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Do you have a smart EVSE

  • No

    Votes: 8 33.3%
  • Yes and I play with it all the time

    Votes: 5 20.8%
  • Yes but I never use the bells and whistles

    Votes: 6 25.0%
  • Yes and it does exactly what I want it to after setting it up with no additional input from me.

    Votes: 5 20.8%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm debating whether to get a smart or dumb EVSE. The technologist in me sees all the possibilities of knowing every detail about my Bolt's charge history, but then I wonder if it's really cool for a few months and then I never look at it again.
So do you have a Smart EVSE or a dumb one, and what do you regularly use that the Bolt doesn't already provide in the "My Chevrolet" app?
 

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We have a smart ESVE which communicates to our electric utility how and when we charge. However, we're as dumb as dirt about the features; plug in every time we park in the garage, never look at the smart features, always have hilltop reserve charge when we leave.

jack vines
 

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I would have been fine with a dumb EVSE and using the features on my 2020 Bolt to control charging times / limits. The only reason I got a smart EVSE (Juicebox 40) is because the rebate from the utility required it. I also had to provide the unique identifier for my charger. Although utility control of my EVSE is not currently part of the TOU plan requirements, I suspect they will eventually want to be able to control EV charging (either timing or power or both) as EV adoption grows.

I purchased it from Costco, so after a year (minimum TOU duration), I can always return it and replace it with a dumb EVSE if I want. EVSE's are not one of the exclusions for Costco's generous return policy.
 

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I can't really answer this (yet). I own a beta version of the Alpha EVSE from United Chargers (Grizzl-e). The Smart functionality is not activated yet.

To me, there seem to be a few things that a Smart EVSE can deliver. First is access to charging logs remotely, for the inner geek in us. Second, if the unit is OCPP capable, linking the unit to cloud services such as billing systems (if you want to offer public access for a fee), utility monitoring (for TOU rate plans), or utility demand-response control.

The ability to remotely adjust schedules is a distant benefit, I find the Bolt's scheduling adequate. But if my situation changes, I could see using the EVSE scheduling versus the Bolts, helpful for times when I may need to adjust charging schedules. Too bad myChevrolet doesn't permit more control!

Since utilities are generally not taking advantage of OCPP capabilities yet, that functionality is of limited use. For those utilities that do support OCPP, they seem to be primarily using it for data profiles, or in a few cases, TOU rate plans. But, as EV market share grows, TOU and Demand-Response could become invaluable to Utilities, and thus to EV owners.

I am working with my utility in an advisory capacity to explore EV Owner\Utility topics. So, I expect this may turn out to be useful in time.
 

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I think you would need a specific reason for it. For me, I want to get a smart/smarter evse because my Bolt does not have the ability to set a charge limit except hilltop reserve. With openevse you can calculate how many kWh you need to reach that, set it, and forget it.
 

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I didn't have at the time (or currently) any rebate/benefit from any level of authority on whether using one type of EVSE over another. Having that into consideration, I realized all I care was something reliable that worked as it was supposed to. Also I have a detached garage and couldn't easily bring WiFi. So I got a "dumb" CliperCreek (SunCountry) EVSE. It's worked perfectly over the past two years.
 

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I got a 32 amp Accell Axfast from Costco. Has a power, charging, and fault lights, that's it. I like it.
 

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Best thing I ever did was to take my stock OEM EVSE and route the J1772 cord up into the rafters of my garage and then down beside the car on a counter weighted pulley system. Makes it super easy to pull down and hook, and to unhook and let rise up out of the way.
Did you take pictures to document how you did this?

Currently, my cord sits on the garage floor, and I have been thinking of hanging it from the ceiling with hooks, then just plug the connector into the wall hanger that came with my EVSE. The cord should be long enough to do this, but a weighted pulley system might be an interesting touch.
 

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Best thing I ever did was to take my stock OEM EVSE and route the J1772 cord up into the rafters of my garage and then down beside the car on a counter weighted pulley system. Makes it super easy to pull down and hook, and to unhook and let rise up out of the way.
I did about the same thing! Cool! Makes it like a racing garage...
 

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I have a smart EVSE (JuiceBox Pro 40). Here's a screen capture of some data from my most recent charging session (the Bolt handles when to charge, and aims to be done by 8am).

34763

  • Do I absolutely need to be able to see a graph like this? No.
  • Do I think it's cool to be able to see a graph like this? Yes, absolutely.
Knowing how the charge tapers, I can also look at what the current being drawn is right now to know that charging is nearly done.

The JuiceBox can also do timed charging by only providing power at certain times, but it has no idea what the Bolt's battery percentage is, so it's basically flying blind. So that's a feature I don't want or need. If it communicated meaningfully with the car (which in principle is possible, but no Level-2 charger actually does), it'd be a different story. (The communication protocol between car and EVSE is the EVSE saying “I have this many amps you can draw”, and the car saying “Connect me to your power!” and that's it.)
 

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One other useful thing with a smart EVSE and its metering is that when I got home, my Bolt's on-screen display told me it had used 5.3 kWh from the battery, but my EVSE charging it up sent 5.83 kWh. This latter number is what I'll actually be paying for electricity (so I can work out my costs as 4 cents per mile—if I'd used the 5.3 kWh number, it'd be wrong).
 

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I have a smart EVSE, JuiceBox, and answered "I use it all the time" I am not a fan of how you phrased and bounded the questions, I would prefer that option asked Yes, and I see value in having it, or Yes and I would get a smart EVSE again. As that seems to be what you are trying to determine, if we use the features a year or two later and if we would pay the delta cost again. I don't use any of the features for delayed charging, I let the Bolt EV do that, I like the info of the charge graphs and charge history so that when someone asks "how much does it cost to charge?" I can show my exact charge history and charge cost, by week, month, and year. Very nice for charge expense tracking.
 

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Best thing I ever did was to take my stock OEM EVSE and route the J1772 cord up into the rafters of my garage and then down beside the car on a counter weighted pulley system. Makes it super easy to pull down and hook, and to unhook and let rise up out of the way.
When I thought I'd be purchasing and installing my own ESVE, I calculated siting the entire unit up on the center spine girder would shorten the run of the expensive 4-wire I mistakenly thought necessary. I bought a commercial Aero Motive BLF-9 tool counterbalance to raise/lower the J1772 plug.

When the utility offered a free smart ESVE and we only had to pay $165 for installation, we went that way. I learned the expensive 4-wire was not required for ESVEs; only a much less expensive flat 3-wire, so the additional wire would have been less than the cost of the counterbalance.

If anyone wants a high-tech racing-garage look for his charging cable, PM me.

jack vines
 

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Best thing I ever did was to take my stock OEM EVSE and route the J1772 cord up into the rafters of my garage and then down beside the car on a counter weighted pulley system. Makes it super easy to pull down and hook, and to unhook and let rise up out of the way.
Did you take pictures to document how you did this?
Here you go:
34764


This is the basic schematic of it. The double pulley at the top is to offset the counterweight away from the J1772 plug so they don't run into each other. The rope with the ring lets me pull the plug down and hold it with slack in the line while plugging in so that I never have to put any strain on the electric cable or its connection to the plug.

34765
 

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I am not a fan of how you phrased and bounded the questions, I would prefer that option asked Yes, and I see value in having it, or Yes and I would get a smart EVSE again.
Yeah, exactly. It'd be like this poll:

Do you have a Chevy Bolt?
No
Yes and I drive at least 250 miles a day!
Yes but I never charge it at home.
Yes and I've only ever used the provided Level-1 charging cable.
 

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This is the basic schematic of it. The double pulley at the top is to offset the counterweight away from the J1772 plug so they don't run into each other. The rope with the ring lets me pull the plug down and hold it with slack in the line while plugging in so that I never have to put any strain on the electric cable or its connection to the plug.
Cool, so my garage has an attic space above and drywall covering the rafters. But I bet it would work well with the weight anchored over by the EVSE and then two separate pulleys, one above the weight, the other above the charge port. My EVSE and panel are right by the passenger front corner of the Bolt.

Do you have any issues with the counterweight putting strain on the plug while connected to the Bolt? How much weight do you use?
 

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Cool, so my garage has an attic space above and drywall covering the rafters. But I bet it would work well with the weight anchored over by the EVSE and then two separate pulleys, one above the weight, the other above the charge port. My EVSE and panel are right by the passenger front corner of the Bolt.
The biggest issue in rigging everything is to avoid having the counterweight hanging down too far when you let the plug rise up - you don't want to bash your head on it. So yeah, having the weight off to one side would work great as long as you have the pulley that lets the portion of the rope clamped to the plug and electric cable located near the car.

Do you have any issues with the counterweight putting strain on the plug while connected to the Bolt? How much weight do you use?
The plug and electric cable just dangle under their own weight from where they're clamped to the rope. The rope (yellow line on my diagram above) is the only thing that runs over the pulleys and bears the force of the counter weight. The cord is clamped to the rope using a U-Bolt wire clamp.

I tried a couple of different weights until I found one that exerted just a mild upward tug on the dangling rope - because of the mechanical advantage of rigging it only exerts half of the pull on that rope. The one I settled on is 2.5 lbs.
 

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I tried a couple of different weights until I found one that exerted just a mild upward tug on the dangling rope - because of the mechanical advantage of rigging it only exerts half of the pull on that rope. The one I settled on is 2.5 lbs.
I am looking at a 2.5lb weight on my desk, leftover from my oldest kid's dumbbell set that he missed when he moved out 10 years ago. Sounds like a plan!

Yah, I figured the weight would be about a foot offset from the EVSE, right next to the wall, so when it drops down, it would be out of the way of everything.

Thanks for the tips, been thinking about doing something like this for a while now, but was thinking of just suspending the cable from a hook on the ceiling and leaving enough slack on the plug end to reach a wall hanger in front of the Bolt, and of course the Bolt charging port. The J1772 plug is on one of Grizzl-e's heavy duty cords, so it is thick and kind of heavy, so I may have to tinker and try a bit more weight on the weight end.
 
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