The Electric BMW i3: EV Charging Product Review Update: eMotorWerks JuiceBox Pro 40

Luckily, there are some really good choices on the market
now, and the prices for home EVSEs are considerably less than they were when I
first started driving electric in 2009. Back then, the only level 2 home EVSEs
that I would recommend were from Clipper Creek. Clipper Creek still makes very
good products, and I still recommend them, but the competition is getting
better all of the time, and one company in particular, eMotorWerks has rapidly climbing
to the top of home EV charging market. 

Before I get into the review, I’d first like to explain some
basic EV charging levels and terminology. This applies to charging in North
America, as electric supply is different for most European countries.

EVSE: Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. These are quite
often called “chargers” or “charging stations.” That really
isn’t the correct terminology though, because they don’t actually charge
the car. They really just supply the electricity safely, from the power source
to the vehicle. The actual charging equipment is built into the electric cars.
Some EVSEs are portable, while others are hard wired and permanently installed. 

 Every electric car sold or leased in the US that isn’t
a Tesla comes with a Level 1 portable EVSE. Some manufacturers, like BMW, call
it an “occasional use charger.” Level 1 EVSEs can be plugged into a
simple 120-volt household outlet and typically charge at 6, 8 or 12 amps. Tesla
doesn’t bother supplying their customers with a basic Level 1, 120-volt EVSE,
because their vehicles have such large batteries that they would take very long
to slow-charge on 120 volts. For that reason, every Tesla comes standard with a
portable 240-volt EVSE for more robust charging at home or on the road. 

 Level 2 EVSEs charge at 240 volts and most of the time
are permanently installed in a garage or public parking lot. However, recently
some manufacturers have been selling portable 240-volt EVSEs, allowing the
owner the flexibility of using the equipment at home as well as on the road,
provided they can find a 240 volt outlet that they can plug into. 

 DC Quick Charge or DC Fast Charge. DC fast charge
allows rapid charging of electric vehicles, enabling long distance travel with
little inconvenience. DC Quick Charge stations can charge many EVs up to 80%
full in about 30 minutes, but are not something an individual would buy for
home use because of the cost and required 480 volt electric supply. These units
are very expensive and are only just beginning to really proliferate. Unlike
Level 1 and 2 charging, there are multiple connectors used by different
manufacturers, as a single standard hasn’t been established yet. 

Some people live fine with their EV charging solely with the
supplied 120-volt portable EVSE. However, most owners will prefer using a 240-volt
EVSE, so that they can charge much faster, enabling the vehicle to be driven
more miles if needed. For example, a basic 120-volt EVSE will replenish about 4
to 5 miles of range per hour. A standard 30-amp 240-volt Level 2 EVSE will add
20 to 30 miles of range per hour to the typical EV. That can make the
difference of being able to use the car or not on some days.

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