About 4 weeks ago a Nissan Leaf owner in the UK had an incident when charging his car. He was using the supplied charging cable (EVSE) and charging his car at home. I’ll let him explain in his words… this is what he posted to the Nissan Leaf Owners Forum LeafTalk.co.uk…
Yesterday I topped up ready for a longer drive and as I removed the 13A plug I noticed that it and the metal socket outlet were very warm. As I handled the plug I received a (minor) burn from the live pin. Examination of the plug showed that the cable was being gripped only by the wires and not by the sheath as it should be, allowing some strain on the terminals. This seems to have twisted the fuse and produced a bad contact where the fuse is clipped into the pin end because the plastic shows some discolouration there. The plug is a quality one from MK but the cable grip is the rapid assembly flexible plastic type rather than the older screwed clamp variety. It seems that the generous sheathing on the cable makes it too large for the grip and I was unable to refit it properly. Although its impossible to be certain, the lack of any compression marks on the sheath suggests that it may have been assembled that way. (Possibly the plugs are fitted at the port of entry). I have, of course, changed the plug and all is now finel with only a slight temperature rise after a few hours charging.
This is clearly a H&S issue. Could I ask other Leafers to look at their EVSE plugs and see whether they have the same problem?
The entire thread can be seen here:
Further posts from other members showed this to not be an isolated incident. In fact, there have been many others who have found their Nissan supplied EVSE plugs to be wired in this unsafe manner and I too inspected my own EVSE plug and found that the cable was only secured by the internal wires and that those wires were showing signs of taking some strain.
It is universally accepted that when fitting a plug that the cable clamp be secured over the outer sheath and not just to the individual cables inside. In fact… this is what the Health and Safety Executive say on the matter… take a look at…
They clearly state that it is the outer sheath that must be secured and not the inner wires. Here is a diagram from the HSE showing a correctly wired plug.
Note that the outer sheath is gripped by the clamp. This is NOT how my plug was wired nor how many other EVSE plugs from Nissan are wired. On theirs and mine the outer sheath is NOT clamped at all. It is only the inner wires that are clamped and this can result in those wires being pulled free from their terminals with potential catastrophic consequences especially given that these plugs will have a relatively high current when in use (10A continuously for hours at a time).
This is what the badly wired plugs look like:
Any plug that is wired in this dangerous manner would definitely not pass a PAT test. A PAT test is a legal requirement for the use of any electrical appliance in the workplace. In supplying EVSE cables wired in this way it is quite possible that Nissan are in breach of the law in many respects in that they are supplying unsafe electrical equipment.
When I contacted Nissan Customer Service regarding my plug I was assured that they would replace any EVSE for any owner who reported the problem. This sounds then like Nissan are doing the right thing. However, I have serious concerns with the reactive approach that Nissan is taking to this problem. Yes, they are replacing the EVSE without quibble when an owners reports the problem to them. However, most owners won’t know that they could have a problem at all and so most owners will remain at risk. What is needed and needed urgently is for Nissan UK to bring the problem to the attention of all UK Nissan Leaf owners. Without that immediate action I am concerned that others might come to harm.
This is unacceptable and I believe that I am not over-reacting to make this issue so public in this way. One person has already been burned as a result and it has the potential to result in further injuries, house fire or worse as a result.
Well, it has been 4 weeks and so far Nissan have done nothing to respond to this. I have contact Nissan Customer Service and just been fobbed off with platitudes suggesting that they are taking it seriously and that they are investigating the problem. Now, honestly, how much investigation does it take to discover that a plug has been wired in an unsafe manner? So far it has taken Nissan 4 weeks and on asking the question of Nissan Customer Service how much longer should we expect to wait for a resolution I was told at least 2 more weeks would be normal.
That is 6 weeks to discover that the plugs on EVSE cables have been wired unsafely and that is assuming that it is only 2 more weeks! In the meantime, Nissan Leaf owners are continuing to use their charging cables unaware of the potential dangers.
Really Nissan… given that this is new technology I would have thought that you would take this kind of clear and obvious danger seriously. Given the simplicity of the issue (a badly wired plug) and the simplicity of the resolution (replace the plug!) why then does it take 6+ weeks of knowingly putting your customers lives and property at risk?
As Nissan Leaf owners we have trusted Nissan to ensure we are safe with this new technology… this suggests to me that they are not taking our safety at all seriously enough otherwise a solution to this dangerous situation would have been found within days… not weeks or months.