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Charging Nissan LEAF or an Electric Car in The Rain: One Thing To Beware of

One of the first questions that electric car buyers ask is can you charge an electric car like Nissan LEAF or Tesla Model S in the rain. This is a much discussed topic in Nissan LEAF and Tesla forums. Here is what owners say and what you should know about charging and EV in the rain. Why you should beware of older outlets.

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The general words is "yes." Every EV can be charged in the rain, unless the owner's manual has specific warning about it. Before you do it check your manual or call the dear and ask.

"Absolutely, no worries, you will be fine. I turn my blue cap for the end of the charger so that it faces downward so when I cover it when the charge is done, it doesn't provide a source of water in the charger," writes a LEAF owner Dave in Nissan LEAF Owners Group.

Alan, another LEAF owner says "don't let the wall outlet end get too wet, though."

This is a good and important point about not letting the wall outlet to get too much wet. "Older outdoor outlets are not watertight if a cord is plugged in. If you plan to do a lot of trickle charging make sure the outlet is in a sheltered location or has a cover that keeps the rain off even with a cord plugged in. I wouldn't worry about it for occasional use. New covers are about $15 and install easily," writes Bill in the same group.

Here is another feedback from a Tesla owner from Chicago. "I live in Chicago and took delivery 12/24/2012. I live in a 3 unit condo building with gated parking in the back. The car is outdoors in the rain and snow connected to the UMC and a 240 volt 14-50 plug. No problems, and no worries. Just be sure to give it a good shove, so it is connected nice and tight. If it can be done in Chicago, California should be a piece of cake," writes a forum user named GoTeslaChicago.

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What has been your experience of charging your EV in the rain?

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RobSez (not verified)    June 10, 2016 - 5:24PM

I've charged my Nissan Leaf in the rain many times with no issues at all. I am careful not to get water into the charging port, but that's it. I wouldn't try to plug in during a deluge, but otherwise, it's no big deal.

Tim Egger (not verified)    June 11, 2016 - 1:14PM

The LEAF manual states one should not stand in snow or water when charging. According to the manual you shouldn't do this. But this would be a major hurdle. Why therefore Nissan writes this?

Roger Smith (not verified)    February 23, 2017 - 1:38PM

Well, the owner's manuals can seem very cautionary about this, especially when charging at home. I have a carport that can get very wet and do NOT want to burn my house down. This is one reason I didn't buy a Prius Prime PHEV for 2017 (plus the plug on the car is on the "wrong side" where it could often be exposed to rain directly when charging.

I want to see more real world data on this for home charging, and to know that manufacturers say it's OK, and that my home insurer and electrician says this is OK (my electrician is an EE and actually understands the physics behind the electrical system, not just a handyman who can do electrical work) before doing this at home.

I have friends who had their condo burned down by a neighbor who plugged in a gold cart "near" a puddle. Just because someone self-interested says "It's OK" doesn't mean they'll rebuild your house or pay your medical bills.

These electric cars charging even at level one (with a proper circuit) are pulling a significant amount of juice, which can generate a LOT of heat in some circumstances.

David Paul Zimmerman (not verified)    March 23, 2020 - 2:58PM

We recently acquired a 2016 Nissan Leaf SV. I live in Ohio.Central Ohio, the "rain alley" of the Midwest. I have noticed one design issue and it is with, of all things, the Nissan Logo that is attached to the middle of the charge port door cover. The logo has two places to catch water, both above and below the Nissan name in the horizontal center. These depressions catch several tablespoons worth of water when the door is in a level to the ground position, which I leave it in as it keeps the most rain from entering the charge port area. To unplug the Nissan after a rain. I need to carefully unplug without distributing the level position of the door as raising it all the way up dumps several tablespoons of water into the charge port area. My wife said, "just remember to wipe it out before raising it after a rain" and she is right, that will work. Being engineering minded.though, I thought, what if the depressions were filled with clear plastic or a plastic domed cover were fitted over the logo? Even better, a whole logo designed by Nissan that does not harbor two water catching basins! Has anyone else noticed this and come up with a solution?