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VW fully reopens electric car charging network after ‘potential safety issue’

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A problem with a prototype sparked the fear

Photo: Electrify America

Electrify America, the budding electric car charging network spearheaded by Volkswagen, has returned to full operation after partially shutting down over a “potential safety issue” last weekend.

The network shut down its high-speed (150kW to 350kW) chargers on Friday “out of an abundance of caution” after concerns emerged about the liquid-cooled cables provided by Swiss supplier Huber+Suhner. Amsterdam-based charging company Fastned also shut down its 175kW chargers in the Netherlands and Germany, but it said today that it has restored service, too.

According to Huber+Suhner and Electrify America, the problem stemmed from an “isolated event” at a test facility run by one of the Swiss supplier’s customers. The company experienced an issue with an early prototype version of its liquid-cooled charging cables, and so it recommended that networks like Electrify America and Fastned suspend service while it got to the source of the problem. (That said, Huber+Suhner still won’t say specifically what the issue was.)

Giovanni Palazzo, the president and CEO of Electrify America, said in a statement that “[e]xtensive testing throughout the weekend and Monday showed that the cables have met all industry standards for use, and as a result, we are bringing our entire network back to full capacity.”

Electrify America is aiming to have a network of nearly 3,000 chargers online across the United States by the middle of the year, but only 89 charging stations are currently in operation. The company’s charging stations also feature lower-speed chargers, which remained operational throughout the weekend.

Correction: Huber+Suhner is based in Switzerland, not Sweden, and the event occurred at one of its customers’ test sites.