Electric Car Not Charging – Check these first…

There’s nothing worse than plugging in your EV only to realize later that it hasn’t charged. So frustrating! But not to worry, you are in the right place, and very shortly, we’ll have this figured out.

Common reasons an EV won’t charge include the following:

  • No power in the outlet
  • Charge cable problem
  • Third-party charger is faulty
  • Weather conditions
  • Charging timer is set in your phone app

In this post, we’ll look at the most common causes of an EV that won’t charge, and of course, we’ll cover what you can do to fix it right now!

We’ll look at an EV that won’t charge at home first before looking at EVs that refuse to charge at a charge station.

If your EV is a Tesla, you may find the following links more helpful:

If your EV is a Hyundai, check out:

Tesla at charging station
Infographic - EV not charging

EV Not Charging At Home

The most common cause of home EV charging issues is a charge cable fault. And many are easy to fix, requiring no tools or parts. Typically, one of the following may be at fault:

  • No power in the cable
  • Damaged cable
  • Corroded cable
  • Foreign bodies in cable

No Power in Cable

The first thing to check is the power. It may seem obvious, but the socket that you’re plugged into might not be receiving any power. All EV chargers have a light system of some kind to indicate power is being received by the car. If the lights are not on, then there is no power flow.

Possible causes and quick solutions include:

  • Someone may have unplugged your cable from the wall or car (It happens) – Check the plugs
  • It might not be fully plugged in – someone may have tugged on it by accident – Check the plugs
  • There may currently be / or have been a power outage – Check the power
  • The circuit may be tripped due to an overload – Check your circuit board

If you find the circuit board has tripped, turn it back on at the circuit board again. If it trips again with your car plugged in, you have an overload.

Go ahead and check the garage for anything unusual that is plugged in. Try unplugging everything, and then try your EV charger again.

If this has corrected your problem, fantastic! If not, you may have a cable issue, which we’ll cover next.

Damaged EV Cable

The cable that connects to your car is quite sturdy. However, they still get damaged, very often, by repeatedly driving over them. Cables should be treated with care and inspected regularly. Handling a damaged cable is dangerous; touching exposed wires will cause electrical shock.

Before examining your cable, make sure it is disconnected at both ends before thoroughly checking. If you find any nicks or broken outer casing, order a new cable. They can be repaired, but unless you are an electrician, I would strongly advise against doing so.

If you can’t find any visible cracks or splits in the cable, check each terminal end thoroughly. Sometimes after charging, the connectors drop on the ground outside or on the garage floor (usually concrete).

Repeatedly doing so can cause terminal damage. Replace damaged charge cables, as they can cause damage to your batteries due to irregular charging.

Corroded EV Connector

Terminal corrosion can’t be fixed. Do not spray any anti-corrosion liquid or formula into the charger terminal connector. If your cable lives outside, then moisture is going to cause corrosion. If possible, keep your cable and connector dry at all times and out of the weather. This may mean you must arrange an outdoor shelter box if you charge consistently outdoors.

Foreign Bodies in Connector

Bugs like electrics because they generate heat. If you haven’t used your connector for a while, check that bugs haven’t moved in. If a bug is inside, some charging may happen but may be intermittent. The same can be said for fluff or any organic matter. Again don’t use any cleaning solution. Unplug both ends and use a soft dry brush or a cotton bud if necessary. Try not to introduce anything further into the connection.

Away From Home and Not Charging

Up to this point, we’ve considered why your EV won’t charge at home. But what if you are out and about and pull into a Supercharger or Destination Charger and can’t seem to get it to work? Well, that’s exactly what we’ll look at next.

Some of the more common reasons Superchargers and Destination chargers don’t charge your EV include the following:

  • Incorrect cable
  • Station charging fault
  • Insufficient funds

Incorrect Cable

If you’re a certain age, you’ll remember when cell phones first became popular, there was a charger for every different brand and, in some cases, different chargers within that brand. It was a nightmare. And even more so if you were away from home. EV charging is not quite as bad as that, but unfortunately, there is yet to be an agreement on a single standard terminal charging.

At a Supercharger, there are four different connections

  1. Type 2 (42kW AC)
  2. CHAdeMO (DC) – used by most Japanese models
  3. CSS (50 – 350Kw) – used by most brands
  4. Tesla DC Connector

You may find that you have been directed to a charging station that is not compatible with your car. Plugging it in will have no effect whatsoever. You likely won’t be able to plug it in as your connector won’t allow it.

Station Charging Fault

Charging at a charging station, be it a Destination Charger or Supercharger, is not always plain sailing. You might have the correct connection, and everything looks like it’s going fine, but your car is not charging because of a fault in the charger.

It’s always worth swapping to another charger, just in case. And if there’s another customer around, ask them if they are also having problems. If this is the case, you must transfer to another charging station. The charging stations are not manned and can sometimes become faulty and require repair, or they may have been tampered with somehow.

Insufficient Funds

Depending on which EV you drive will also depend on charging costs. If you’re lucky enough to have a certain Tesla, for example, you might never have to pay for a Supercharge. But all other brands will incur a cost. Some apps need to be preloaded to use the Supercharger, so check if funds are available.

Transferring money to an app is not always instantaneous; you can check other charging stations that specify ‘Free.’ However, these are usually Destination Chargers which take much longer, but they will give you enough juice to get you to another Supercharger or get you home.

EV Weather Conditions

EV vehicles can be a little temperamental when it comes to climate. EVs run on Li-ion batteries, which contain ionized fluid. If the temperature is in the -10° – 0° range, then charging is not advisable. The colder it is, the less likely your car’s onboard computers will allow a charge. Your car is programmed to protect the batteries, as charging in extreme conditions will damage the cells in your battery.

The same can be said for intense heat in desert climates. If your batteries become too hot, it can be as detrimental as too cold.

EV Charging Timer

The final fault on our list isn’t really a fault at all. It’s an operator error. Most EV owners charge their cars overnight, at home, it’s convenient, and electricity rates are cheaper. And many of us make great use of the onboard charge timer facility. The feature, as you know, allows the owner to set a timer for charging to begin and/or end; all the owner needs to do is plug it in and walk away.

However, your EV won’t accept a charge outside the pre-programmed timer window; the onboard system won’t allow it. The fix is simple here – change the timer settings.

You’ll need to go into your app and change the settings to override the timer. Some apps require a complete login to do this on your smartphone, so ensure you always have your login details.

And don’t forget to revert back to your timer when you’re done, or your EV won’t charge automatically that night.

You may also find the following links helpful:

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a technical writer here at EVjuicedup.com. He's a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars. He's worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers.

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