HUBER+SUHNER Confirms Correct Functionality Of Charging Cables/Plugs

JAN 29 2019 BY MARK KANE 19

The ultra-fast charging stations soon will back on-line

HUBER+SUHNER, the Swiss supplier of liquid-cooled cables and plugs for ultra-fast charging stations, completed intensive investigations and tests on safety issue noted by one of the customers and confirms correct functionality.

The occurrence of a short-circuit in the plug of a high-power charging system was noticed at a charging station on a test site of a customer in Germany, which used a first-generation prototype, delivered in the summer of 2017.

“Nobody was injured in this incident. The short-circuit occurred in the plug. The cooling circuit with the synthetic, non-conductive coolant can be ruled out as the cause. The product in question is a first-generation prototype.”

Despite the series products differing from the first prototypes by, among other things, increased sealing, HUBER+SUHNER decided to recommend to its customers on 26 January 2019 to suspend the operation of all potentially affected charging stations as a precautionary measure until further analysis could be performed.

This is why major charging networks like Electrify America, Fastned and IONITY temporarily shut down ultra-fast chargers with HUBER+SUHNER cables/plug.

As the double check proved the safety of the production versions of the product, HUBER+SUHNER will give its customers a green light for use of the system today. It’s very encouraging that the entire case was closed within three days and didn’t harm much of the business of charging networks. Any recall would cause major issues.

Full press release:

HUBER+SUHNER: Review of high-power charging systems confirms correct functionality

For HUBER+SUHNER, the safety of its products is of highest priority. After the occurence of a short-circuit in the plug of a high-power charging system, HUBER+SUHNER recommended to its customers on 26 January 2019 to suspend the operation of all charging stations with HUBER+SUHNER high-power charging system as a precautionary measure until further analysis could be performed. The concerned plug was a first-generation prototype which had been in use at a test site.

Since the event became known, HUBER+SUHNER has carried out intensive investigations and tests, in some cases also together with its customers and partners. These also included tests on the entire charging system with high-power charging cables from series production.

The tests confirmed the correct functionality of the system and proved that the series products supplied by HUBER+SUHNER meet the required standards without any restrictions, both individually and in the entire charging system. HUBER+SUHNER will inform its customers about these positive results today.

Categories: Charging

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19 Comments on "HUBER+SUHNER Confirms Correct Functionality Of Charging Cables/Plugs"

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Liquid Cool.

Nice to see them being proactive on safety even if it means annoying some customers.

True but the if they ignored it and it gave the impression of someone possibly getting hurt they would be done.

Plug designed by committee, incorporating every bad idea.

Do you have some facts do back up that statement?
How do you know that the plug was designed by a committee and not just approved by one.

The standard Wikipedia entry certainly implies it:

I’m not a big fan of CCS but (spoiler alert) it is presently my job to work with it. The good part of CCS is that it incorporates many standards in an upward compatible way (there is a CCS1 and CCS2 for Europe). Note that even Tesla is using CCS in Europe.

The two different ways to go with charging cables was to adapt the various levels of charging, AC or DC on different pins, or to use charger to car communication to establish what kind of power would be carried. CCS is the former, Tesla is the latter. The Tesla approach results in a smaller and simpler connector. The advantage of the CCS connector is there is no possibility of mixing the two power types.

Considering that CCS is accommodating three different charging levels (L1-L3) and is now headed for much higher power levels, I would say it is a success. Compare that with its nearest competitor, Chademo, which ends up being a much bigger connector due to the need to add a separate J1772 connector.

The Electrify America website now has a press release that says they are restoring full capacity to their entire network but it doesn’t actually say when. I guess if you’re planning to CCS charge you need to call EA first and see if your charger has been reactivated. Unfortunately this reactivation probably won’t correct all the communication issues the EA chargers have been having.

If you look at plug share, Electrify America has added a note to all it’s stations that were put offline that they are now all back online.

Luckily this sounds like one big nothing-burger but it would be nice if HUBER+SUHNER released/published the actual failure mode. Engineering and QC is supposed to make a short condition not possible… and with 100+ kW at ~1000 volts you can pretty much vaporize a human body. That kind of thing, if it happened, might end the EVolution faster than Three Mile Island ended the American expansion of greenhouse gas emission free nuclear power.

1000 volts is low voltage (for DC, low voltage is from 120 V to 1500 V), if you shorted that to ground through your body you are looking at 10 mA current. However, wet skin could increase that to as much as 1 A, which not a lot is still enough (anything over about 100 mA is bad, shorting 120 V to ground through a wet hand/tub is like 120 mA give or take). So yes, there is some danger involved, but not like you say as there is too much resistance in the body. It would require a path to ground and a wet hand with bare feet or something. I would assume the charger has protections against this (ground fault protection).

Hey, it’s rare that someone actually listened to their physics teacher. Probs for that.

The advantage with those chargers is that there is no potential to ground so it would only go through your body if you touch both poles. Which they did go to great lengths making it absurdly hard even if you used some sort of tools to get in there even though it is potential free while not active.

I think the most dangerous is creep currents due to isolation issues low enough not to be detected but high enough to heat until damage. The thermosensor is the only protection against that. An actual shortcut presents a danger through arc blow that is why those plugs are not just pins but do have the plastic barrier around the whole thing. But even such an arc would be current limited.
Galvanically isoloated DC current sources are really nothing to lose sleep over.

Arc flash could be a problem if the battery contactor is closed. Lithium ion batteries have low internal resistance and can deliver huge amounts of current in the event of a short. When you say an arc would be current limited, I suspect you mean the charging station is current limited but not so much so for the battery. Yes there is a fuse but usually no current limit per se otherwise during DC charging.

Yes. I meant an arc strike from the charging side. From the battery side it would be a dead short until something gives.

What I’m referencing is Arc Flash concerns. Ungrounded DC systems are great, I highly recommend them, but they won’t stop an arc flash. NFPA 70E prescribes arc flash PPE for systems over 3kw but goes on to explain “NFPA 70E safety requirements are evolving as the knowledge of DC hazards grows. The science of DC arc flash is still not completely understood…” Am I missing something?

The information given by Viking79 is misleading. Shorting a high current 1000V DC power source with body parts will kill you with high certainty. In automotive engineering everything above 60V DC is considered high voltage and needs additional safety measures and knowledge, how to handle it. The term low voltage cited by Viking79 is given in the IEC definition and simply states, that arcing is not expected, i.e. electric shock WITHOUT touching the surface, just by getting close. Touching it, is dangerous as hell. Your body has a resistance of ~2000Ohms or lower, 1000V means 500mA of current, your muscles being unable to relax to get away, endangering your heart rhythm, partial cooking/electrolysis of your body (500watts of power) and intoxicating you thereby.
And of course for defective EV plugs, short circuits not involving ground are possible as well. Yes there are many safety measures, but keep in mind: Safety first!

Do never touch anything defective above 60V DC.

Viking79 wrote:”1000 volts is low voltage (for DC, low voltage is from 120 V to 1500 V), if you shorted that to ground through your body you are looking at 10 mA current”

That is completely wrong. It is wrong because your entire statement is based on the FALSE ASSUMPTION THAT SKIN RESISTANCE DON’T CHANGE!!!!!!

Your statement/opinion is inherently dangerous to those who have no electrical knowledge.

Yes, typical skin resistances are in the k ohms or even 100K ohms. However, the resistance of the skin quickly breaks down by orders of magnitude at voltage higher than 20V. That is why 48V is on the cusp of safety voltage. A human body will only have few hundreds of ohms once the skin resistance breaks down. Few hundreds of mA will easily kill a person.

Please don’t spread this false news. If you don’t believe, then feel free to find your nearest 120V outlet and complete the circuits between your left and right hand. Make sure you have a safety personnel nearby to save your live as needed.

Off course this company that has never produced and developed automotive parts has to state that the functionality is confirmed, even more there is no name of the person having provided that statement. this is the typical situation where people get injured because of liquid leakage with 500A flowing through, unless the product is developed jointly with a car manufacturer under rigorous standards, this could be easily a piece of cable developed in a workshop through ridiculous static & theoretical tests. The proof is that once on the filed the problems appeared!

Unless someone has been electrocuted i couldn’t imagine how EA in the USA and all the others such as Ionity and ABB in europe could shut down the charging grid. Something severe has happened. You do not need to imagine too much, they basically have no skills to produce such a super-fragile system, they are not TRW!