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Honda Fit EV Overheats When Used with Blink Chargers

Like many EV drivers, I charge my Honda Fit EV almost exclusively on Ecotality’s Blink charging stations. Well, I used to. Ecotality installed seven Blink charging units at my place of work and when I first got my Honda Fit EV, I charged on them without any problems. However, over the course of a few months, some of them no longer charge my car.

After about 20 minutes of charging, the car stops charging. Honda sent engineers to look, and determined that the charge connectors were overheating and the Fit EV was stopping the charge before damage occurred. Over just a few months, more of the Blinks started having this issue.

Now, six out of seven Blinks overheat in just 20 minutes. For this reason, I now charge at Level 1 (120V, 12A) using the cord set provided by Honda. In this way, a full charge takes about 15 hours, but that’s sufficient for me. I’m generally at work for about nine hours, and I rarely arrive empty.

But the issue is inconvenient, to say the least, because when I plug into Blink equipment, I never know if it’s going to overheat or not—unless I wait for about 20 minutes. Then, I have to continually check the charging status from my iPhone.

Most other EV manufacturers do not use thermal monitoring. The Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid have been okay, because they don’t pull more than 16A. The cars I’m worried about are EVs that charge at 30A, but don’t monitor temperature like the Ford Focus Electric and Toyota RAV4 EV.
Melted J1772 Inlet on RAV4EV

Melted J1772 Inlet on RAV4EV, photo courtesy of MyNissanLeaf user TonyWilliams.

So far, I’ve only seen one RAV4 EV driver who reported an issue with this, but the issue is a pretty serious one. The owner’s charge port and J1772 connector melted. The issue seems to have stemmed from an improper crimping job on the pins in the REMA brand J1772 connector. This is consistent with what I have been experiencing, as an improper crimp like this will get worse over time.

What worries me is that while my car stops after overheating on these faulty stations, I have seen other cars charging at 30A for several hours on the same stations. I have felt the connectors when the other cars are charging and they are warm—the non-faulty ones do not get warm at all—which means these cars are charging with very hot charge ports. While it’s not currently enough heat to melt the connector, it is putting extreme wear on the bad crimp, meaning the connector will get hotter and hotter each time. I always leave a note on these cars, warning them of the potential issues.
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