Blackout: Major operators shut down HPC stations
Several major charging infrastructure providers have shut down their High Power Chargers over the past two days to investigate a potential safety issue with Huber+Suhner’s liquid-cooled charging cables. Extensive safety testing is unfolding as you read.
++ This article is being updated as the news unfold. You find all recent developments below. ++
Dutch Fastned and Volkswagen’s US subsidiary Electrify America were first to confirm the shut down of most of their high power charging stations using liquid cooled cables to enable powers of up to 350 kW. The maker of said cables, Huber+Suhner, had issued a warning to customers using the technology worldwide.
Soon after, electrive was able to obtain a statement from Ionity as well. The European high power charging network backed by major carmakers says they too immediately shut down a number of HPC chargers to investigate a potential safety issue concerning its liquid-cooled cables.
“Customer safety is paramount,” says Dr Michael Hajesch, CEO of Ionity. “We were shutting down stations that use the Huber+Suhner high-powered cables while we confirm that they can be operated safely. We are cooperating with our partners and suppliers to enable normal operation as soon as possible”.
At the moment the measure affects 20 Ionity charging stations in Austria, Switzerland, France and Denmark. Chargers not affected by the cable issue will remain open and available for use. These include charging stations in the following countries: Germany, Italy, Denmark (except site in Aabenraa), Sweden and Norway.
Huber+Suhner’s recommendation to temporarily shut down HPC fast chargers has also been received by Fastned and Electrify America of course. According to Fastned, the shutdown only affects the 175 kW chargers with corresponding cables. The 50 kW units would be available as well as 175 kW chargers with other cables. At Electrify America the issue concerns “most of our 150kW to 350kW chargers”. Here, too, it is emphasised that all other charging stations continue to function.
The issue was identified by the supplier in an OEM test-environment. As a matter of precaution, all charger manufacturers using Huber and Suhner’s liquid-cooled cable were advised, that the operation of chargers using this cable should be suspended until the root cause has been ascertained. Chargers of a lower power rating without liquid cooled cables, such as the ABB 50kW units or the Tritium units are not affected. As to how the liquid cooling of the components of Huber+Suhner works, we reported some time ago.
Following first rumours, Fastned specified the technical issue a little, saying the safety problem affected cables of an old sample series from Huber+Suhner, which had a particular design and had been tested applying less rigorous standards. Nevertheless, following the supplier’s warning, it was decided to discontinue the use of all liquid-cooled cables until the tests now scheduled will be completed. Safety first.
Update from 28 January 2019: After Ionity, Fastned and Electrify America, Allego has now announced that it has deactivated its High Power Chargers, which use the liquid-cooled cable system from Huber+Suhner, until further notice.
electrifyamerica.com, fastned.nl, Ionity statement via email allego.com (update)
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.
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