My current charging routine involves popping the hood, pulling out the charging cable, snaking it to and through the back door, plugging into the 120 VAC outlet in the laundry room, returning outside to flip on the charging cable switch box, and then finally retiring inside for dinner. All that back-and-forth is getting old. What I need is a permanent charging solution that allows me to simply connect and leave. So I did a bit of research on residential charging stations. A few of those listed below have some nice features, including timed charging, auto restart, and adjustable output levels. Several units not listed include smart meter integration and wireless connectivity, but for a steep price. Below are the most affordable residential charging stations currently on the market as of July 2014:
. Leviton – EVB55-3HF – 32 amp, 240 VAC, Level 2, Indoor/Outdoor, $849.
Leviton – Evr-Green #002-EVC11-300 – 12 Amp, 120 VAC, Level 1, Indoor/Outdoor, portable, $599.
. Eaton – Pow-R-Station #EVSEL230HNBW – 30 Amp, 240 VAC, Level 2, Indoor/Outdoor, $1175.
. Siemens – Versacharge #VC30BLKB – 30 Amp, 240 VAC, Level 2, Indoor/Outdoor (rather large), time-delay charging, $699.
. Schneider – EVlink #EV2430WS – 30 Amp, 240 VAC, Level 2, Indoor, auto-restart, advanced metering option, $804.
. Legrand – EV Charging Station #L2EVSE30 – 30 Amp, 240 VAC, Level 2, Indoor/Outdoor, auto-restart, $749.
. GE – Watt Station #EVWSWBC-CP01 – 30 Amp, 240 VAC, Level 2, Indoor/Outdoor (rather large), $799.
. ClipperCreek – HCS-40 – 30 Amp, 240 VAC, Level 2, Indoor/Outdoor, $590.
. ClipperCreek – LCS-25 – 25 Amp, 240 VAC, Level 2, Indoor/Outdoor, $514.
. TucsonEV – TucsonEV-SE – 20 Amp, 120 VAC, Level 1, or 30 Amp, 240 VAC, Level 2, Indoor/Outdoor, $600.
. Aerovironment – EVSE-RS – 30 Amp, 240 VAC, Level 2, Indoor/Outdoor, auto-restart (This is the charger officially issued with the Nissan Leaf), $799 .
. Bosch – Power Max 30A – 30 Amp, 240VAC, Level 2, Indoor/Outdoor, $593.
Given the wide variety of charging stations available, I chose the LCS-25 from Clipper Creek due to a few factors: It’s Level 2 capable, it’s waterproof and designed for outdoor mounting, it has the smallest footprint of them all, and it was discounted $200, making it the least expensive Level 2 station out there. Also, ClipperCreek has been in this business for a while (formerly known as EVI), with current clients like Nissan, Ford and Tesla. I ordered the LCS-25 immediately.
My charging station came via UPS Ground in a surprisingly small parcel. Here is a shot of the deboxing. This unit will be permanently mounted on the side of my house near the end of the driveway. Since my EV was verified by the Sacramento DMV and the registration and title updated to electric, there is a chance I might qualify for a federal tax credit for a portion of charging station cost and installation.
. Even though the unit is sealed and waterproof, I enrolled my pal Fordy to create a mini kiosk that would shelter the charging station from the elements while mounted on the outside of the house. It appears Fordy picked out a nice poplar.
Here is the kiosk mounted on an outside wall at the back gate of the driveway, with the wood primed and protected. That orange tile was a leftover from our front porch reconstruction, and is the perfect size for the kiosk. A 220 VAC line was run from the breaker box on the other side of the house, along the crawlspace under the floor, and then through a cripple wall to emerge under the charging station. That square patch under the kiosk is covering a hole created to fish the 220 supply line up through the inside of the wall.
Here is the end product, with the holster installed on a custom block under the awning, and the “fishing hole” finished over with stucco. Charging is now very convenient – I plug the car in, cover it, and go in the house. Nothing more is required. To boot, the battery pack is now charging with 220 VAC, which shaves a few hours from the charge cycle. I’m quite happy with how it turned out.