|Charging in the snow can be problematic when the charge port ices up and won't close|
|Wind blown snow will pack the charge port full. Photo credit: Andre Hakedal|
|My charge port was iced up after a recent snowfall and I had trouble getting the charge port door to close.|
"This is just so extremely bad design! That snow must be removed completely and there are all kinds of tiny areas almost impossible to get to. Cleaned a bit too sloppy the other day, and barely was able to open it again. Why on earth did they not create something better?"
- BMW i3 owner Are Stig Larsen, Norway.
I wonder if BMW just missed this, and designed the charge port as if it was going to be used like the fuel filler ports are on their gas and diesel cars? It's particularly strange because I never had this issue on my previous EVs, which were also made by BMW (MINI-E and ActiveE). Since charge ports for electric vehicles will be open for many hours every day and exposed to all kinds of weather, I think a higher level of thought must be applied to their design. Based on the issues I've seen, I'm just not sure that was the case with the charge port for i3. To be fair, a simple internet search will reveal owners of Chevy Volts, Teslas and Nissan LEAFs lodging similar complaints, so it's not exclusively a BMW problem. The question is, should we really have to deal with this, or can EV engineers figure out a way to solve the problem without adding too much cost to he vehicle?
|A few people have used the cardboard technique as their solution. Photo credit: Are Stig Larsen|
|Creative Plastic Concepts has two different models available at Lowe's. The hard plastic one is more durable and a better choice for this use. The good news is it only costs $2.98! Similar covers are also available on Amazon.|
|The loop holds the cover in place|
My answer to this is to simply carry a rubber band with you, and use it to hold the cover in place. This eliminates the potential problem of arriving at a public charging station which uses a connector that won't allow you to loop the plastic draw cord around the release button. Since I use this method, I no longer needed the plastic draw cord, so I removed it and in its place attached a kitchen cabinet knob which I had left over from my last kitchen renovation. I know a few people who use the plastic loop cord that comes with the cover without problem, but they haven't come across an EVSE with a release button that won't cooperate, but eventually they will.
|A rubber band will secure the cover from blowing off and will work with any type of connector. The supplied plastic draw string won't work with some J1772 connectors.|
|The finished product. I even found a BMW i Frozen Blue color rubber band. It's pretty amazing how well this cover fits the i3's charge port opening. It's almost as if it were designed purposely for this application.|
I mentioned above that it's important to cut the opening all the way up to the top of the cover and I'd explain why later. The reason is because not all J1772 connectors are created equal. If the top part of the connector is long, it will stick up higher when connected to the car. This requires a longer opening than connectors which have shorter ends. Take a look at the pictures below and compare the ChargePoint Home connector to the ITT J1772 connector used by Bosch on their Power Max 2 EVSE. You can see how much longer the connector is and if you don't extend the opening on the cover all the way to the top the longer connectors won't fit, and they'll push the cover away from the car. You can also see from the pictures how some release buttons won't work with the cover's plastic loop system to hold it in place, requiring the use of the rubber band method.
|Bosch's ITT connector|
|Clipper Creek connector|