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NHTSA Investigates Fire Hazard in Bosch Electric Car Charger

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a probe into car chargers manufactured by German maker Bosch that overheat and catch fire, citing an incident of a charger going up in flames as it was attached to a Nissan Leaf electric car in a consumer’s garage. Investigators opened an inquiry on April 15 after receiving a complaint that a 2013 Nissan Leaf began to smoke and burst into flames at its connection point with a Bosch Power Xpress 240V charger, according to documents filed online over the weekend on the regulator’s website.

The investigation could lead to a recall if regulators determine the manufacturer needs to address a broader safety problem.

In written statements from Bosch and Nissan, both said the companies were aware of the problem and would fully cooperate with the NHTSA probe as it seeks to identify the cause and help in the investigation if necessary.

The Bosch Power Xpress 240V had been charging for over an hour at 35 amps in the consumer’s garage when a “strong burning smell” was noticed, according to NHTSA as well as the consumer complaint filed in late August.

“Charging vehicles are typically left unattended and there is a risk of fire that could affect the vehicle and its surrounding environment,” NHTSA said.

The consumer complaint noted that the Nissan Leaf, which had been driven less than 10,000 miles at the time, was not at fault for the incident.

The Bosch charger is marketed to residential customers and is used to charge a wide variety of electric vehicles, NHTSA said.

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