When Benjamin Franklin first discovered the wonder that is lighting and electricity, no one could dream of or even fathom the revolution it was going to bring forth hundreds of years later. Through his daring venture, we can now enjoy the fruits of technology through modern car systems such as the remote car starter
and the revolutionary radar detector
We can all smile because the future looks bright. We all dreamed of reducing carbon emission and having environmentally friendly vehicles that are devoid of harmful fossil fuel, and this has been made a reality by electric vehicles.
If you own one already, congratulations, because you are part of the future we hope for! But wait, how do you recharge your EV? Notably, electric vehicles come fitted with 110 or 120-volt charging cables. Just like the modern jumpstarters
, some of the electric vehicle chargers are portable enough to be carried in your vehicle. In terms of time however, the strain and inconvenience that comes with these chargers taking forever to recharge your vehicle can be unbearable. So, what’s the alternative? Hail the level two charging stations that can catalyze the charging time of your electric giant up to 6 times the time taken by conventional charging systems!
Isn’t it interesting how these charging systems have come to be loosely referred to as ‘electric vehicle chargers’ or simply car chargers? Well, to set the record straight, an electric vehicle charger actually comes alongside the vehicle. Here we are talking about the wall-mounted or portable system comprising of a cord, box, and plug, otherwise called an Electric Vehicle Service Equipment or simply EVSE. So, don’t sweat it much when you come across this and wonder if it’s the same system you are looking to help charge your EV.
When looking to buy an EVSE, it’s important that you figure out the type to go for. Notably, there are two main types of electric car chargers: Hardwired station and plug-in unit. A hardwired station
comprises of flexible conduits measuring about three feet and usually comes from the bottom or top of the station based on the model in question. Typically, hardwired stations are permanent once installed. Well, of course they can be moved and installed elsewhere, but this will call for the expertise of an electrician to do so. On the other hand, a plug-in
unit doesn’t have the conduit but features a 12-inch, 240V plug and can be mounted anywhere since they’re portable.
Where applicable, a portable charging station is preferable over fixed installations because you can still use it while on the move; further, it’s advisable that you go for 40 amps or higher. With the current competitions between EV utilities, most of them have special rates for EV owners, proving it wise to watch for such offers. However, at the end of the day, the choice on which EVSE is ideal for you will depend on your driving needs and a clear understanding of your EV.
The fact that you have an electric car is evidence enough that you understand the importance of paying the price for quality. It’s no different when it comes to an electric vehicle charger since its price is a depiction of its quality. You don’t want to fall for a cheap electric vehicle charger since most of these are imitations that may end up damaging your vehicle’s charging system in the long run.
Notably, some of the factors that influence the price of a car charger include portability, size, power, and connectivity. As such, you can expect the price of a good electric car charger to cost between $350 for the basic versions and $700 for advanced versions with additional features such as WiFi connectivity and connector holsters.
However, it should be noted that these prices don’t include installation and you can expect to dig deeper into your pocket to cater for this. While installation prices may not be substantially high, it will all boil down to the type of installation being done, the complexity of its wiring, and the configuration of the whole system.
Electric car chargers come in different designs, shapes, and makes. The same applies to its features, but there are notable common features you can expect to find in an EVSE. We’ve made it our business to give you a list of features that a notable electric car charger ought to have.
These are the important features you can expect to find in an EVSE:
- Amperage Capacity
- Length of Charging Cable
- Physical Size
Now we can look at these features in detail in the following sections.
Construction and Design
As a rule of thumb, it’s advisable to buy an EVSE that can handle 30 amps at the least. The higher the amp capacity, the better the additional miles of range per hour. Further, while most hybrids don’t necessarily appreciate the faster rate, getting an electric car charger with higher amperage ensures that you don’t have to worry about upgrading in case you buy a new EV with a much faster onboard charger.
Electric car chargers come with cables of considerable length, with common ones being between 15 and 25 feet. The length of your charging cable will most likely depend on your parking location in relation to where the EVSE will be installed or mounted. Your electrician can then run a few feet of conduit based on where you’ve located your charging station.
Electric car chargers are typically more convenient for you if they’re portable. There are many options for permanent installation, though the best EVSEs are those that can be moved easily based on the situation at hand. For better portability, an electrician mounts a NEMA 14-50 outlet before putting in a matching plug. This makes it much easier when moving. All you have to do is unplug it and plug it into another outlet.
Performance and Ease of Use
While it may not be a ‘must-have’ for an electric car charger to work properly, a WiFi connection is essential in terms of making the whole process much easier. WiFi-enabled EVSEs have meters, timers, touch screens, and other worthy capabilities that help monitor the dynamic charging process over the internet.
When it comes to size, charging stations can be small, large, light, or heavy, and all for a good reason. For those with larger garages, going for bigger stations can be ideal, since this means more power and better stability for the whole system. However, smaller and lighter chargers have recently been preferred due to their ease in portability.
For better protection from the elements, a good EVSE ought to have an enclosure for those that are outdoor-rated and indoor-rated. To top it off, you may want to have a roof on top to keep your outdoor-rated charger protected from falling objects as well as harsh weather conditions.
An EVSE can only be as efficient as its wiring network and power. For more flexibility, wiring should be done with 50-amp cables to avoid the need for replacement in case you acquire a car that charges much faster in the future.
An electric vehicle charger cannot be ideal if it doesn’t leave room for constant upgrades, so our suggestion is this: Always get the latest version possible. Having armed yourself with the most vital consideration factors, it’s now time to put it to practice. Let’s take a look at each of the five selected models in detail.
There you have it! We hope that we have done justice to this review and put you in a better position to make a sound decision for your preferred electric vehicle charger. Get the future of electric vehicles into your own hands by getting the best electric vehicle charger stations in the market. In case you didn’t find what you hoped for, don’t worry; you can still check out other options from these verified brands.