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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for a level 2 charger to purchase and use at home (I have solar, pg&e). I think, the only available incentive now is 30% coverage in federal tax.

What is the best charger that can be purchased now with a reasonable price? Does it require installation by electrician?

I see a wide range of prices at Amazon, from ~300$ to 1200$ (ChargePoint).
 

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Does it require installation? If it's a hard wired EVSE, then likely. If you aren't experienced and comfortable messing with line voltage, then you should pay someone. If you have an existing 240V outlet in your parking area, then no, just buy an EVSE that has a matching plug and plug it in. If you need an outlet installed, then there's the cost of a permit to consider as well. I installed my own outlet, but still needed the permit.

Your EV has an on-board 7.2 kW charger. This is roughly matches up to a 32 amp EVSE. You can buy a higher capacity EVSE, but it won't charge your car any faster. My PHEV only has a 3.6 kW charger, so it can only accept 16 amps. But I have a 40 amp JuiceBox Pro. It doesn't charge my car any faster, but I'm ready for the day that I trade my PHEV for an EV.

What you might get with the more expensive models (besides a major brand name) is a better warranty, and additional items like WiFi connectivity. My daughter's JuiceBox had its power cord fail after about 1 1/2 years. The immediately mailed a replacement unit, only requesting a credit card in case they didn't return the old unit. And they even received the newest, updated version, instead of the original version they had. So a good warranty isn't something to ignore. The WiFi connection has several perks. I can not only see the charging status of my EVSE (it won't tell me the state of charge of the car, no Level 2 EVSE does that), but I can see my exact power consumption by day and month, so I can accurately calculate what I spend each month to charge. Add that to my Fuelly account for tracking my gas use, I know exactly what I spend each month to drive my car.

That said, there's nothing wrong with the basic, lower cost EVSEs. I originally used a $180 16 amp EVSE that I bought at Amazon, and it worked just fine. I only got the JuiceBox because my local utility offered it for free (and I only paid 20% of the install). In return they monitor my usage patterns for 5 years, then it's my property. If it fails during those 5 years, they'll replace it for me. Couldn't turn down a deal like that.
 

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If you have an outlet and unit is "hardwire", not difficult to "pigtail" a plug into the unit to be able to plug it in to outlet.

I got a Blink charger from Amazon with a 25% code that Blink will send you if you register with them. It is great bang for the buck and you are eligible to get $100 of blink credit (unfortunately the credit is only good for one year). I pigtailed a 15-50 plug into it to use with my 220v outlet.
 

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I purchased a Juice Box 40 pro. I had to pay a licensed electrician to install a 50 am outlet as well as a 50 amp gfi breaker. I had to get the breaker box upgraded so that required city inspection as well.

I future proofed the installation as I can upgrade to a 80 amp later is needed.

i chose the Juice Box Pro because it can connect to the homes WiFi and give me usage reports as well in the future it can share the same circuit as the first one.

The EV6 looks very tempting to replace my K900.
 

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I have only one issue with my JuiceBox, in that I can't enter the times that my utility would prefer I charge. It allows for a single timespan, but I have two separate preferred time blocks. And on weekends I have no restrictions. They offer me a $10 credit for the month if I remain within those blocks, but I've only gotten it once since it was installed. Since I rarely spend more than $15 per month on electricity for the car, it's too bad I can't hit those times, as their credit would cover the majority of my cost.

If I had the EV, I could get away with only programming the overnight time period. But with the PHEV, it needs charging throughout the day to provide me the best chance to drive in EV only mode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have only one 240V outlet on the garage wall that I can share it between washer, drier and EV charger (connect only one tool at any time). Therefore, I do not need to pay for installation. But it seems that I need to upgrade the circuit breaker (the primary electrical supply seems to be up to 135A but on the circuit breaker box, I see a note of 20A only). It seems that it also uses both copper and aluminum in the circuit breaker that might need to replace all aluminum with copper. I do a few researches but it seems that I need to pay a licensed electrician to upgrade the circuit breaker and check GFI. I also need to request a permit/investigation from the city before using the charger (California).

I have not purchased the charger yet. I assume that I should pursue to the electician/city permit first and afterward, purchase the charger (~32 Amp).
 

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I have only one 240V outlet on the garage wall that I can share it between washer, drier and EV charger (connect only one tool at any time). Therefore, I do not need to pay for installation. But it seems that I need to upgrade the circuit breaker (the primary electrical supply seems to be up to 135A but on the circuit breaker box, I see a note of 20A only). It seems that it also uses both copper and aluminum in the circuit breaker that might need to replace all aluminum with copper. I do a few researches but it seems that I need to pay a licensed electrician to upgrade the circuit breaker and check GFI. I also need to request a permit/investigation from the city before using the charger (California).

I have not purchased the charger yet. I assume that I should pursue to the electrician/city permit first and afterward, purchase the charger (~32 Amp).
Many 240v dryer circuits are only 30 amp, so not sufficient for a 32 amp EVSE. You'd have to manually restrict the EVSE to around 25 amps. Not all EVSEs have such a setting, so something to check for. And if it is a 30 amp circuit, you'd have to run a new, larger gauge cable from the outlet to the breaker box. 10 gauge wire is good for 30 amps, but you need 8 gauge for 40 amp and 6 gauge for 50 amp. Better off just adding a new 40 amp circuit. That's assuming your existing service will support the new circuit along with running the existing load. Only an electrician examining your breaker box could say for sure. You might ask your utility company if they would give you a no cost inspection to determine what, if any, changes might be necessary.

Most homes built in the last 40 years or so usually have a 200 amp service installed. If yours it truly only 135 amp, depending on your existing electrical load it might need a complete upgrade. My home is over 31 years old, and even though I have a gas dryer, water heater, and furnace, it still has a 200 amp service. I didn't spec it that way when we had it built, that's just what they installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Many thanks for the notes. The house was built 40 years ago and it is strange that the current limit is only 125A (the 20A note on the circuit breaker box was for solar). The 240V washer/dryer current limit is 30A only.

I see whether there is a free or cheap inspection service can be available to upgrade the dryer circuit to 40A or more. If I go for an upgrade, I may go for 50A or more to support Tesla or other EVs (in case that I possibly change car in future).
 

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200 amp services became more common in the 80s. We had our home built in 1990, and even though we had gas heat and dryers, the builder still put in a 200 amp box. That might have been because I required a 50 amp circuit for a hot tub and a 30 amp circuit for an RV parking space. Never did set up the RV pad, although I used the circuit for my basement and pool power. After 25 years I removed the hot tub and used that circuit for my car charger.

I doubt a 30a circuit has large enough wiring to bump it to 50a. They would need to pull a new wire, which may or may not be an easy thing to do. But yes, I consider a 50a circuit as worth spending a bit more on, as there are now many EVs that support charging at 8 kW or more. For example, the VW ID.4 can charge at 11 kW, which would require a 60a circuit. But it would still charge at about 10 kW with a 50a circuit and an EVSE that can output 42 amps.
 

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Many 240v dryer circuits are only 30 amp, so not sufficient for a 32 amp EVSE. You'd have to manually restrict the EVSE to around 25 amps.
FWIW, the code says for long term power draw that only 80% of the circuit rating can be used so a 30A circuit can allow 24A.
 

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FWIW, the code says for long term power draw that only 80% of the circuit rating can be used so a 30A circuit can allow 24A.
Ok, so I rounded it up an amp :p

But yes, that was what I was basing my reduction on. I wasn't certain of the exact percentage, so thanks for that.
 
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