Home » Here’s Why It Looks Like People Are Sticking Harry Potter Hats Onto Their Electric Cars

Here’s Why It Looks Like People Are Sticking Harry Potter Hats Onto Their Electric Cars

Sorting Hat Charger Ts
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It’s Monday and I need to publish a short blog, so I figure I may as well tell you about something I discovered on a BMW i3 forum: The Harry Potter Sorting Hat. People are installing it onto their EVs, and I’d never seen it before. So let’s talk about it.

Obviously, it’s not a literal Harry Potter Sorting Hat I’m talking about. For one, I’m not sure what the Gryffindor house would need a Hyundai Ioniq 5 for; it seems to me that brooms and Hippogriffs are more efficient ways to get around. Two, I’m not sure what Hogwarts’s EV infrastructure looks like. And three — and most importantly — Sorting Hats are fictional.

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Still, these EV Charge Port Covers look a lot like the Sorting Hat, and more importantly, I’m using the “sorting hat” analogy because my colleagues told me to call it a condom, and I didn’t want to do that since my mom is reading. I preferred “sock” or “glove,” but they thought that was boring. And so here we are, meeting in the middle, with Harry Potter Sorting Hat.

With that long-winded intro behind us, let’s talk about EV charging in the rain, because this is something many people worried about in the early EV days, and it’s still a common Google serach — “Is charging my electric car in the rain safe?” The answer is yes. Mazda, who doesn’t even make any EVs for the US market (but it does sell PHEVs), has an entire webpage devoted solely to answering this question:

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Here’s what the company has to say:

Yes, it is safe to charge an electric car in the rain. Electric vehicle charging equipment is designed to be weatherproof and meet strict battery charging safety standards as outlined by the Code of Federal Regulations and the National Electrical Code so rain or snow should not pose a risk during charging.

Mazda dives a bit deeper, writing;

The NEC, in particular, requires that EV chargers are properly installed and operated safely, including considerations for weather and rain. NEC standards may include requirements for weatherproof enclosures, waterproof connectors, and proper grounding to protect against electrical hazards caused by water exposure.

Compliance with NEC regulations helps to assure EV drivers that they’ll be protected when powering up their vehicles, even when outdoor conditions aren’t ideal.

CHARGING SAFEGUARDS

EV charging stations are engineered with safety in mind, with features like weatherproof enclosures and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), the latter of which immediately cut power when water makes close contact with live electricity.

These charging elements are also designed to resist dirt, water, dust, and other environmental factors that can affect an EV’s electrical current and ability to sustain power.

It is recommended that outdoor EV chargers have an ingress protection, or IP rating, such as IP65 or IP66, which means that charging equipment is designed to operate safely in the rain and wet areas. EV charging equipment is also made from high-quality materials that withstand exposure to moisture and adverse weather conditions and are thoroughly tested for durability.

§ 571.305 Standard No. 305; Electric-powered vehicles: electrolyte spillage and electrical shock protection.

The short of it is that the chargers themselves are designed to be water resistant; they will not start sending current to the battery until a “handshake” has taken place indicating that the charger has been inserted into the port; and even if some water gets into it all, the GFCI’s should take care of business. Here’s some more on GFCIs from OSHA:

A ground-fault occurs when there is a break in the low-resistance grounding path from a tool or electrical system. The electrical current may then take an alternative path to the ground through the user, resulting in serious injuries or death. The ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, is a fast-acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power in the event of a ground-fault within as little as 1/40 of a second. It works by comparing the amount of current going to and returning from equipment along the circuit conductors. When the amount going differs from the amount returning by approximately 5 milliamperes, the GFCI interrupts the current.

The GFCI is rated to trip quickly enough to prevent an electrical incident. If it is properly installed and maintained, this will happen as soon as the faulty tool is plugged in. If the grounding conductor is not intact or of low-impedance, the GFCI may not trip until a person provides a path. In this case, the person will receive a shock, but the GFCI should trip so quickly that the shock will not be harmful.

The GFCI will not protect you from line contact hazards (i.e. a person holding two “hot” wires, a hot and a neutral wire in each hand, or contacting an overhead power line). However, it protects against the most common form of electrical shock hazard, the ground-fault. It also protects against fires, overheating, and destruction of wire insulation.

Watch YouTuber “All EV by Steele Auto Group” put all of this to the test (We don’t recommend this):

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So with all this safety built into EV charging, what’s with the weird Harry Potter hats? Well, the Amazon seller writes that the charge port cover “blocks rain, snow and ice, particularly preventing the charging port from getting jammed with snow and ice in winter, sparing you the pain of cleaning out in the morning.”

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And indeed, the device seems to do this job nicely, per reviewers. Check out what “Alex Thimble” has to say:

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You’ll notice that the cover envelopes the entire door itself, so it’s not just the charger handle’s button that you no longer have to get unfrozen, but you don’t have to worry about the door jamming.

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The device is pretty simple; it looks like some kind of conical waterproof synthetic fabric with the larger end having a magnet running its circumference. That magnet sticks to the body of the car, closing off the big end, while the smaller opening gets closed against the charging cord via some kind of velcro strap:

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The downside to the flexible magnet is that this Sorting Hat will only work for vehicles that have steel body panels. So my BMW i3 and the Chevy Bolt EV won’t work, but the Tesla Model 3 and Bolt EUV and the Hyundai/Kia EVs should.

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Here you can see a Tesla Model 3 owner happy with their Sorting Hat:

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Here, allow me to use Google to translate that from Swedish:

This has made it so much easier for me now with snow and ice, even when it rained. it should be standard equipment for Tesla that’s how good this product is!

Anyway, I never really knew about these Charge Port covers, nor am I convinced that they’re really necessary in most places. But I guess if you get a lot of snow that could fill your charge port and make closing the door tricky — or if you live somewhere that sees ice-rain, which could make detaching the charging handle from your car hard — I could see the value. Though I’m curious how hard it is to pull this Sorting Hat off the car when it’s iced-on. And I’m curious about a review I read about scratches to the car. Hmm.

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Either way, maybe I’ve been living under a rock, but I didn’t know these were a thing. And since you may not have, either, I figured I’d share it with you.

Body images: LZSTEC Store/Amazon; Topshot image: Warner Bros. Pictures

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Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
30 days ago

So happy to see yet another reason the Cybertruck makes no sense – magnetic attachment won’t work on the stainless steel body. Ha!

DC^3
DC^3
30 days ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

So the Cybertruck makes no sense… because this product which solves a problem which doesn’t actually exist won’t work?

…except it does, because the Cybertruck is made from a ferromagnetic martensitic stainless. You can go check for yourself. There’s videos of people putting magnetic shit on them.

So this stupid product which solves a problem which doesn’t actually exist works with the stupid truck, and people are talking and reading about it because you unnecessarily brought it up for no reason. Good job.

Luvmeadeadpedal
Luvmeadeadpedal
30 days ago

Oregonian here. If I had to wait for it not to rain I wouldn’t ever be able to charge. Only issue I have ever encountered was knocking the snow out of a charge connector in a storm at the mountain. Sorting get – ha must be Californians. lol

MP81
MP81
30 days ago

My Volt has sat outside my garage, in Michigan, since March of 2017.

This is not a problem that needed solving.

Tom T
Tom T
30 days ago

Idiotic solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. I live in Canada where there is not only rain, but freezing rain, freezing snow, wet slush etc, basically any precipitation you can imagine. For 5 years I’ve never used any type of cover and think I had an issue once with some ice that got jammed in, that I quickly solved by blowing on it like a Nintendo cartridge. The annoyance of attaching one of these idiotic contraptions every single time is mind boggling and far outweighs any potential complications of not having one. Add to that the fact that your neighbors will see your moronic charging diaper and likely throw rocks at your windows in rage…

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
1 month ago

Cool, next we will need large Sombrero hats to cover our aging, leaking, german car sunroofs that we are too scared to operate lest they fail to close.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
1 month ago

Sorting Hat on a CyberTruck: “Slytherin!”

Scottingham
Scottingham
30 days ago

I dunno, it wishes it was Slytherin, but in practice every one I’ve seen in person has given off strong Hufflepuff vibes.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
1 month ago

Bloody hell, Harry!

Stoney got got (potentially)
Stoney got got (potentially)
1 month ago

DT, did you really just write “ice rain” ?

What in the fuck, dude. lol

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
1 month ago

I think he means “freezing rain”, I’m not a native English speaker so I don’t know if “ice-rain” is a proper term, but I don’t think it is.

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
1 month ago

“Wintery Mix” always bothered me in weather reports. It’s not an air freshener people, jeez.

Scone Muncher
Scone Muncher
30 days ago
Reply to  MikeInTheWoods

I always think of a bowl of snacks, like Chex Mix or Bridge Mix. Maybe containing Scotch mints and those gummy wintergreen leaves…

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
1 month ago

Is that an AI-generated young Ron Weasley?

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
1 month ago

I think that would be called a boot. That would analogous to a Nozzle Boot on a gasoline hose.

ProfPlum
ProfPlum
1 month ago

When I had a first-gen Volt, I used an old golf club bag cover I had to put over the connection when it was snowing. The Volt door wouldn’t always shut if snow got in there, so it was a PIA to clean out, and I believe some people bent their charging doors because of that.

William Sheppard
William Sheppard
1 month ago

I’ve been driving EVs for 7 years, parking outside for all of them, and literally never had this been a problem including when I lived in the snowbelt that is the Southern Tier of NY.

JTMoney555
JTMoney555
1 month ago

“I put on my wizard’s hat”
-I’m old

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  JTMoney555

And your robe!

Sarah Blikre
Sarah Blikre
25 days ago
Reply to  JTMoney555

No one ever gets it when I say “I put on my robe and wizard hat” 🙁

Dolsh
Dolsh
1 month ago

I’ve charged my Model 3 outdoors for 4 Canadian winters now (the Miata gets the garage), and would have no need for this.

Because… if you precondition the battery before going anywhere like you’re supposed to, the charge port is heated and will melt away the snow and ice. There are a couple times where it didn’t work quite as well…days where we got 6+” of snow… but it would take me way longer to remove the condom er.. wizard hat than it would to just use my hands to clear snow away.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
1 month ago

All it took was one ice storm to convince me that the Leaf arrangement needs something like this. However, instead of buying one of these we just toss an old towel over the thing. It’s enough to keep ice and snow out of the charging port area so you can actually close the door without resorting to a hair dryer.

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