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I have been doing some reading here and still feel a bit fuzzy on what to get. I can convert the included charger to 240 volts and get 12 amps of juice. I understand that the Bolt only registers a maximum of 32 amps of charge, so there is no benefit now for going over that. I have an electrician friend who is going to put in a 240 plug for me, so that helps. My gut instinct is to get a 32 amp charger: but which is the best value choice in that range? It These chargers are expensive. The brands Clipper Creek and Juicebox are mentioned a lot in the forums: there are an awful lot of non-name brands for chargers on Amazon.

What about the decision to install hardwired vs. plug-in? In terms of the plug in option, it seems like there are a considerable number of different plugs available for 240 volts.


Thanks for your input!

Jim
 

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Jim,

It may depend where you live. Her in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada the most prevalent charger in the public (free to use) forum is Chargepoint. Given the use of charger specific RFID cards this seems like the best bet for me. At the level and cost we are considering for charger installation in our building the features are quite similar. We are also considering FLO chargers. While we are not excluding other manufacturers, these seem to be the front runners right now. Hope this helps.
 

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As a point of clarity, the "charger" is built into the car.

The most flexibility is offered by having your electrician install a 14-50 receptacle. This should be on a 40 (or even 50) amp circuit. Almost every EVSE sold will have this plug as an option. The advantage over a plug vs. hardwire solution is that it is much easier to take it with you if you move (or take a road trip where you might want to plug in at a campground, etc).

My experience with the cheap (mostly Chinese) electronics often found on eBay/Amazon/Harbor Freight is mixed (at best). YMMV
 

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I went with ClipperCreek HCS-40P ('P' is pluggable) with a NEMA 14-50 outlet. There is speculation that there is some efficiency cost to having it be plugable, but I'm not sure that's the case. If that were true you'd think the outlet would heat up, which I haven't noticed. At least in theory I like knowing that I could take it with me, or move it to another house, camping, or whatever. ClipperCreek is a solid, safe, certified unit, but without features, such as WiFi, that are not important to me.

Also in favor of plugable is that occasionally, like less than once a week, the EVSE flakes out with a red light either indicating a "Power Fault" or "Charging Fault". Being able to reset it by unplugging it and plugging it back in is nice. My understand is that the EVSE is designed to error on the side of caution and is therefore quite sensitive to certain power fluctuations, so the red light is not as bad as one might think.

If you want a company to handle everything for you, including recommending a charger, I'm quite happy with the service Smart Charge America provided.
 

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I just noticed the "convert the included charger to 240 volts" part of your comment. Is that just an adapter so you can plug it into a 240V outlet? Is it documented somewhere that that is safe?
 

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As a point of clarity, the "charger" is built into the car.

The most flexibility is offered by having your electrician install a 14-50 receptacle. This should be on a 40 (or even 50) amp circuit. Almost every EVSE sold will have this plug as an option. The advantage over a plug vs. hardwire solution is that it is much easier to take it with you if you move (or take a road trip where you might want to plug in at a campground, etc).

My experience with the cheap (mostly Chinese) electronics often found on eBay/Amazon/Harbor Freight is mixed (at best). YMMV
A specific quote here - Duc's statement of at least 40 amps is very important. Do not put in a 32A circuit and expect the car to draw 32A without issue. That rating is for short-term usage - your car will charge for a long time, and is therefore a long or constant draw. In those cases, you want to have the constant draw be 80% of the rating of the line - that way you avoid issues of overheating and possible breaker trips. Thus, a 40A line is considered the bare-minimum (80% of 40 is 32) for an EV installation.

Outside of that - I'd love to see more discussion on the benefits of plug-in versus installed. I assume one of the benefits of plug-in is that you can take it with you on road trips, but I would like to hear what people actually do - I have an installation coming up in December and would love to know more about the options.
 

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Elasticmedia,

I had the same question as you when I bought my Bolt.

First. I recommend a 1450 Plug as opposed to hardwired. If your charger goes KAPUT then you do not need to rewire a new charger. Think about it. Not that it would ever happen but it is nice to have. There is no loss in the plug vs the hardwire or at least none that you would care about.

As for the Level 2 chargers...you have the usual assortment from Juicebox, EVSE, Clipper Creek and others. Each have different features but as another forum member stated early on, they all essentially do the same thing...and they are expensive.

If you plan on charging Level 2 away from your home then the size of the unit is something to consider. And as a wise forum member pointed out, it would be a shame to have a $500 charger "disappear"...he recommended driving on the cord so that no one could steal a charger which I thought was interesting as opposed to putting a flimsy lock that most charger handles come with.

I charge away from home at work for free. I have a 1450 plug in Clipper Creek unit at home which is quality and trouble free. It works great as all the name brands probably do. But it is big...and not at all portable.

So I then began my research and came up with 3 good portable options as none of the major players offer anything good in this segment. First is the Zencar 32 amp portable charger but it was around $389 and offered little support if things go wrong. Second was Jakalya which is the same as the Zencar and close to the same price...again 32 amps and around the same money. Third was a small independent builder out of Georgia that I found. It is called the EV Power Plug and available on EBay. His was simple and works. It is priced at around $240+$18 shipping which is well south of anything else on the market. It is 32 amps also. I bought his unit and have been very pleased so far. Simple and it works great on the Bolt. I use it as my portable as it is only 6" by 6" and light.

Look for my review in the Chevy Bolt "EV Marketplace" in this forum under the "forums" banner. All the information is there for you to consider. It is small enough to use as a portable.

In fact I like the simplicity of it so much that I should have bought that unit first and then decided if I needed a second name brand unit...saving myself $600.

Note that none of the small portable 32A units are UL listed or CSA approved. That is the main difference between them.

By using a 14-50 plug, if one unit fails, I have the second as a backup. That is why you should install the plug as opposed to hardwired.

As for the GM supplied charger unit conversion...forget that. It is not worth the money to convert when you consider you can get a simple 32 Amp charger for $250. And even after you convert it, it is not even close to 32 amps...so it is a big waste of time.

Hope this helps.
 

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If you're going to mount it to the wall then get hardwired as it will be marginally more efficient and safer. Why use a plug when you will never remove it?

I have ClipperCreek HCS-40, HCS-40 + JuiceBox integration, and a JuiceBox Pro. Both are good, the CC has thinner cables (get a touch warmer) but are easier the manage. I really like the cable/holster management of the CC. The JB uses chunky cables that are more difficult to manage, but has the nice cloud interface.

The best of both worlds in my view is the ClipperCreek HCS-40 with the JuiceBox addition. You get all the physical usability of ClipperCreek and the software usability of JuiceBox.
 

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I did a hard-wired installation of my Juicebox Pro because I already had an outdoor junction box with a 240V circuit. Installing the Juicebox was just a matter of removing a knockout and screwing down 3 terminal blocks. I don't plan on removing it regularly so there was no need to waste the time and space to install a receptacle.
 

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...I can convert the included charger to 240 volts and get 12 amps of juice...
Just as a clarification you don't need to modify the EVSE cord that comes with the Bolt - you can just make or buy an adapter that plugs into a 240V outlet and has a 120V-style plug that you can plug the EVSE into. This lets you use it on either 120V or 240V as need be.

My plan is to install a "charger" in my garage and also make an adapter for the EVSE that comes with the Bolt. I'll throw the adapter and the Bolt's EVSE into the trunk of the car so that I have the ability to charge from a 120V or 240V outlet when I'm out and about. I may end up buying a better portable EVSE, but that'll do me to start with.
 

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I went with a Clipper Creek LCS 30P w/ a Nema 14-30 plug for my garage. I did not have enough available amperage in my circuits to handle the 40P. Charges quickly enough for home use and neither the CC box or cable gets warm.

My system was installed by the local Solar Power company that installed my solar panels. Ran circuit, plug in and supplied the CC unit at retail......no sales tax due to WA state incentives.
 

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For home charging, I bought the Chargepoint 240 volt charger with a 6-50 plug and had an electrician install a 40 amp circuit in my garage. The Chargepoint charger talks to my home Nest thermostat, although I am not sure that is particularly useful. So far, I have found that the Nest simply reports the number of hours the charger was used per month, rather than the kWh. However, the charger itself reports the kWh drawn and the time it took to charge that number of Kwh. So, I have a complete history of the kWhs my car has absorbed at home since I bought it. Of course, half my charging has been done on long distance journeys, so that is reported separately by EVgo, and other charging services. I wish the car would keep all this information.
As for the portable charger that Chevy provides, its only good for 120 volts as configured, so I have hidden that in a deep dark part of my garage, hopefully never to find it again, or to include if my love affair with the Chevy Bolt EV abates and I need to sell it. Instead, I bought a converted Tesla Universal Mobile Charger (UMC) from Quick Charge Power (QCP). They installed a J-1772 plug instead of the Tesla plug, and all sorts of adapters are available from QCP and Tesla to allow the charger to be plugged into just about any socket you can think of. I have the following adapters: 10-30 (240 volt old-type dryer socket), 14-50 (240 volt, for RV campground type sockets), 5-15 (regular 120 volt), 14-30 (240 volt new-type dryer socket, and RV campgrounds), 6-50 (240 volts, socket often used for welders). There are others that can be bought from Tesla and QCP. These adapters all communicate with the car to ensure the correct current is drawn from the socket.
I have also bought a 40 ft J-1772 extension cord from QCP just in case an ICE vehicle blocks my access to a charger, and a J-1772 to Tesla adapter that allows me to use a 240 volt Tesla charger at hotels and such like while on the road.
None of this stuff came cheap, so my pocket is still burning, but I have covered all bases.
 

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If you're going to mount it to the wall then get hardwired as it will be marginally more efficient and safer. Why use a plug when you will never remove it?
Safer? I think not (at least to any measurable degree). And "marginally more efficient" is an exaggeration. You'd save more by unplugging most EVSE's when they are not in use than the loss attributable to the plug.

Hardwiring a non UL/ETL listed box could be problematic (permit, insurance, etc). I would consider a cheap uncertified hardwired unit to be a much greater risk than a plugged in UL/CSA/ETL EVSE.

Another advantage to a plug-in is that in lightning prone areas it can be unplugged and remove virtually all chance of lightning damage to the EVSE.
 

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hardwired 240 volt appliances like this require a near by "cut off" for most building codes - you simply turn off a hardwired EVSE by throwing it's cut off switch or breaker - I do it all the time.

NEMA 14-50 residential grade plugs are not made for plug-unplug-replug cycles, - there are multiple reports on the Tesla forums of people doing this and over time the plug becomes loose causing a problem since loose connections cause the plug to have "play" in it and the electrical connections are not as strong, adding to resistance and potential heat build up or arc'ing

get a high quality 32 amp (40 amp circuit) EVSE from clipper creek, Tesla, or Juice box and you'll be fine - if you get a pluggable EVSE find some other way of turning it off rather than unplugging it every day.

I did learn with my EVSE that they take 8 watts "idle" - 8 * 24 - or 0.192 kWh/day - or 5.76 kWh/month - so there is a savings to be had to turn them "off"...even though they take very very low wattage when not in use.
 

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also EVSE's don't fail that often - if you have problems where you need to replace your EVSE often - buy a different EVSE…they should be like water heaters, ovens or any other high cost/hight voltage appliance - they aren't something that you maintain or expect to swap out a lot

in fact because of that I recommend "overbuying" your EVSE and buying a high quality 48/50/70 AMP EVSE to allow greater charging rates for your future EV's which may not be limited to 32 amps like the Bolt. But know there are differing opinions on that and I respect those difference.

Buy it once, install it once, use it every day and forget about it.
 

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h
NEMA 14-50 residential grade plugs are not made for plug-unplug-replug cycles, - there are multiple reports on the Tesla forums of people doing this and over time the plug becomes loose causing a problem since loose connections cause the plug to have "play" in it and the electrical connections are not as strong, adding to resistance and potential heat build up or arc'ing

I did learn with my EVSE that they take 8 watts "idle" - 8 * 24 - or 0.192 kWh/day - or 5.76 kWh/month - so there is a savings to be had to turn them "off"...even though they take very very low wattage when not in use.
First, its interesting that your EVSE takes 192 watts per day. That is a little high, but it encourages me to check the idle usage of my Chargepoint charger. It is in wireless communication with my network, and has a neat blue light that glows.....
I suspect the Tesla people you mention are using the Tesla (UMC) portable charger at home instead of the non-portable version. Why are they unplugging it all the time is a bit of a mystery, but it maybe that they are using it for both home and portable charging so they don't have to buy two devices. Mind you, those Tesla cars are somewhat expensive, so why can't the owners afford two devices? I have come across a couple of chargers on the road that have J-1772 connectors that are flaky due to repeated use. Any plug, if used a lot is likely to need replacing.
I never unplug my Chargepoint charger, nor do I throw the breaker in a storm, although I have made sure my house is well grounded. I have ground posts all over the place grounding my circuits, my TV antennas etc. Nevertheless, the advantage of a pluggable device is that it can be replaced trivially, and you can unplug it and use the plug for something else if need be, either transiently or for future permanent use. It is usual to have major appliances hard wired into home circuits, for example water heaters, whole house heating and cooling, etc, but not usually dryers, washing machines, cooking stoves etc. All these things tend to be plugged in all the time, which is why the sockets they use are not really designed to be constantly plugged and unplugged. Even house 120v sockets tend to become beat up eventually and need to be replaced.
 

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I'm a power "fiend" since I have solar - I wanted to learn where all my power was going I have purchased and often use: volt meters, circuit monitors and anything that shows me my power usage...

what I have found is basically if something as a "light" on it - LED or otherwise - it takes 4-8 watts to sit there and do nothing…there are very very few items that take less than 4 watts or are truly off if they have a circuit board in them…TV's/Computer Monitors are the worse with many taking 10-20 watts while they are "off"…

network switches are my next favorite target - with them taking 10-15 watts to keep my home's giga-bit ether net flowing for streaming video to all the TV's that take 10-20 watts when off ;-)
 

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First, its interesting that your EVSE takes 192 watts per day. That is a little high, but it encourages me to check the idle usage of my Chargepoint charger. It is in wireless communication with my network, and has a neat blue light that glows.....
given that it has a WiFi radio and "light" - I'd be surprised if it takes less than 12 watts when "idle"

12 * 24 = .288 kWh * 30 = 8.64 kWh/month

I'd love to hear back.

I know my clipper creek 60 amp J-1772 charger took 4 watts when idle.
 

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I'm a power "fiend" since I have solar - I wanted to learn where all my power was going I have purchased and often use: volt meters, circuit monitors and anything that shows me my power usage...
;-)
Yes, me too, but I do need to buy a current monitor. I have an 12.8 kW solar system on my roof; after I installed that it encouraged me to buy a Bolt EV. There is something truly magical about charging my car from solar energy. I have a device called "sense" that monitors all my electrical usage at the main electrical panel. It is a pattern recognition device, often called machine learning, or something like that, and it looks for the electrical signature of particular appliances and identifies them with the help of your input. Its working quite well, but its a child really.... takes a while, and it makes mistakes.
 
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