Ford is recalling 2012-2015 Focus Electrics, 2013-2015 Fusion and C-Max Energi vehicles. This is due to the 120V EVSE included with the vehicles doesn’t have a sensor (thermistor) in the plug to reduce the charge rate if it detects that the plug (the wall side plug) is overheating. The idea is that not all households/buildings have the capacity to handle a sustained 12 amp draw from a standard outlet. In those cases the outlet may overheat and cause a fire. By including a thermistor in the plug the EVSE can detect this situation and instruct the car to reduce the charge rate down to 8 amps. This is a nice automatic safety feature in the EVSE (at least it is in the ones that have the thermistor).
GM handles this a little differently with the Bolt: When you use the included 120V EVSE the car will default to charging at 8 amps. If you wish to charge at 12 amps you have to go into a menu setting on the car and turn on 12 amp charging. Thus it takes manual intervention on the driver’s part to charge at the higher rate (in either case charging a Bolt to full on 120V Level 1 EVSE takes a looooong time–even Chevy’s charging guide doesn’t give you a value, only says 4 miles per hour–because it would take a whopping 60 hours–2.5 days–to charge!).
The recommended home charger for the Bolt is the Level 2 EVSE which brings the charge time down to something a little more reasonable 9.5 hours or “overnight”. For my usage I’ve been charging the car overnight when it hits the 1/4 tick mark. From there to “full” takes a little bit over 6 hours.
If you’re driving one of the recalled vehicles take the EVSE back to the dealer you’ll get a new one. Drive safe everyone.
If you’ve been reading this blog a while you may recall one of the stories of my coworker’s car when his charge plug melted. For a refresher here is a picture of the plug:
After getting the vehicle side connector replaced twice he finally had Bosch come out and replace the vehicle side wiring of his Power Xpress EVSE. Since then we’ve both been contacted about a recall of the Power Xpress unit. Since then I’ve received a phone call from Bosch stating that parts are finally available and I’ll be contacted by an electrician to swap out the cables.
The funny thing is that last week I received an e-mail with a tracking number from Bosch. Today that package was delivered:
A shiny new wiring harness for my Power Xpress unit (Note that I have not been charging my FFE with the Power Xpress since my coworkers problems with it and about the same time I had noticed that the handle was starting to get a little warm in the morning after a charge. I’ve been making due with either the Juicebox or the Clipper Creek EVSE’s that I have).
What is more interesting about this shipment is that it comes with very clear instructions on how to swap out the wiring harness. I may just do the swap myself and when the electrician calls just tell them that I’ve already performed the task. (The procedure is pretty simple: remove a panel, disconnect the old wires, unscrew the strain relief, remove the old wire, insert the new wire, connect wires, tighten strain relief, and replace the panel.)
Taking a close look at the plug:
Oooh all shiny: These contacts are silver coated. Silver coated contacts don’t corrode. The old plug is all copper which can oxidize and introduce some resistance. Given that 240V at ~30A goes through there even a small amount of resistance here will generate some heat.
Now I’m awaiting a phone call…LOL.
Having a Focus Electric means that you get the best of both worlds:
- You get all the looks and creature comforts (or lack thereof) that exist in the latest generation of ICE Focus
- You also get the advantages from driving around a BEV: very quiet ride, very few moving parts, etc.
So far the disadvantages have been:
- Less trunk space than the ICE Focus. (I don’t mind it much though)
- Range, but this really isn’t a disadvantage as you start every day with a “full tank”
- The nagging feeling in the back of your head that the car will stall out with “Stop Safely Now” on the dashboard
I’ve attempted to minimize the last disadvantage above but it did take the shine off the otherwise great experience of driving a BEV. Now to date I haven’t had the issue occur but that didn’t stop me from always planning an escape route while driving just in case. The way new posts were appearing in the forums with more and more people reporting their cars with an issue it appeared that it was just a matter of time before we all had the issue (despite the fact that there are people with over 20,000 miles on their FFE without ever having anything go wrong).
Since the official Ford SSN recall, however, there have been virtually no new posts on the forum with this issue (there was one but that driver had not taken his car in for the recall). A couple of weeks ago I made an appointment with the dealer to get my car in for it. While waiting for the appointment the official recall notice arrived in the mail. Now here we are almost a week after the recall service was performed and I’m finding that I no longer am planning escape routes, no longer wondering if the car will stop–basically that question that was always in the back of my mind while driving the car has been minimized to such an extent that I’m finding new pleasure in driving the car. This is what it was supposed to be like when I first leased the car but the question was always there…
Now this is what driving an EV is supposed to be like! The instant torque, the quiet, the subtle click when the regenerative braking kicks in; its all the same but somehow now feels different…better.
(Granted there still could be another little gremlin running around the car but for now…ignorance is bliss.)