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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
[edit: found another thread discussing the issue. Mods can delete this one. http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?249866-I-suspect-my-volt-is-totaled-after-reading-other-threads-about-lightning-strikes.&highlight=lightning+evse]

With the hurricane that came ashore last night and will move through the southeaset, I'm wondering about power surges, especially when lightning strikes the grid or near a home. I know that can blow out electronics in some cases. Do EVSEs typically have effective surge protection from that? Would it make any difference whether the car is actively charging or plugged in but not charging? I normally charge my car overnight, but am thinking it might be wise to avoid it during a major storm. Thoughts?

Also... this is a general question about any thunder storm, not this tropical storm in particular. I just thought of it because of the news.

FYI, I am using a stock 2013 Volt EVSE and the car parks outdoors.
 

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Not much of a lightning issue here in Northwestern Oregon. I would probably not plug it in during a severe lightning storm. Perhaps a nearby lightning strike and not a direct hit may damage the charging system. One of the pluses with a Volt if you have a discharged battery but have gas in the tank you can still drive to work. With a Tesla or Leaf not so much.
 

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Do you feel lucky?

You can reduce the risk of damage to your car by unplugging during lightning storms.

All electrical devices have surge suppression, some better than others. The protection works well for most nearby strikes. But a direct (or very close) lightning hit, and all bets are off, your house burns down, your car is destroyed. For that, you have insurance.
 

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I have not read of a single confirmed lightning damage incident here. but lightning is strange stuff, and for sure, no surge suppressor can protect connected devices in some situations. The cable isn't shielded either so it could be energized even if the power leads aren't involved and fry the communication electronics.

that all said, I never worry about it, but then again, I'm surrounded by 100 foot trees, which do a pretty good job of being the best route to ground much of the time. whether you unplug or not is up to you.

and now, thanks to Keith, see below, I have read of one. I will likely unplug during thunder storms from now on. I'm still not worried about it. but I can be cautious without worry.
 

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Over on FB, I've read multiple confirmed incidents of Volts being damaged by lighting. Including one post of two cars being taken out at once. A Prius-Plug-In totaled by insurance, the Volt damage still being assessed. Yes, the house was also damaged.

Back in Houston, I myself had multiple devices destroyed by a nearby strike once. There was no apparent lighting strike anywhere around my house. But I had to replace every device on the phone wire and one network segment. The interesting thing was that I used VOIP at the time. The phone wire was NOT connected to the utility. The lightning apparently created enough of an EMP to induce the voltage on the phone wire wirelessly. And that house was surrounded by trees too.
 

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I have not read of a single confirmed lightning damage incident here. but lightning is strange stuff, and for sure, no surge suppressor can protect connected devices in some situations. The cable isn't shielded either so it could be energized even if the power leads aren't involved and fry the communication electronics.

that all said, I never worry about it, but then again, I'm surrounded by 100 foot trees, which do a pretty good job of being the best route to ground much of the time. whether you unplug or not is up to you.
Ummm, I was about to link to my thread... but it is already linked in the OP's post! And yes, that link was added when he edited his post, but that was 12 hours ago, 8 hours before you made your post.

Keith
 

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I was up on Mount Democrat this week at 14,000 feet. Suddenly, I was surrounded by a swirling snowstorm. With a flash-boom, lightning burst through the clouds. I decided to descend from the false summit, quickly and lowly. For 500 vertical feet, I listened to my carabiners buzz with electrical charge on my backpack. And you worry about your Volt.
 

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Ummm, I was about to link to my thread... but it is already linked in the OP's post! And yes, that link was added when he edited his post, but that was 12 hours ago, 8 hours before you made your post.

Keith
ok now I have read of one. thanks.
Paul
 

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ok now I have read of one. thanks.
Paul
Replaced the on-board-charger ($900), Hybrid Powertrain Control Module 2 ($300), and the charging port (warranty).

On-board-charger was plug and play. HPCM2 required dealership initialization/programming for car to start ($105).
I did all the labor myself, except for the charging port, and programming.
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?173817-Lightning-Direct-HIT!&highlight=lightning+strike

And....

The car and the EVSE were totaled. The insurance company stopped attempting to find the problem after the BCM replacement failed to cure it. The car is still sitting on the insurance company's salvage lot. It could be a real bargain for someone.
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?93521-lightning-strike-car-doesn-t-start&highlight=lightning+strike

I recall one or two others, at least. Happy hunting!
 

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....I recall one or two others, at least. Happy hunting!
ha, there may be more, I was away from here for many months after I thought that I wasn't being helpful and wasn't learning anything new, recently came back, mostly for the humor... (I like Jeff Cobb's writing too, which I only see here) I seldom go searching for specific topics, preferring to operate from what I remember seeing, and the search tool is not very good. I still wish this forum was set up like the Passat world forums, where I can find specific information pretty quickly despite the million plus posts. but its still fun.. Lightning? volt? maybe I should get a 82 golf diesel so I don't need electricity at all....
 

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If you don't need a full charge on your Volt, and the storm is likely to hit, I'd unplug. If a power surge does occur, your comprehensive insurance would definitely cover damage to the car though, though I'm not sure about the EVSE. The EVSE might be more of a home insurance item.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Where I live, there are thunderstorms somewhere in the local area on just about every typical summer evening, and could affect any given spot unexpectedly. I would basically have to never do my typical overnight charge all summer.

Would it help to do a delayed charge that would start after the storms typically end? The car would still be plugged in during the stormy evening hours, but just not charging.
 

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Like others have said, just unplug the car from the EVSE. Also, unplug the EVSE from the wall and if you have a level 2 hardwired EVSE, turn off the breaker. The Volt is my first PHEV car and I can understand that many want to drive on electricity only. But the Volt will run and drive without ever being plugged in so why risk damage to the vehicle if you can unplug if you think a severe storm is approaching. I might gamble on a normal evening storm but if a monster is coming---unplug. You will use a lot more gasoline in the rental car you get while your Volt is being repaired/replaced.
 

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Where I live, there are thunderstorms somewhere in the local area on just about every typical summer evening, and could affect any given spot unexpectedly. I would basically have to never do my typical overnight charge all summer.

Would it help to do a delayed charge that would start after the storms typically end? The car would still be plugged in during the stormy evening hours, but just not charging.
With L2 my charge is finished shortly after dinner. I unplug and sleep soundly, every night. Last night we had a storm roll through. I rolled over and went back to sleep.
 

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Meh, we plug it in and forget about it. I sleep though thunderstorms so no worry involved for me, maybe someday I will wake up to a surprise *shrug*
 

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...... maybe someday I will wake up to a surprise *shrug*
Odds are against it, but I have a wife who worries. That and I'm more aware of the funny business on power lines and refuse to lie to her. I don't unplug everything when not in use, but this is a very expensive appliance and it has to be unplugged every day anyway. It comes down to when you unplug it - not if.
 

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Always unplug if lightning is around. When it's plugged in, your car becomes a nice, fat metal path to ground. That connection also becomes a massive antenna that can be blasted by the HUGE amount of EMF that a nearby lightning bolt will create. If lightning is close, why risk it? One of the Volt FB group members had their Volt and PiP totalled when lightning struck their house. Both were plugged in.
 
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