LilDave
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SPX Power Express - Updated!

Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:30 pm

Update as of 9/5/2014:

I talked to Bosch on several occassions about this failure. The ticket got escalated after I provided an invoice from Nissan with the total cost of the repair. I had also provided them pictures and other information in the past week. I got a call last night from one of their managers. We had a nice discussion on my issue and the bigger issue at hand, the melted plug. It appears that the Rema plug, 6.6 kWh charging seem to be having an issue on some charging stations, regardless of brand. This just so happens to be the plug that was on my charger. I just got "lucky" and happened to be one of the rare cases where it gets a little too hot. Bosch is stepping up to the plate to make my situation right. Everything that I hoped would happen is now taking place. My car will be back to me tomorrow and I'll be back to enjoying my EV.

I have every bit of confidence that this failure will not happen again. I would recommend though that everybody with 6.6 kWh charging to check the brand of plug on their chargers. This whole experience was very stressful and took a lot of my time. I am happy to say that I give Bosch two thumbs up for how they brought resolution to the matter. I am very impressed with the customer focus of their management team.


I charge my Leaf and my Volt using a SPX Power Xpress. I purchased this unit in April. The first one received had issues (fault code issues) and was replaced with a new unit sometime in May. I've been charging with it ever since. I left a couple of weeks ago on a business trip. My wife plugged in the Leaf for about an hour. She then went out to the garage and put our 8-month old baby in the car. She noticed a strong electrical smell and immediately went to the front of the car. Smoke was coming out from the connection. She cut power to it and then unplugged it. The two top terminals on the plug and the receptacle were melted. The circuit breaker did not blow. No damage to the cord past the plug. All wiring back to the box is perfect.

Fast forward to last Monday when I return from my trip. I have enough range to drive it to the dealer (tow companies around here are terrible, didn't want it towed). They took pictures and sent them to Nissan Technical. They sat on it for 3 days before saying it was the SPX Power Xpress that caused the failure. No warranty and I'm on the hook for around $1400. I had called Bosch (formerly SPX) and sent them pictures as well. They are now waiting for an invoice from Nissan before deciding what course of action they will take. Meanwhile, the Leaf sits at the dealership waiting on parts.

Two HUGE issues for me here. I have a car that is less than 6 months old. Obviously it is under the manufacturers warranty. I have a charger. It is less than 6 months old and is under warranty. I am getting that feeling that nobody will pay and I will be on the hook for the bill. My other big issue is the safety factor. This could've resulted in property damage as the Leaf was in an attached garage or even worse, personal injury. Neither company seems to care about that, just how they can get out of paying the bill. I've been asked by Nissan and the dealer about it being an "aftermarket" charger. Wait, what? So every public charger I see I have to make sure it's a Nissan charger??? Not sure you will sell many EV's with that type of attitude. We all know that the "charger" is nothing more than a power source, just smart enough to send power when the car asked for it.

I am over a week into this and there is still no resolution. Nissan now says the part will "only" cost $500. I am out $1,000 on the charger as the plug is ruined. Who will pay? I am a huge EV supporter but this is making me rethink everything. I do know that not once have I ever feared GM would cover something on my Volt. I am scared every time I take the Leaf in that I will be handed a bill. Enough of my rant. Anybody that has any suggestions would be helpful. Here are a few pictures of that I took of the charger and the car.

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Last edited by LilDave on Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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ahagge
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Re: SPX Power Express melted plug/receptacle

Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:11 pm

You have my sympathies. I know it won't help you, but that J-1772 plug looks very much like the one on my Blink charger - the one that Ecotality claims is at fault for a number of similar incidents involving Blink chargers and EVs which can draw at the maximum amperage that the Blink can deliver (ie. 6.6 kW).

If you wouldn't mind, could you check the sticker on the bottom of the J1772 handle and post who the manufacturer is of the plug (and any other useful identifying information)? It could be useful for those of us with the same J1772 plug sets. Thanks!

As for your issue, I don't see any choice but to purchase the new Nissan socket. It's possible that the charger (EVSE) isn't damaged - you might be able to replace the J1772 cord assembly (or pay someone to do so if electrical wiring is not your thing). IIRC this thread has some info about J1772 cords - sorry, I couldn't easily find the exact post. Cost should be around $200.00 + installation.

I presume you have a 2013 LEAF with the 6.6 kW charger, correct?
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Bicster
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Re: SPX Power Express melted plug/receptacle

Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:30 pm

Does the Leaf's J1772 inlet have a thermal sensor in it?
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smkettner
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Re: SPX Power Express melted plug/receptacle

Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:31 pm

I recommend against using SPX with anything except a GM product.
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KillaWhat
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Re: SPX Power Express melted plug/receptacle

Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:37 pm

Man, I almost hate to wade into this, but......

There are more than one problem in play here.

This problem was caused by an over current situation IN THE CAR.
(Probably a short, but I'm not willing to commit)

However, the EVSE should have detected the over current And shut down.
(Faulted)

I think Nissan should fix the J1772 inlet on the vehicle, and see what happens when you go to charge.
If you get stuck, the j1772 inlet harness is available as a replacement part, and only takes about 10 minutes to change.

And no, the Nissan j1772 has no thermal sensing (at least not 11/12)
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KeiJidosha
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Re: SPX Power Express melted plug/receptacle

Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:55 pm

Sorry LilDave to hear about your issue. Please confirm your LEAF has 6kW charger. I too have the unloved (for good reason) SPX Power Express that I’m as reluctant to use as I am Blink EVSEs. Here is Toyota RAV4 EV and Fit EV thread on same problem, except Honda put thermal sensor in the connector to avoid (mostly) the problem. SPX should be going after REMA for defective product.
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davewill
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Re: SPX Power Express melted plug/receptacle

Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:11 pm

Both Nissan and SPX should realize that if they don't take of this promptly, it's going to get tons of publicity. This is how people's houses burn down.

I have noticed that the REMA handle on my Blink has quite a bit of play in the locking mechanism. Pulling on it can move the connector enough to convince the car and EVSE that I'm not plugged in. Ever since I became aware, I've been careful to make sure that the plug is all the way in, because I've been concerned that it might be possible to find a middle ground where it considered itself plugged in, but wasn't making a solid connection on the power pins.

The SPX has a rotary switch to select the AMPS. While you can select 32a, the cord and handle are only good for 30a, so you have to choose the 24a setting. Doesn't matter, really, since the LEAF even with the 6.0kW charger can only pull 28a.
Last edited by davewill on Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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KeiJidosha
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Re: SPX Power Express melted plug/receptacle

Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:20 pm

davewill wrote:Surprising this happened at 16a...
Signature line shows 2013 LEAF SV. That would make it 6kW, ~30amp, right?
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davewill
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Re: SPX Power Express melted plug/receptacle

Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:21 pm

KeiJidosha wrote:
davewill wrote:Surprising this happened at 16a...
Signature line shows 2013 LEAF SV. That would make it 6kW, ~30amp, right?
Yeah, I came to that realization and was editing my post while you were posting.
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Stoaty
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Re: SPX Power Express melted plug/receptacle

Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:38 pm

I would ask for a full refund on this defective charger and go with a known standard like AV (or other reliable manufacturer) for the future. No point running into problems again after this is "fixed".
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