After a San Francisco dealer told Nissan Leaf electric vehicle owners with General Electric Wattstation chargers to stop using them because they could damage the car, Nissan and GE began examining the reports of broken Leafs. On Monday, General Electric announced the results: It's Nissan's fault, and yeah, don't use our chargers for a bit.
According to GE, the problem lies with the Leaf's software controls for its on-board charger, which can stumble "when a brief under voltage or blackout condition occurs. Nissan is working to address this issue as quickly as possible, and in the meantime is advising customers to avoid charging during times when brownouts or momentary power dips may be likely, such as during electrical storms or high power usage on the grid."
Which, given that it's one of the hottest summers on record, means some Leaf owners shoudn't charge if the sun is up or there are thunderstorms on the radar. It's possible to get enough charge into a Leaf through a standard 120v extension cord for short trips on an overnight charge, but the home chargers made refilling the Leaf with electrons a far less time-consuming task. Combined with reports of much-diminished range from Arizona customers due to extreme heat, and it's not been a good summer for the first mass-market EV.
Other stories from around the auto industry:
Ford's ad agency hires ex-GM marketing chief: No, not Joel Ewanick. Mark LaNeve -- the former GM ad head who moved to Allstate and oversaw the still-funny "Mayhem" ads. (Detroit Free Press)
Ford drops lawsuit against counterfeiters: Remember that suit I told you about where Ford wanted to secretly retrieve bank accounts of 13 eBay and PayPal users over copyright infringement charges? It's dead now, in a victory for faux Aerostar badge-sellers worldwide. (Detroit News)
BMW profits fall on Europe weakness: It's still going to sell more cars than ever, but BMW threw another warning flag for the European economy. (AutoNews)