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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to electric cars -- this will be my first one.

What are the best charger options out there right now? Here's a review of a model preferred by Chevy Volt owners:

 

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I didn't realize you could go out and choose which charger to buy. I assumed that each charger just comes with the vehicle so that it is specific to each car company.
 

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It makes sense, just like how you can buy aftermarket chargers for some devices, the same should be for automobiles, chargers themselves are a market. Just look at the variations and bundles of chargers for other specific things out there, then you'll get a bigger picture for how that can work into the automotive game.
 

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The EVSE (Electric Vehicle Service Equipment) is not a "charger", just an intelligent "extension" that talks to the EV before allowing AC power to enter its onboard charger. All use the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) J1772 standard. Level 1 is 120 VAC up to 12 Amps (1.5 kW). Level 2 is 240 VAC and up to 30 Amps (7.2 kW). The Volt and most other EVs have an onboard 3.3 kW charger and the others use up to 6.6 kW. You don't have to use the EVSE supplied by the manufacturer. You can buy third party manufacturer, a kit (EMW JuiceBox which I have), or build your own (Open EVSE) for less than $200.

The Tesla Motors Model S can use any J1772 EVSE or its propietary DC charger, and most of the Asian imported BEVs use the CHAdeMO DC charger (not compatible with SAE standard). The rest, including the Chevy Spark EV, will use the SAE J1772 Combo DC charger (up to 25 kW). As a preview what the Chevy Bolt may have for DC charging, here is the link for the 2015 Chevy Spark EV Owner Manual:
http://www.chevrolet.com/content/dam/Chevrolet/northamerica/usa/nscwebsite/en/Home/Ownership/Manuals and Videos/02_pdf/2015-spark-ev-owners-manual.pdf

Read chapter 9 (Driving and Operating) and see pages 9-34 to 9-36 for the J1772 DC Combo charging that all North American BEVs (including the Bolt) will have.

Do web searches on the SAE J1772 standard, EMW (Electric Motor Werks), and Open EVSE for more information.
 

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Thanks for that information, vital stuff to know.
Always thought they would need to standardize these chargers, since like anything similar to it, it just makes sense than to say... have a specific charger per model.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@Raymondjram thank you for the informative post -- I'm still learning this EV world.


I mean to ask then, what are the best EVSE options out there? I think Home Depot carries a few...any opinions everyone?
 

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We have to thank the SAE for this setup because it would be a hassle to charge one brand of EV with just its propietary charger (which is what Tesla Motors is doing), and be careful on how to charge. Many of us have mobile devices (tablets, MP3 players, smartphones, etc) that usually come with their own chargers, and in the past that hassle existed. Now, thanks to Intel and the USB (Universal Serial Bus) we have a common serial interface and a power source, too, although limited to 5 VDC and 3 amps (up to 15 watts). Only a few others, such as Apple, continue to use a propietary charger/interface, yet some manufactures do produce an interface cable that allows Apple devices to use a USB charger.

The SAE J1772 standard is an AC device that complies with safety regulations, and the EV determines how much power to take in. That is why the EVSE is an "intelligent" power cable/extension, and each EV than has its own onboard charger (AC to DC converter) instead of an external one. The EVSE "talks" to the EV first, then they negociate the power level (current) to charge with. But a BEV, having very large battery packs, will take too much time to do a full charge (the Spark takes 16 hours) with a Level 1 EVSE. DC charging using another standard will allow full charges in a few hours or partial charges in minutes, suppling much more power. The connector is different (see the Spark EV link above) but SAE has defined how it will operate safely.

Future gasoline stations will be converted to DC fast charging, so we can travel some distances and recharge at these stations as we still do now to refuel with gasoline. Tesla Motors did one better by establishing their own network of Supercharger stations, which are free for Model S and X owners. That may change later as more TM vehicles take on the roads, but they are the pioneers. I wish GM would either start up their DC charging at their dealers, or negociate with TM to share the Superchargers with GM BEVs. We will see what happens after the Bolt begins selling.
 

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Tesla more than likely did that as an incentive, giving folks more of a reason to consider a Tesla, smart branding and growth technique, sometimes you have to take a short term loss for long term gain, setting the foundation.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again for another informative post. Your post, along with the posts of others, are greatly helping me understand EVs. Glad this forum is available for all of us to congregate.
 

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Thanks again for another informative post. Your post, along with the posts of others, are greatly helping me understand EVs. Glad this forum is available for all of us to congregate.
It helps to know this stuff in advance to owning an EV, lots of great info on these boards.
 

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To be clear, Teslas are sold with an included J1772 adapter to be able to use public charging stations. Their "standard" connector is proprietary. You can also purchase CHAdeMO DC fast-charge adapters, but it seems a little silly considering Tesla's geographic coverage with its Supercharger network is already pretty superior to any other network.
 

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I have a Clipper Creek EVSE for my Volt. Like anything else you'll get different recommendations but I've been happy with mine.

The Bolt has an onboard 7.2 kW charger so you'll probably want an EVSE capable of supplying the full 7.2 kW. The Clipper Creek HCS-40 or HCS-40P are examples.
 

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GM have formally stated that they (GM) will not negociate nor support the Tesla Motors Superchargers. The 2017 Chevy Bolt EV will have an onboard 7.2 kW charger, so a Level 2 EVSE can charge it quickly (up to 8 hours overnight for a fully discharged battery). The SAE DC fast charging feature will be optional (I wish it was mandatory) and will be seen in the Bolt EV's charge port as an orange cap covering the DC port. Up to now this is rated at 50 kW so a fully discharged battery can take in up to 80% (40 kW) in less than an hour and the rest as a trickle charge if left plugged in.

We need to read the final AC and Dc charging specifications when the Bolt EV begins production in October. My home EVSE is already set at 7.2 kW and I can build my own DC fast charger if I buy two BEVs with large batteries.
 

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The CCS charger option on the Spark was only $750, I believe, so that's a reasonable price for the option, but I agree. It should be standard on the Bolt.
 

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The CCS charger option on the Spark was only $750, I believe, so that's a reasonable price for the option, but I agree. It should be standard on the Bolt.
Should but they know people who really want it will buy it since it's basically an investment. Easy way to get people to pay.
 

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With such a large-capacity battery, I'd consider it mandatory.
The way I see it, manual chargers where you have to mess around with a cord should be standard or at least the cheapest option. Charging mat style charger is what they'll charge for. I want it all to be included, but considering their end, where there's a want over need, profit is to be made.
 

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How much would a Level 2 EVSE cost? I've read that capable and durable EVSE will cost around $600 to $700.
Also, anyone know anything about ClipperCreek HCS-40? It's not pretty but apparently they come highly recommended.
 

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When I first leased my leaf in 2013 I went with the leviton charger. Purchased at Home Depot for around $700. I was also able to get the federal tax credits for it as well. I got the model that's not hard wired so when I move I can take it with me. The only hassle was getting a 240 volt outlet installed in my garage which was something like $400 by an electrician. Never had an issue with the Leviton and they come with a decent warranty. Hope I can use it with my next EV whether it's a bolt or Tesla. Here's a link to their EVSE products.
http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/SectionDisplay.jsp?section=37818&minisite=10251
 
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