Tag Archives: Chargers

Chargers are us…or rather EVSEs

I seem to be collecting EVSE’s lately! A year ago when I picked up the FFE–my first plugin car of any kind–I didn’t know what EVSE to get and just got the one the power company recommended as part of their installation deal. Now today I have a small collection of them:
EVSE Collection
On the left is my original Bosch/SPX PowerXPress unit which is proving to be a little troublesome. In the middle is a Clipper Creek LCS-25P. The far right is the newest of my four EVSEs (4th is the 120V one included with the car): AnĀ EMW Juicebox.

Now I didn’t really pay for all of them:

  • The Ford EVSE comes with the car (so yeah its cost is baked into the car)
  • The Bosch/SPX unit had a tax deal where my power company paid for almost all of it
  • I did purchase the LCS-25P as a Level 2 backup to the Ford EVSE
  • The EWM Juicebox I won right here for this blog!

Yes you read that right: I’m the winner of the myevblog contest from September/October last year. The Juicebox only just arrived today–I had expected it to take some time given that it is a Kickstarter project. So I finally have something to write about other than “I won!”.

(A note about the wiring in the picture above: The Juicebox is rated for 60A and thus its two cables are quite beefy. To get it to plug into my outlet and be “compatible” with some of my options I removed the 14-50P end of the cable and put a L6-30 plug on it. Since the cable was so thick I wasn’t able to put the strain relief on–yet. With the L6-30 plug it uses the same pigtail that the LCS-25 does. I only have it set for 27A.)

Lets take a look at the vehicle connectors for the four EVSEs:
EVSE Plugs
EVSE Plugs

Left to right the connectors are: Bosch/SPX, Clipper Creek LCS-25, Juicebox, and finally the Ford “convenience cable”. A few remarks about each:

  • Bosch/SPX: This one seems to be the cheapest design. A rubber overmold over some plastic with a small hole for drainage.
  • Clipper Creek: This is a very nice connector. In the second picture you can see the green O-ring used to seal the plug against the car. The cable has a Delphi tag and part number on it.
  • Juicebox: This connector seems to be the best of all four, similar sealing to the LCS-25 and a bit more solid feeling. It even includes a rubber dust cap.
  • Ford: The Ford plug is very similar to the LCS-25 plug in design and about the same quality.

On the whole they all get the job done, some quicker than others of course. The Juicebox stands out, though, because it has some extra features:
Juicebox display

The display shows the current power consumption and charge rate (above I’m charging at 240V, 27A and the Juicebox has put in 0.1 kWh into the car for the past minute).

You can set the max current level via a menu item (even adjust it while the car is charging–the “outC+” and “outC-” shown on the display above). If I had the WiFi adapter I could also setup a charge schedule in it similar to the Value Charge schedule in the FFE.

So far after about two hours of using the Juicebox it appears to be a very nice unit–albeit a little large case but does look cool like an AA battery.

More to come after I’ve used it a while…

 

Lets take a road trip..

According to this article it is now possible to drive an EV from Detroit all the way to Montreal using only Level 2 charging. That is quite the distance; lets say though that I want to drive from Detroit to Toronto using my Focus Electric–how long would that take? (I know my wife, reading this, would look at me and say: “You want to do this don’t you?” LOL)

We’ve driven this trip before in an ICE car–it usually takes about 4 hours or so. Google calculates it out at 231 miles and 3 hours 46 minutes. How long would such a trip take in the FFE?

First lets take a look at the charger map, from the article above:
Canada charger map
If I were to take this trip on a nice spring or fall day (in the 70s F) I could expect a good 75 miles out of the car (with a little bit of reserve for driving around searching for the charge station). This means I’d have to stop and charge about 3 times for a full recharge and once to get enough to get into the city (In reality we’d probably be charging more frequently as the stations wouldn’t exactly match the point where we’d need them). Assuming the battery is completely empty after the 75 miles means our travelers would have to wait about 3.5 hours at each stop for the car to fully charge back up on the Level 2 charger. So on top of our normal 4 hour drive we’re now also waiting an additional 10.5 hours + the bit extra at the end of the trip (most likely about 45 minutes or so to get that last little bit). It is possible that the full recharge may only take 3 hours–I’ve noticed at ChargePoint stations my car seems to charge a bit faster than at my own Level 2 station perhaps the ChargePoint station is providing a little bit more current than the car asked for?? Lets say that it only takes 3 hours to charge up–now we’re talking 9 hours instead of 10.5. Even with that reduction we’re still looking at a long 13 hour day.

Thus to contemplate such a journey perhaps an overnight at a hotel somewhere in the middle might make the trip a bit more palatable (stop and pick up a play in London perhaps which is 121 miles or a charge and a half away from Detroit).

The above is exactly why EVs, at this point in time, are mostly used as commuter cars (as mine is)*. Even so, I’m always looking around for that in-city trip that can stretch the range beyond one “tank” of electrons.

* Of course the Tesla Model S with Super Chargers installed on the 401 would make the trip as simply as an ICE car can.

Update: Green Car Reports just posted this article about a long range drive with a Tesla. An interesting read–it may deserve its own blog post…