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After-Market Industry Responds with Accessories for Electric Cars

TeslaAccessories.com offers an insert to make the Model S’s central console more useful.

Many car owners love to accessorize their ride. The automobile aftermarket industry is huge, as evidenced by the massive trade show run by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) in Las Vegas every year. As more plug-in vehicles hit the market, we should expect a commensurate number of accessories specifically designed for zero-emissions vehicles. It’s already starting.
Panasonic EVSE

Panasonic EVSE

One of the leading accessories for the Nissan LEAF and some other electric cars is to upgrade the portable charging cord set (provided with the vehicle) so it can handle 240 volts at three kilowatts or more. Car makers include portable charging units capable of “Level 1” charging (120 volts and 1.2 kilowatts or so) suggesting they be used only when there’s no other option. However, most of the units are capable of more power—enough to reduce a full charge from close to a day, to the four or so hours via a 240 volt 30-amp power outlet. The upgrade service is handled through EVSEupgrade.com.

You send in the portable charging unit that came with the car, which they upgrade and send it back. EVSEupgrade.com also sells that same charging unit outright, without a trade-in. That one can handle up to 20 amps, making it a 5 kilowatt portable charger.
Clipper Creek LCS-25

Clipper Creek LCS-25

Another option is the LCS-25 made by Clipper Creek. While it is intended by the manufacturer to be wall-mounted in a garage, it is small (11” L x 4” W x 3” D) and light enough (9 pounds) to be carried in the car. Rather than follow the instructions which come with the LCS-25, and hard-wire it to your garage, you could easily attach a plug to the end of the pigtail, making it a semi-portable charger that supports up to 20-amps, or about 5 kilowatts. (Use your own discretion when making these choices.)

Still one more choice for a portable high-power EVSE is OpenEVSE, an open source hardware project that utilizes the J1772 connector standard. This is D.I.Y. territory—what you buy is a bare board and a bag full of parts that you solder together yourself. Obviously this choice is not for everyone. Options and instructions are on the OpenEVSE website.
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