investigation and/or understanding the root cause.

I'm eager to hear what you get back from the dealer from your event other than "it's out now, have a nice day"....

As to warning folks - what would you say in the warning? If you say "plug is likely to stick" who would use it (and that doesn't seem accurate). So, what advice do you give? It seems that there is information in the user's guide but that didn't work for you - unless someone figures out what is causing the issue, nothing helpful can be written eh?
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TomT
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Re: Warning: Nissan EVSE Charger Handle Issue Disables Vehic

Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:57 pm

Or even a signification problem. Ingineer covered it in good detail in another thread...

Stoaty wrote:As far as I can tell, your report is the third one in over 3 years that we have seen on MNL. Doesn't sound like that rises to the level of a recall.
Last edited by TomT on Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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hill
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Re: Warning: Nissan EVSE Charger Handle Issue Disables Vehic

Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:20 pm

TomT wrote:Or even a signification problem. Ingineer covered it in good detail in another thread...

Stoaty wrote:As far as I can tell, your report is the third one in over 3 years that we have seen on MNL. Doesn't sound like that rises to the level of a recall.
yep .... nature of the beast. It's not important until the problem is OUR problem. Just like the poor RF filtering on our original on board charger. Not until it happened time and time again / with more & more owners ... and only then did Nissan reluctantly deal with changing out the entire charger (dumb solution) in stead of just installing the right sized RF choke .
.

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michapok
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Re: Warning: Nissan EVSE Charger Handle Issue Disables Vehic

Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:24 pm

FYI, Just had this happen to a colleague of mine here in NY. Same issue as the OP: handle got stuck and car had to be flatbedded to the dealer.
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mbender
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Re: Warning: Nissan EVSE Charger Handle Issue Disables Vehic

Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:36 pm

michapok wrote:FYI, Just had this happen to a colleague of mine here in NY. Same issue as the OP: handle got stuck and car had to be flatbedded to the dealer.
That makes 4, now. (And then maybe 5 soon, if I get struck by 'instant karma' just for saying that ;-))

ps. For the record, and possibly a new topic, I did once nearly have a quick charger "plug" get stuck in my quick charge port. I believe it took over ten minutes to disengage it. I forget what was actually the problem, but I do remember worrying that damage was being done in trying to pull it out by force.
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Re: Warning: Nissan EVSE Charger Handle Issue Disables Vehic

Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:00 am

Slow1 wrote:I wonder what, if any, engineering review of the incidents has shown for the stuck plugs. My guess, however, is that none has been done. If you consider the (tens of, hundreds of?) thousands of plug in/out events from folks likely to post a bad experience here on MNL, if indeed there have been less than 10 reported that is a very low incidence rate. I would guess the dealers are more concerned about getting folks on their way than they are on preserving information for investigation and/or understanding the root cause.


With the big car manufacturers we deal with in Japan, 5 or 10 out of a few hundred thousand is extremely significant.

We are being pushed to deliver 0.3 and below PPM failures. So if you sell a BILLION cars, only 3 can have a defect. And if you have it "as high as" 0.3ppm, you will most likely be blacklisted as a company.

It is very surprising that Nissan hasn't taken this issue up. Perhaps they moved engineering and support out of Japan and into the states? The Big-3 in the states don't require anything more than 100ppm failures from us. One of the many reasons I don't buy domestic US cars...
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Re: Warning: Nissan EVSE Charger Handle Issue Disables Vehic

Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:20 am

2k1Toaster wrote:
Slow1 wrote:I wonder what, if any, engineering review of the incidents has shown for the stuck plugs. My guess, however, is that none has been done. If you consider the (tens of, hundreds of?) thousands of plug in/out events from folks likely to post a bad experience here on MNL, if indeed there have been less than 10 reported that is a very low incidence rate. I would guess the dealers are more concerned about getting folks on their way than they are on preserving information for investigation and/or understanding the root cause.


With the big car manufacturers we deal with in Japan, 5 or 10 out of a few hundred thousand is extremely significant.

We are being pushed to deliver 0.3 and below PPM failures. So if you sell a BILLION cars, only 3 can have a defect. And if you have it "as high as" 0.3ppm, you will most likely be blacklisted as a company.

It is very surprising that Nissan hasn't taken this issue up. Perhaps they moved engineering and support out of Japan and into the states? The Big-3 in the states don't require anything more than 100ppm failures from us. One of the many reasons I don't buy domestic US cars...



From the original post back in 2013.....

"OK, I have resolution. It was a bad EVSE unit and it was the button lever on the handle that went out locking it in place. Likely it was the plastic pin that broke or got deformed locking it halfway depressed. They wanted to take it apart in front of the manufacturer to confirm the issue with them. Good news is they were able to safely remove the charger and confirm there was nothing wrong with the car and didn't have to tow it. They provided me with a new EVSE, took the broken one and I'm good to go.

When the person from Nissan corporate came down with the local rep and a tech, they wanted to document everything so that their manufacturer could be made aware and to confirm it was not a case of abuse of the EVSE. (i.e. it was only a few months old and I didn't drop it from 10 feet or run over it with the car) So likely a bad part supplier or error in manufacture.

They took plenty of pictures and were nice enough and we spent an hour or so talking through everything. The process of removing the charger required taking off the plastic protector from the hood and only took a few minutes to pop the charger out. However, this was easy because it was not a hot system because the other end of my EVSE was disconnected from the wall. IF THIS WAS LIVE SYSTEM YOU COULD EASILY KILL YOUSELF TRYING TO DO THIS. For this reason, the process to remove the plug is not something that is documented in the manual and not somehting I should describe here lest somebody try it and kill themself. "

They flew in specialists and came to the guys house. Sounds like Nissan was taking it pretty seriously and as pointed out it is not a Nissan part, it's a Panasonic and has been redesigned at least once so to be fair we would have to split off the count of 4 to pre and post 2013 cars. There is also an off chance that someone might be using a pre 2013 unit in a post 2013 car. First problem was in summer 2013 of a 10 month old unit so it's most likely a 2012.

Also the failure rate of a portable unit that is supposed/recommended to be kept in a closed semi padded bag and also not used for daily charging can vary greatly on how the customers uses/stores the product.
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