The charge plug locking mechanism

The receptacle of the charge plug is sometimes problematic.

  • Some plugs are very hard to get in. It could be plugs out of mechanical spec, but still. The solution is to apply a very tiny bit of plumbers grease or silicone spray on the offending plug, and to confidently ram in the plug. Don’t give ZOE time to engage the locker before the plug is entirely in. Never ever use something grease or oil based;
  • As a result, the mechanism doesn’t always lock, which can put the car in an endless retry loop, draining the 12 volt battery (been there, done that). Solution is a again a confident, two hand push, and to wait until the motor lock silences (no “wheee wheee” sound). Even better, hold it in place until the actual charging starts;
  • The inner flap on the earlier ZOEs had a very flimsy hinge design. It has improved but if you have a an old one, apply a bit of silicone spray on the pusher mechanism of the hinge, the part that keeps the flap in an open or close position. If this hinge snaps, it is a very costly repair as basically the entire receptacle mechanism and cable will be replaced. I was able to repair it, but the alternative approach is to order a protective i3 receptacle cap at your local BMW dealer. Something like 15 Euro’s and you’re set!

And then there are the real failures. On one of the English forums, two users seem to have the same problem being that the cable is locked, but the car doesn’t recognize it and keeps retrying. It can lead to endless “Ongoing checks” or even BCIs. Pete disassembled the locker mechanism and the micro-switch detecting the locked position is indeed of a bit dubious design. He fixed his car temporarily by removing the locker mechanism altogether from the receptacle so now the pin is entirely free. It’s an easy removal using just two screws. This is of course no permanent solution but as always, if you can save yourself from a nasty situation…… knowledge is power! Enjoy the pictures and thank you Pete.

Edit: see also this post:

Locker assembly
Unlocked – microswitch with red ring is free
Locked – microswitch with red ring is engaged (hopefully)

This is how it looks like when looking under the bonnet. Notice the orange cable coming from the BCB, splitting in 3: the main part goes to the receptacle, one thin strand is the cable to this locker mechanism going over then making a U-turn into the connector and the nose opening motor, and the third strand popping forward towards the blue-red LED assembly.

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