CarCharging Reduces Amperage of Residential Charging Stations, For Safety Reasons
CarCharging, the group that acquired the Blink Network, sent an email today to owners of Blink-branded residential stations, warning about safety concerns. The company’s note said: “This concern is related to high temperatures, which can potentially cause overheating.”
CarCharging acquired the Blink Network in October 2013, and assumed the responsibility to provide service to EV drivers using Blink-branded charging stations. Many of those charging stations were supplied to thousands of EV owners as part of The EV Project. The project’s goal was to jumpstart EV sales in the early days of the plug-in car market, by providing free (or highly subsidized) residential charging equipment to more than 8,000 electric car drivers.
The EV Project, which launched in October 2009, was awarded nearly $100 million in support from the U.S. Department of Energy. The EV Project stop accepting applications for subsidized charging stations in March 2013.
CarCharging’s email explained that, as a precaution, the company remotely reduced the amperage of specific charging stations to 24 amps. The email explained that, “In all cases where Blink L2 chargers have been rated to 24 Amps, there have been no reported high-temperature or safety issues.” CarCharging said that the reduction in amperage is expected to be temporary, until replacement parts are available.
While cars with 3.3-kilowatt onboard chargers will see no reduction in charging speeds, the current norm for electric cars is 6.6-kilowatt charging. Owners of cars using the Blink charging station with reduced amperage could potentially see a 15 percent drop in charging speeds. In other words, the ability for an electric car with a 6.6-kW charger to add, for example, about 23 miles of range in an hour of charging might be decreased to about miles added in an hour below 20 miles.
While that reduction is not significant for most drivers, questions about equipment safety a few years after installation, and the ability for CarCharging to remotely (and without owners' permission) alter the performance of residential chargers, are potentially greater concerns.
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