A buyer’s guide to electric vehicle charging
While many people charge their electric vehicles (EVs) at work, most EV owners also purchase electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), more commonly known as charging stations, for their homes. There are a lot of EVSEs on the market which may make it daunting to select one. Here are some factors to think about when you are buying a charging station such as charging speed, installation location, and size as well as other important considerations like ease of use, cost, and carbon footprint.
There are three levels of chargers which correspond to different rates of electricity delivered to your car. Level 1 chargers take the most time to charge, many of which may not even provide a full charge if left overnight. DC Fast chargers provide the quickest charge, however these are very expensive and therefore are not usually used in residential settings. Level 2 chargers are the most practical for most EV drivers, offering fast charging speed, wiring options (plug in or hardwired), and other user-friendly features. For this reason, this article will focus on helping you through the process of selecting your own level 2 charger.
There are some charging stations that may provide more power (measured in amperes or “amps”) than your electric vehicle’s onboard charging system can accept, like the JuiceBox Pro 40. This is far from a problem; in fact, by investing in a charger with a higher capacity, you are future-proofing your purchase so that as technology improves, and you buy a car (or a friend visits) with faster charging capacity, you can continue to use the same JuiceBox Pro without requiring an upgrade.
While many people have garages, some may need to install their charging station outdoors where it is less protected from the elements. When buying a charging station, pay attention to its durability while exposed to sun, wind, and water. Look for a device that is outdoor rated (NEMA 4) and select one like the JuiceBox Pro, which is both UL and NEMA 4 rated and features a durable case that is both fireproof and waterproof.
When installing your charging station, look for the right location, which is often limited by the EV charger’s cable length. With its 24 foot cord, longer than most charging stations of comparable price, the JuiceBox Pro gives greater flexibility over where it can be installed.
EVSEs vary in size, with some quite large and others small, or even portable. Determine where you want to locate your charging station and choose a model that fits in the available space. Most charging stations are too big and bulky to move, or require hardwiring by an electrician, but the JuiceBox Pro with its compact size, NEMA 14-50 plug (dryer/RV outlet) and easy-mount design, is easy to install and can be removed from its wall mount allowing you to take it with you on your travels or when you move.
No one wants to spend hours installing a charging station. Many people often hire electricians to install their EVSEs. Installation costs can vary and should be taken into account when purchasing a charger. The JuiceBox Pro 40 is easy to install because it comes standard with a 14-50 NEMA compatible plug that works in a standard dryer or RV outlet, or it can even be plugged into a regular 120V wall outlet using an adapter. eMotorWerks provides an easy installation guide and if you’d prefer to have a professional installer, you can refer to this list of recommended installers.
Many people have trouble with the circuits in their houses not being able to support level 2 chargers. Most chargers are set at pre-set power levels, which means that you may have to upgrade your electrical panel to install them. However, the JuiceBox Pro allows you to set the power level of your device easily right from the app or web dashboard so that it matches your home electrical wiring capacity.
An added feature of having a smart EVSE like any of eMotorWerks’ JuiceNet-enabled stations (e.g. JuiceBox, Clipper Creek JuiceNet edition, or Aerovironment JuiceNet edition) is that it can perform circuit “load balancing” if you ever have more than one EVSE on a single electrical circuit. That means the two (or more) charging stations will be aware of each other’s charging rate and will adjust downward, if necessary, to prevent circuit breakers from tripping.
EVSEs may have complicated displays or apps that may make it difficult to control or view charging information. While JuiceBox will work just like any non-connected, “dumb” station without using the app, with the free JuiceNet app, JuiceBox owners can easily view important charging details. The app can also schedule or start a charging session, adjust power ratings, set time of use charging, etc. The JuiceBox Pro is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, which enables owners to control charging with simple voice commands and with Google Home to receive status about charging.
The JuiceBox Pro is enabled to work on your home WiFi network, which allows you easy access to all of the details and functions of your device from both your mobile phone and your personal computer or tablet. Through the simple and intuitive app and dashboard, you can control everything, including initiating or stopping charging, setting up reminders, charging schedules, and viewing charging history. Everything you need to know about your device is easily accessible from one easy app!
Utility electric rates vary at different times of the day, depending on the overall grid usage. As EVs require a lot of electricity, it can be expensive if you charge your car at peak times. However, with JuiceNet SmartGrid EV Charging, a feature of the JuiceBox Pro that uses your home WiFi, your EVSE communicates with our servers and charges your car automatically during the off-peak times that you select. This saves you money and reduces the toll on the power grid.
If you don’t use a smart charger, your EV can contribute significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than it needs to. At any given time, the electric grid is supplied by a mix of electricity from different sources, which include nonrenewable energy like coal power plants and clean energy from solar and wind power. JuiceNet Green, a cloud software feature that can be added to a purchase of a JuiceBox Pro, is aware of what mix is currently powering the grid and can shift charging time (for instance from midnight to 2am when more wind is available) to maximize charging when more renewable energy is being produced for the grid, greatly reducing the carbon footprint of charging your EV.
Purchasing an electric vehicle is the first step in contributing to an exciting future of innovation and a cleaner environment. EVs are continuing to be developed and improved, and EVSEs are no different. You’ve made the right choice in choosing an EV, and you should be sure to make a great choice in choosing your charger as well. If you have any questions about EVSEs, contact eMotorWerks at 1-844-584-2329 or contact us.
If you are having trouble with your EVSE, it is very useful to have a company which will provide excellent customer service, which can be a huge time-saver because often the issue is a very simple fix! If you have any problems with the JuiceBox Pro, eMotorWerks provides access to excellent and efficient customer service representatives who are able to answer any of your questions via phone, chat or email.