Home EV charging stations become more popular, easier to install
One of the biggest obstacles to EV adoption is concern about home charging. At first, home charging stations cost thousands of dollars and required extensive work to connect to a home's electrical system. Now a new generation of charging stations can plug directly into existing 240-Volt outlets, and cost much less than previous solutions.
New products from companies such as AmazingE, Amazon Basics, Chargepoint, and Enel X allow homeowners to plug a 240-volt Level 2 charging station into an existing outlet, enabling full EV charging in minutes. The Enel X product retails for about $619, priced competitively with the comparable ChargePoint device at $649. The Amazon Basics and AmazingE products cost less, but also deliver less amperage and will take longer to deliver a charge.
Depending on the unit purchased, total charging power ranges from about 16 amps up to 50 amps. Compatible plug formats include the American standards for both clothes dryers and electric stoves.
Before ordering any home charging station, be sure the outlet you plan to use has adequate amperage and is installed and functioning according to all relevant electrical codes. Consult a professional electrician if you're not sure. Also, note the plug style of your outlet and make sure the charging station you purchase has a compatible plug or adapter.
To test the ease of installation and function, we recently installed an Enel X JuiceBox into an existing 50 Amp 240-Volt circuit. The JuiceBox may be ordered with an optional 30 Amp plug format adapter. When plugged into the 50 Amp circuit, the JuiceBox delivers about 40 Amps of charging capability through a standard SAE-J1772 connector.
Installation takes about 10 minutes, and involves installing a metal support bracket to a wooden stud. The JuiceBox unit weighs about 15 pounds, including the cord and connector. The wall unit hangs on the bracket with a keyed lock to prevent theft.
All brands of wall units have short cords, and so must be installed within about 2 feet of the outlet. However, the cords for the EV charging plugs can be up to 25 feet long, so the charging stations can be located some distance from the EV parking space. The Enel X box is weatherproof, so it may be installed indoors or outside, but some brands are limited to indoor locations. Once plugged in, a home charging station is ready to use.
A phone app is available from Enel X to monitor and control charging activity, and the JuiceBox can be connected to a home WiFi network for desktop monitoring. If your home is controlled with an Amazon Alexa, Echo, or Google Home device, the JuiceBox will also respond to voice commands through those devices.
If an EV is part of your transportation plan, the options available for home charging have never been more accessible or affordable.
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