Need a new charger my VW E-Golf, difficulty: multiple apocalypses
September 11, 2020 1:00 PM   Subscribe

Okay, so there’s a lot going on. This morning I found out that the charger that came with my 2016 Volkswagen E-Golf was stolen. Trying to figure out how to replace while navigating not having Internet at home or at the friend’s house I’m staying at right now to get a break from the terrible smoke. (I’m in PDX.) Lots

I’m a bit frantic so hopefully this all makes sense. Also only have internet access through my phone and I’m already over data so a bit hampered in trying to do my own research. Here’s what I’m wondering:

1) Does it matter if I get an official Volkswagen e-Golf charger? They seem to run just shy of $400 while other brands are more like $200 so getting something else sounds way more appealing. But would that like mess up the warranty?

2) I live in a spot without a driveway so I’ve been using an extension cord plus the charger that came with my car. Most of the off-brand chargers seem designed more for a Level 2 charger situation. I can’t tell if they could just plug in with a standard three hole extension cord and honestly got sick of trying to figure it out given everything. Like what does NEMA-15 mean?? I can’t even.

3) My car was broken into while in the parking lot of a tire shop where it was being repaired. They told me they weren’t sure if anything was missing. Do I tell them? Are they liable?

3a) If they are, do I just like buy a replacement and they’ll reimburse me? I don’t wanna wait around for a lengthy process before I can recharge my car.

3b) Or like do I tell my car insurance and they’ll reimburse me? But if I do that I’ll have to file a police report, yeah? Right now, being a lefty queer person in PDX I very much do not want to interact with the police in any way if I can at all avoid it. Like it might be worth it to me to just eat the cost to not have to do that.

4) Is there anything else I’m missing?
posted by overglow to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
 
PHEV 2016 A3 owner here, so similar car. Very sorry for your stress, can't imagine. I'll try to help:

1) The most important thing is to match the power input to the car (watts and current). I am unsure about warranty specifically, but can go dig into my user manual if you want. But I think they expect you'll use lots of different level 2 chargers throughout life, so I don't think they expect you only use VW products.

2) NEMA-15 means it meets the standards for a 15A standard wall outlet. So I'd expect that to be a standard plug. Ours (Audi a3, same year as yours) claims to need 16A, so I have a heavy-duty (12 gauge wires) extension cord and a dedicated 20A outlet.

I'll let other folks chime in about insurance stuff. I think you're probably under the deductible for your own (if it's just the charger) so not worth calling into your own insurance.
posted by Dashy at 1:22 PM on September 11


1. It doesn't matter if you get an official VW charger. Volkswagen expects that you're going to be plugging your car into all kinds of charging infrastructure out in the world. Any car charger with a J1772 plug on the car side (which is pretty much any non-Tesla charger sold in the US) will work just fine.
2. You probably mean a NEMA 5-15 plug. That's a normal everyday 3-prong household plug, and that's what your extension cord would have. Just get an EV charger with a NEMA 5-15 plug like this one and you'll be good to go.
posted by zsazsa at 1:25 PM on September 11


3) My car was broken into while in the parking lot of a tire shop where it was being repaired. They told me they weren’t sure if anything was missing. Do I tell them?
Are they liable?


This column by Ray and the late Tom Magliozzi of Car Talk is from 2002 -- If a car's broken into in a mechanic's lot, who pays? -- but I think that the advice is probably still relevant. (Tom and Ray emphasize that liability laws vary between states and you should check with your state attorney general's office.)

You can read the whole thing at the link. The tl;dr is it depends. (I know. :/ It's never straightforward.)

Scenario A: If the tire shop knows you were leaving the car there for a specific purpose and they took your keys, then the tire shop is responsible for any damage done to the car while it was in their lot.

Scenario B: If you dropped off the car the night before, left it in the lot without the knowledge of anyone in the tire shop, and slipped the keys through the mail slot, then you're responsible for any damage done to the car while it was there.

I hope this is at least a little helpful and that things get resolved quickly. Best wishes.
posted by virago at 2:53 PM on September 11


They told me they weren’t sure if anything was missing. Do I tell them? Are they liable?

I didn't answer "Do I tell them?"

If the tire shop is liable, then you would tell the tire stop that your charger is missing and they would report the theft to the police and make a claim to their insurer.

If they are liable, do I just like buy a replacement and they’ll reimburse me? I don’t wanna wait around for a lengthy process before I can recharge my car.

That's a good question, to which I don't have an answer.

Or like do I tell my car insurance and they’ll reimburse me? But if I do that I’ll have to file a police report, yeah? Right now, being a lefty queer person in PDX I very much do not want to interact with the police in any way if I can at all avoid it. Like it might be worth it to me to just eat the cost to not have to do that.

The only time that I've had my car broken into and I bothered to report it (a company camera was stolen), I made a report to the police as well as to my insurance company.

If you're liable, then there's likely no way to get insurance reimbursement without reporting the break-in and theft to the police. Given your understandable wish to avoid law enforcement interaction, this means eating the cost of the charger. (Please don't take my word for it, though. Check with whoever insures you. It's possible that they may not require a police report first. I don't want you to spend $$$ if you don't have to.)
posted by virago at 3:48 PM on September 11


PDX resident, former electric car owner, whose charger was also stolen.

1) Does it matter if I get an official Volkswagen e-Golf charger...
No. One addition to what others said up-thread is that wattage of a charger doesn't have to match exactly. Example, a 6.6 kW charger (EVSE is the word they normally use) will charge your car just fine, even if your car is only capable of 3.3 kW. A 3.3 kW EVSE may be cheaper though, and a 6.6 kW EVSE will not be available for 120v, if that's that all you have available. The thing that matters most is the connector, which in your car is probably a J1772, but you'd want to confirm this.

2) [...] Like what does NEMA-15 mean?? I can’t even.
See other answers up-thread.

3) [...]Do I tell them? Are they liable? [Cops, etc]
Probably. Try this: "My car charger was stolen from my car when it was broken into on your lot. The replacement VW charger costs $400. Would you like to write a check right now?"

When my car charger was stolen I filed a police report for insurance purposes. It was all online and no one ever followed up with me despite there being video of the people who stole it. Your interactions with police will likely be limited, or maybe on the phone.

4) Is there anything else I’m missing?
You can fast charge now, for free, at Electric Avenue at 121 SW Salmon.

If you need to chat on the phone about this just shoot me a meMail; I'd be happy to talk.
posted by MonsieurBon at 5:20 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


I have a full decade of experience in EVs and do constant outreach.

Nonsense to the respondent above who said the most important thing is to "match power" of the charger to the car. Just get any charger, except for Tesla units (different plug). They all have J1772 plugs, and that's all you need. The electronics takes care of the "matching". Don't worry another second about kilowatt ratings or whatever. Geez, you people and your unnecessarily confusing advice.

NEMA 5-15 just means regular wall outlet, which is probably what you were using before. See pictures here of all the crazy other kinds of outlets that exist, like the one behind your electric dryer that feeds it high power. But you're just using a regular wall outlet, which is officially called NEMA 5-15.

In EV speak, what you had before was a Level 1 cordset that came with the car, and you plugged it into a NEMA 5-15 wall outlet. You could just buy a new replacement, e.g. one of these from Clipper Creek, but they cost $400 new. You're better off just buying a used one off eBay or wherever. The Level 1 charger for literally ANY CAR except Tesla will work with your car. So if someone is selling the charge cord for their BMW i3 or their Ford Focus EV or their Nissan Leaf BOOM that's it just buy it.

Extension cord: the official answer is "don't". The unofficial answer is it's fine as long as you get a really heavy duty extension cord, with either "12 AWG" stamped on the cable or better yet "10 AWG". That's the wire size, and thicker is better, and in the weird world of wiring a lower number AWG means thicker wires. If you are extending more than 25 feet, then it needs to be 10 AWG. DO NOT use a 14 AWG cord, under any circumstances -- too thin, very bad.

For lots more guidance, just read this page. It answers all your questions.
http://electrifyatlanta.com/wp/?page_id=37
posted by intermod at 7:35 PM on September 11 [5 favorites]


(sorry for distracting about matching ... )
posted by Dashy at 7:42 PM on September 11


As far as your car insurance and a police report: check your deductible on your comprehensive coverage. If it's like $500, then there's no point in reporting the theft of a $400 item, because you won't get paid anything anyway. If it's more like $200, then you'd get the difference between the value (however the insurance company calculates it) and the deductible.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 8:09 AM on September 12


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