General Electric's WattStation home charging stations are damaging the on-board chargers of some Nissan Leafs, causing GE to acknowledge issues with the station and to work with Nissan on solving the issue, according to recent reports.

One Nissan dealership in the San Francisco Bay Area sent e-mails to Leaf drivers telling them to not use the WattStation because it may disable the car from being able to be recharged, PlugIn Cars reports. The issue is likely to related to a diode on the car's on-board recharging system, and the Leaf is apparently the only plug-in car affected by this problem.

GE's response, the New York Times reports, is to work with Nissan on a fix. GE, which started selling the home chargers about a year ago, confirmed that no other car models are affected, the Times said. So far, Nissan hasn't announced a policy for Leaf drivers to use or refrain from using GE's WattStations.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Years Ago
      would be interesting to hear exactly where it went wrong. just to rule out foul play by GE
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        "The issue is likely to related to a diode on the car's on-board recharging system, and the Leaf is apparently the only plug-in car affected by this problem." The GE unit apparently has no problems with other OEM EVs. Far more likely, it's shoddy engineering by Nissan. Which would be entirely consistent with Nissan's rush to market.
          Joeviocoe
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          "The GE unit apparently has no problems with other OEM EVs. Far more likely, it's shoddy engineering by Nissan. Which would be entirely consistent with Nissan's rush to market." GE has only shipped Thousands of Watt-Stations.. yet Nissan has sold Tens of Thousands of Leafs. The Nissan Leaf apparently has no problems with other OEM EVSEs. (Blink, Coloumb, SPX, AeroVironment & Leviton). It is Far more likely, that nobody is to "blame". Just a freak incompatibility. Which CAN INDEED OCCUR even if both parties follow SAE J1772 standards. Blame the SAE for allowing too much variability if you like.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Why would there be any " foul play" ? I don't believe that GE let you have anything to do with the Watt Station !
        Chris M
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Why would there be any "foul play"? GE doesn't make EVs, they make EV charging outlets and electrical power supply equipment. GE wants EVs to succeed, it's good for their business. Similarly, Nissan makes EVs but doesn't make the charging outlets or power supply equipment, they'd want GE to succeed as it would be good for their business, too. Never ascribe to malice what can more easily be explained by simple incompetence or bad luck. I suspect they'll find it's due to rare and unusual conditions, probably having to do with power surges or static electricity discharges.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @Chris M
          Chris, if there were only good people in the world your reasoning might have had some merit. In general you are not in a position to correct me.
          DaveMart
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @Chris M
          I believe Nissan make fast chargers, and aside from the fact that they do not, AFAIK, build home chargers, they would not conceivably sabotage their own cars, any more than GE would sabotage them. The idea is simple paranoia.
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @Chris M
          you're a beautiful person Marco, expressing your desire to kill me
          Marcopolo
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @Chris M
          Chris M. " In general you are not in a position to correct me " How DF has survived so long, is a credit to the peaceable nature of Denmark......
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      Standards? We don't need no stinking Standards! Or testing either apparently. There's not that many car models to test with guys...come on already.
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        Yeah guys, it's very possible that it's the fault of Nissan for not following the specs closely enough (or the spec is too "loose" and allows room for incompatibility)...but frankly I don't care. When you're bringing the new product to the party, you have to deal with the existing vehicles. If you want to say they don't play together and Nissan has to make a change...great. But you have to test and find out before you release. And other than the Volt, Leaf, Teslas and iMiev...what else do they even have to test with??? I've introduced too many products to market...and ALWAYS assume we have to deal with the installed base or clearly say up front that we don't. Test, test and more test guys.
          SVX pearlie
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @Dave D
          "other than the Volt, Leaf, Teslas and iMiev...what else do they even have to test with?" Plug Prius Ford Focus EV Ford Transit Connect Mini EV BMW 1-series EV Smart EV Honda Fit EV CODA EV Fisker Karma If every EVSE OEM bought 1 of each plug-in for testing purposes, compliance EV sales would soar!
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        'GE Energy's Sean Gannon has given us a little more information via the comment thread. Sean confirmed that the problem is limited to the LEAF and he says that so far it has affected 11 LEAF owners in total. He also points out that the WattStation is "designed and tested to the SAE J1772 and appropriate UL standards and these tests have been validated by an independent third party."' http://www.plugincars.com/nissan-dealer-warns-customers-using-ges-wattstation-charger-can-damage-your-leaf-123121.html GE reckon it is Nissan which has not ensured full compliance with SAE J1772
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "The Leaf, I think still has the overall majority." Not in the US, where GE sells, it isn't. The Chevy Volt sales passed the Leaf a few months ago, and Chevy has only widened the lead since then. Globally, there might still be more Leaf today, but the Volt easily outsells the Leaf in every single market where the Leaf and Volt are sold head-to-head. I would not be surprised if the Volt & Ampera pass the Leaf this time next year. "Until the problem has been identified, " I'm very curious to see what Nissan says here. I suspect they will say the expected the EVSE to provide additional power filtering that is outside the SAE spec. "I don't think GE can reckon anything just yet." If there were a multitude of Chevy Volt (and other) owners having problems with the GE EVSE, then it might be a GE issue. However, if the problem only exists with the Leaf, and repeatedly occurs with the Leaf, then it's far more likely to be shoddy Nissan engineering expecting "perfect" power from the line, and probably a true 240V instead of the typical reduction to 220 or less.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          I believe there are more types of SAE J1772 EVSE models than Plugin Vehicle modesl ( that use J1772 ). The Leaf and the Volt are the majorities. The Leaf, I think still has the overall majority. It would be premature for GE to blame the Nissan Leaf for not following the SAE standards. GE has only shipped thousands of Watt-Stations, while Nissan has sold Tens of thousands of Leafs which use a variety of EVSEs. From what I have been reading about the diode and certain incompatibilities and faults. It would appear that many problems are caused by electrical surges that passed through the EVSE and opened the diode. EVSEs 'should' protect against this... but so should proper installation. Until the problem has been identified, I don't think GE can reckon anything just yet.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Joe, do your own goddamn homework by reading the posts on MNL. Stop being obtuse and apologizing for a crap car.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "Per plugincars, the problem also manifests with Chargpoint EVSE" I noticed you didn't say [a] Chargepoint EVSE. You should have included that singular identifier, because it was only one. Also, "the problem" has not even been identified.. That account was a one-off incidence. It was not confirmed the diode was the problem with Thinwing's Leaf. The charger was replaced by Nissan and the fault was never identified. "Car is now charging normally,but I have no idea of what failed in charger" -last post, Thinwing So one account of a Leaf charger going bad does NOT make a trend. I could just as easily cite a Think City EV (also SAE J1772) that failed to charge on a Watt-Station. But that is also only one account. "Far more likely it's Nissan, because they are known not to implement the full SAE spec." Your bases for this? ----------------- Like I said, Nissan has more Leafs on the road, working just fine with more models of EVSEs... than GE has Wattstations working with different models of EVs.
          Peter
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          I have a Volt and dern tooting I plug in all the time whenever I get below about 10 or 20 Km electric range (its gas anxiety and quite catching, I don't want to use any of that stuff anymore). I have two GM Voltec EVSE's 110V which is dumb on the 110 side but smart between the incoming and the car, and a 220 V Voltec charger. Yes Volt owners can use other EVSE's but I suspect that unless someone is giving you one free you will be using a Voltec which is competitively priced and GM branded. BTW unless you have a Volt order or vin number they won't sell you one so not many Leafs would get connected by Voltec EVSEs.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "the problem is also unique to the Watt-Station. So if it was a problem with the Leaf, we would be hearing about problems with Blink, Coloumb, SPX, AeroVironment & Leviton. " Not so. Per plugincars, the problem also manifests with Chargpoint EVSE. "The GE Wattstation is not the only EVSE that this has been reported with. On http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=8653 Thinwing reports the very same problem while using a Chargepoint charger" It's not just GE EVSE. "it is likely a combination of things. A.K.A. both products have a slight variance in design compared to the all the other vehicles or EVSEs." Far more likely it's Nissan, because they are known not to implement the full SAE spec.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          "The Chevy Volt sales passed the Leaf a few months ago, and Chevy has only widened the lead since then" Okay, fair enough. But I do Chevy Volt owners use EVSEs as much, or are most of them using 120 volt 'dumb' outlets that don't communicate with the charger at all? "If there were a multitude of Chevy Volt (and other) owners having problems with the GE EVSE, then it might be a GE issue. However, if the problem only exists with the Leaf,..." Yet, the problem is also unique to the Watt-Station. So if it was a problem with the Leaf, we would be hearing about problems with Blink, Coloumb, SPX, AeroVironment & Leviton. Like I said, there are more models of EVSE than models of Vehicles. I am not saying that GE is to blame either. But without knowing the results, there is little evidence to point blame just yet. But if I had to venture a guess... it is likely a combination of things. A.K.A. both products have a slight variance in design compared to the all the other vehicles or EVSEs. Only when together, does the likelihood of fault increase. Add an external surge, and you can get a noticeable probability of fault.
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you want to test an EVSE to see if it's safe and complies to SAE J1772, Gridtest Systems provides an automated test tool for the purpose. It runs more than 20 tests and gives a pass/fail report on the EVSE. It was designed to help prevent and solve these sorts of charging issues. Many manufacturers and independent test labs have started to use the EVE-100 Test tool. William
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      'the Leaf is apparently the only plug-in car affected by this problem.' Well it is not as if the leaf is the.... Oh wait...
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        From plugincars: "The GE Wattstation is not the only EVSE that this has been reported with. On http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=8653 Thinwing reports the very same problem while using a Chargepoint charger" Apparently, if you use an Aerovironment charger, it works fine, because it ignores the signal line, bypassing the diode. This is the high-tech the equivalent of using a grounding plug adaptor, but not actually running the ground wire. Awesome job, Nissan & Aerovironment!
        Joeviocoe
        • 14 Hours Ago
        @EZEE
        But both of these accounts were one-off incidences. It was not confirmed the diode was the problem with Thinwing's Leaf. The charger was replaced and the fault was never identified. "Car is now charging normally,but I have no idea of what failed in charger" -last post, Thinwing
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        And apparently a Think City EV has had a similar problem using a GE Watt-station.
          SVX pearlie
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          1 Think City EV vs far more Nissan Leaf problems.
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      Notice the subtle manipulation of readers in the Headline... It is not "GE's WattStation doesn't play nice with Nissan Leaf"... but the other way around. The ABG writers should not be trying to put conclusions into our heads. I expect this from Murdoch's Newscorp, but ABG staff... it is time to let Danny King write for someone else. Maybe Fox News or WJS is hiring for their Editorial section (you know, most of it).
        SVX pearlie
        • 14 Hours Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        No, it's the Leaf. http://www.mynissanleaf.com/wiki/index.php?title=Battery,_Charging_System#Problems.2FIssues The Leaf owners are well aware of the problem being an issue with the diode in the car.
        Joeviocoe
        • 14 Hours Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Those wiki problems are not necessarily the same problem that the Wattstation is causing here. From what GE is saying, nothing will charge the Leaf after failure. Not even AV charger, which bypasses the diode check. So before you pass judgement, you should verify that the diode is even the actual problem. The NYT article does not mention it. And the plugin cars article says, "Though the precise nature of the flaw isn't clear, the problem seems to affect a diode in the LEAF's onboard charging system." which is just supposition based on a few known issues. I am not denying that some Nissan Leafs have charging issues. But according to that wiki link, there only seem to be less than 3 charging problems reported on mynissanleaf. And they are indeed Leaf diode faults that happen regardless of the charger. So few charging problems, does not indicate a failure to follow SAE standards as you have implied. If it were a standards problem, with tens of thousands of leafs on the road, there would be much more than a dozen or so problems.
          SVX pearlie
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Where did GE say "nothing will charge the Leaf after failure"? The detail links clearly state that the AV and Nissan chargers will do so, because they do *not* implement the full SAE standard. I don't have to verify it directly. Others have already done so, via simple multimeter testing. This is clearly documented on the MNL forums. PIC is summarizing the known information from MNL. If you read the MNL threads, there are more than 3 problems - look for the "me, too" posts. And now that the problem has been identified, Leaf owners know how to self-diagnose and get the dealer to resolve the issue. The correct statement is that there were a *minimum* of 3 charging problems before the root cause was identified and a diagnostic procedure was developed. The other correct statement is that the diode flaw is with the Nissan Leaf's on-board charger, and that all EVSE which implement the SAE standard correctly and completely (to prevent short-circuit / shock hazard) will refuse to operate under such an error condition. if every EVSE in the world were required by UL (or relevant national body) to completely implement SAE J1772 before being certified for operation, the problem would be far larger. Joe, you need to stop apologizing for the Leaf. The car is clearly flawed, and this is basically like Nissan using ungrounded aluminum wiring, buss fuses, lead paint and asbestos installation the day before they are outlawed by NEC and code. It speaks to Nissan being an island manufacturer which intends to only sell its own EVSEs in its home market, which, BTW, doesn't "play nice" with other OEM EVs.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hi this is Sean Gannon from GE. As I commented in the Plugincars.com blog post that was referenced in this thread, since its launch in 2011, GE’s WattStation Wall Mount has performed as designed, thousands of units have been shipped, and it has received positive reviews from EV drivers. Regarding the charging issue raised by 11 Nissan Leaf owners who had GE WattStations, GE’s current analysis does not indicate that the WattStation is the cause of the reported failures. And as noted earlier, GE has been actively working with Nissan to help determine the source of this issue. The GE WattStation has not encountered a similar issue with other brands of electric vehicles. Leaf owners should continue to use their WattStation Wall Mounts. If there are any issues, the Nissan Leaf and the GE WattStation are both covered under their respective warranties. Nissan has also confirmed with us that charging at a GE WattStation will not void a Nissan LEAF warranty. As Nissan has said, this issue represents a handful of incidents out of millions of charging events involving the Nissan LEAF.
        Vlad
        • 14 Hours Ago
        Good job staying engaged with the online community. You guys are doing a much better job on this than Nissan does.
          Joeviocoe
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @Vlad
          Very true.... the marketing and customer service departments of Nissan of America are some of the things I dislike about Nissan compared to other automakers.
        Joeviocoe
        • 14 Hours Ago
        Could the problem be related to an electrical surge that passed through the EVSE, and into the Leaf?
          SVX pearlie
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Perhaps, although if other EVs are handling the charging correctly, it's odd that the Leaf doesn't.
          Joeviocoe
          • 14 Hours Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          The other EVSEs (Blink, Coloumb, SPX, AeroVironment & Leviton) seem to be handling it correctly too. It is most probable that it is something to do with the combination of WattStation-Leaf, rather than blaming only one company. And that combination may not lead to a definite fault, but only the increased chance of susceptible to surge damage.
        Jim McL
        • 14 Hours Ago
        Hello Sean You mentioned at PlugInCars.com that "...there have been no design changes to WattStation since its 2011 launch." But SAE J1772 was update in Feb 2012 with a section on compatibility testing. Don't you think it would be a good idea for your engineers to purchase the updated spec and check your compatibility, just as Hubble did when they found issues with their Pep Stations? I have had multiple issues charging my Think City EV from GE WattStations, and the Think is the oldest EV around, with versions predating the original 1996 J1772 publication. Last weekend in Chapel Hill NC at Strata Solar, the GE Watt Station passed its self test and lit up but refused to charge not only my Think, it also refused to charge the Tesla, Leaf, and Volt in attendance. Last November I had no luck charging from a GE Watt Station at the GE factory in Mebane NC. Please update your SAE subscription and compatibility testing. We don't need these issues.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      A couple notes. No need to hurl stones here or talk about specs and who isn't following them. Rarely are specs so specific that it's not possible for two devices to be within spec and still not work together. Also, it's quite possible this problem isn't on the current-carrying lines at all, but on the pilot communication line, so talking about power surges or 240V instead of 220V is presumtive. Finally, if you read the NYT story, this is originating from a sales guy in San Pablo, CA, while Nissan and GE say they haven't heard of the problem. The jury is still out. The important thing is the companies are working on the problem.
        Joeviocoe
        • 14 Hours Ago
        @Rotation
        I fully and completely agree. Standards are a good start, but assuming that someone must be "to blame" for an incompatibility is just silly. Standards get refined and updated all the time because they cannot predict everything with the first version. *In some devices (not saying EVSEs; I haven't looked at schematics yet), surges on the powered lines can cause induced surges on communications lines as well. Also, static discharges could a concern. But I am sure all these possibilities are being investigated.
        Jim McL
        • 14 Hours Ago
        @Rotation
        SAE J1772 goes into some detail about protecting against capacitive coupling of transients into the pilot line. Sean admitted that GE has not updated their stations since 2011 even though SAE updated J1772 in Feb 2012, mostly to adress the numerous compatibility issues cropping up in the market. I had issues charging from GE Watt Stations at the ribbon cutting event at the GE factory in Mebane NC last year. I talked with the staff there at length. They refused to address the issue. I am sorry if sales are disappointing, but GE is not helping themselves here. The Whole Foods Market in Raleigh has GE Watt Stations for customers. I will not go there, I don't trust them to work.
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