Electrify America — a Volkswagen subsidiary set up as part of the diesel emissions test settlement to develop a network of electric charging stations across the U.S. — announced Friday afternoon that it is shutting down the majority of its high-powered charging stations to investigate a potential safety issue with its liquid-cooled cables.
The chargers, ranging from 150 kilowatts to 350 kilowatts, are being closed at the recommendation of Huber+Suhner, a supplier of high-powered charging cable technology. The warning was issued to all Huber+Suhner customers using the cables worldwide.
"The safety of our customers is our highest priority,” said Giovanni Palazzo, president and CEO of Electrify America, in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, Electrify America is shutting down all of our stations that use the Huber+Suhner high-powered cables until we can confirm that they can be operated safely. We are confident that Huber+Suhner will investigate and resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”
The high-powered charging system under review is designed to accelerate power throughput and bring charging times under 15 minutes to reach 80 percent of charge, enabling the use of larger and longer-range electric vehicles. The cooling cables integrated with Huber+Suhner's Radox High Power Charging System is described as "thin, highly flexible, lightweight and easy to handle."
GTM contacted Huber+Suhner for additional information on the nature of the safety issue and how the company is working to resolve it, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
Electrify America spokesperson Mike Moran told GTM that his company was informed of "one incident at a private test facility in Europe" and that Huber+Suhner is working to resolve any other potential issues.
Asked whether this safety warning reflects a broader issue with high-powered charging, Moran stated that "the issue is isolated to the Huber+Suhner cable — in this one incident. They are investigating to confirm how broad."
Moran was unable to confirm exactly how many of Electrify America's charging dispensers use Huber+Suhner's cooling cable and would be affected by the shutdown. The majority of Electrify America's charging stations have chargers on site that use Huber+Suhner cooling cables, but there are multiple types of chargers at a given station.
For instance, the company has high-powered charging dispensers with cooling cables from supplier ITT Cannon that continue to be open and available for use. Electrify America's 50-kilowatt CCS chargers, all CHAdeMO connectors and L2 chargers are also unaffected. (Find a full list of open stations at this link.)