Charging issues at chargers with our Mitsubishi Minicab MIEV – error code P101C
This is a post to document issues with fast chargers and our van and progress made understanding them.
We have had our Miev Minicab for nearly 5 years now, and have done well over 50,000kms. We love the car and the way it performs, but every now and then an issue comes up. I feel they are all related, but each time something crops up, it’s slightly different to the last time.
So let’s quickly summarise what has happened.
Right back at the start, when we knew almost nothing about the car and charging it we had our first problem. One or two Delta 25kW DC fast chargers refused to recognise the car correctly, and threw error codes on the charger. The car was fine, just would not charge. Being 4 years ago, the chargers were Chargenet chargers, specifically the Churton Park New World and Silverstream New World. Both were easily resolved, a call to Chargenet while at the charger saw the technician at the end of the line remotely update the software on these chargers, reboot the charger, and we were able to charge. I don’t think this happened at any other Delta chargers, and hasn’t happened since.
On our first long road trip we arrived at Little River on the way to Akaroa and plugged into the ABB 75 kW DC charger there. We attempted to charge to 95% as we were heading over to Akaroa. The charger got to about 75%, and threw a communication error at the charger. Being inexperienced I assumed it was a glitch and attempted to reconnect and complete the charge. Eventually I got it up to over 80%, but there was something wrong. When we got in the car, a warning light was showing (yellow car with exclamation mark through it) which did not clear. We read up on the internet, and found a post that suggested plugging the car into another fast charger to clear the code. The car ran perfectly normally, just this big yellow warning light. We thought that maybe it was because the battery was hot after along drive and multiple fast charges, but after cooling overnight, nothing changed. A couple of days later we charged at a Chargenet Tritium charger at Halswell, which cleared the error on the car, and charged normally.
A few months later, we had a similar issue at the ABB 75kW charger at Waipukurau in the Hawkes Bay, and charging at a Chargenet Tritium Charger in Napier fixed the issue again, and after a few more months, heading north in the South Island on day 18 of this trip , the ABB 75kW at Raikaia stopped after just 5% charge, and charging at Lincoln New World on a Tritium charger fixed the issue.
Fast forward a few years with no issues. Recently Z, bp, Meridian (Zero), Thundergrid and Chargenet have been installing Tritium 75kW chargers, and while there weren’t many of them in the Wellington area for a while, they are starting to get more common. So a few weeks ago I thought I would try one out, and selected the bp Lower Hutt unit. I struggled a bit with the app and using my credit card, but eventually got it to work, and ended the charge at about 80%, all looked normal on the charger , but the yellow warning light was back on the van and after a few metres of driving it was also obvious that the van was in Turtle mode, restricted to about 45kph, and no regen braking (scary after 5 years of regen braking). We drove around looking for a Tritium 50kW charger (not in use) to try, having tried a Zero 24kW charger, but neither the Zero charger or the Chargenet Tritium recognised the car was connected, so would not charge! By now we had quite a low charge, and a long drive home.
Fortunately it was mid week, and the charger we were at was at Pak’n’Save in Petone, which is literally 100 metres from Thomsen Automotive in Gear St, Petone. These guys have a really good reputation on the Facebook EV groups, so we limped over to them and threw ourselves on their mercy! After a garbled description of the problem from me and my wife, they attached a diagnostic tool and found an error code indicating “welded contacts” on a relay. However in some cases this is a false error code, so I persuaded them to clear the error codes and the vehicle worked fine. Really big thanks to these heroes, we got home and have charged normally from then on, until today.
Knowing that it was likely I would eventually have to use one of these chargers again, or a Z or Chargenet version, I downloaded an app called Car Scanner Pro from the Google Play Store. This app has car profiles for many electric vehicles, including Leafs and Mitsubishi iMievs. My car has the same running gear at the iMiev, and the software worked fine on the van and the OBDLink LE OBDii dongle, including reading diagnostic error codes. So I was ready to try again.
Yesterday a new 75kW charger appeared on Plugshare and the BP app, at bp Mana, just a few kms from my home. I thought it was worth the risk trying it, as I could limp home in Turtle mode from there (having done it with a flat battery in the past). So I plugged into it, and this time I had the app and my payment method all sorted out, and charging was a doddle. I ended the charge at about 80%, and everything looked good until I got in the car, and the big yellow waning light was back. So while I put the car through the car wash, I used Car Scanner Pro to read all the error codes.
The important one here is the last one, P101C. But I hit the clear button, and the warning light disappeared in front of my eyes. Brilliant! This means if I can’t find a 25kW or 50kW charger while out on my travels, I can use a 75kW and know I can fix the error code if or when it happens.
This link https://www.myoutlanderphev.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5882 describes the issue and is the best write up I have found so far. This is for the Outlander PHEV, but there are similarities between the MIEV used in the Minicab, the iMiev and the Outlander.
The original post contains this :-
Finally persuaded a fast charger to work (way to go Oz). It stopped charging about 20 minutes in, at about 80%. Car then displayed EV SYSTEM ERROR. Would not switch to EV Mode, could not switch on cruise control and power was cut to around 50-60%. Good times. Still was working as an EV and hybrid.
Limped home and oddly the 240V charger still works. Dialed up TOrque App and found DTC P101C. I cleared it a couple of times but it came back. A bit of interwebbing turned up a Technical Service Bulletin explaining that this relates to a fast charge abnormal current detection fault which can be rectified by a software update.
While this doesn’t match all of my symptoms, and clearing the codes works for me, the part about the “fast charge abnormal current detection fault” seems relevant, given the history of my van shutting down chargers. Charge rates from the chargers mentioned above were either higher than expected (the ABB chargers) or much lower than expected (the bp chargers) and lack of communication between charger and car seems to be a factor. Interesting that in one case upgrading the car software fixed the problem, even though I read the original post as the charger needed a software update. It may be that updating the car software reset the error codes temporarily, and may not be a fix at all.
Later in the post, the following was added:-
For a 2019 model, the P101C code indicates that the Negative Quick Charge Contactor has welded shut, from the FSM:
The PHEV-ECU sets diagnosis code No. P101B or P101C when the quick charging contactor (P) or (N) is stuck.
If either of diagnosis code No. P101B or P101C is set, the motor output will be restricted and quick charging will be disabled.
If diagnosis code Nos. P101B and P101C are set simultaneously, “Ready” will be disabled.
If you disconnect or strike the quick charging connector during quick charging, diagnosis code Nos. P1B02, P1B03 and P1AFE may be set simultaneously.
If the diagnosis codes are set only when you use a certain quick charger, the quick charger may be faulty.
Malfunction of quick charging contactor (P) or (N)
There are several cases on the internet of a diagnoses of welded contacts being made (on iMievs), and much expensive work being done to remedy them. Eventually the error codes raise their heads again, and the diagnoses was probably wrong. But the line “If the diagnosis codes are set only when you use a certain quick charger, the quick charger may be faulty.” indicates that the issue can be pinned down to the Quick Charger in some cases.
Previously faults has been caused by the DC chargers requiring a software update, and I have asked bp to look into this. I need to try the Z station chargers, and if I can find one also try the Chargenet chargers.
With regards updating the cars software, if I can find someone to upgrade the software on my MIEV Minicab, I may give that a try too.
Update 3rd August 2023.
Yesterday I charged at a Z service station’s Tritium 75kW charger, and the same error occurred, and was easily reset. So its not just the bp units. So now I have to try the Meridian units, and the chargenet ones when I find one. I tried a Thundergrid unit at Moore Wilson’s in Masterton a few weeks ago, and I had to reset the DTCs there too.
I also found this link to a PDF of the Tech Services Bulletin from Mitsubishi about a similar error in 2016 1-MIEVs, which is probably more relevant than the Outlander PHEV one above. It gives detailed instructions on how to upgrade the ECU software, and specifies a particular ECU part number 9486A013. However, the ECU on my van is a 9486A108, so I have no idea if it can be done. On the MIEV van the ECU is under the panel that would support the rear seat if there was one. Its the top box in the photo below. The other box may be the BMU, which I read somewhere is external to the battery (which has Cell Monitoring Units aka CMUs on each group of cells).
The document actually echoes what the BP call centre guy said, which is that the disconnection from the charger was done while still communicating with the van. I know this is not true, so I still think there is an issue with the chargers. Good news is I am happier resetting the P101C DTC, as it is a software only thing, not welded contacts or similar.
My next call may be to Tritium who manufacture these chargers.