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Researcher Finds J1772 Connector Probable Cause of Overheating Blink Chargers

Tests of Blink charger points finger at REMA J1772 connector that is rated for a maximum of 6 kilowatt charge rate.

Published: 14-Feb-2013

Lord knows, EV drivers have a low opinion of ECOtality's Blink electric car charging network already, but last week a news item circulated that the J1772 charging connectors on Blink chargers are overheating when used by electric cars with 6.6 kilowatt on-board chargers. The named cars were the Toyota RAV4 EV, Honda Fit EV and perhaps the Ford Focus Electric, all of which have higher powered chargers (6.6 kw or more) than is on the Leaf, Volt, etc (3kw). It would sure be alarming to park your car, plug it into a Blink charger, go shopping, and return to find the charging connector melted. Apparently this has happened to a few people.

I decided to test the claims using my own electric car. What I found is disturbing, because it demonstrates the Blink network is not future-proof. The charging station I found to test is barely adequate for the cars with 6.6 kilowatt on-board chargers. If this is typical of the Blink network charging stations, it means that ECOtality lacked the foresight to be prepared.

My electric car is a home-built conversion (a 1971 VW Karmann Ghia), and one thing I did was to buy a high powered charger that can be turned up to a 40 amp charge rate. Hence, in the right conditions this charger can draw almost 9 kilowatts through the charging station, and I have popped the circuit breaker on at least one electric car charging station. So, I thought, this would be the perfect opportunity to test the claim that Blink charging stations are overheating.

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