A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Inexpensive Charging Equipment: Comparing JuiceBox, OpenEVSE and EVSEUpgrade

Most plug-in car owners buy a home charging station. Manufacturers often partner with charging equipment makers, bundling the hardware with installation and other assistance. But some buyers don’t like the price—or prefer a DIY approach (that can result in a lower cost plus enhanced features and greater portability). Low-cost alternatives are available in the electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) market, including a couple of open source DIY models.

Upgraded Nissan line-cord EVSE; notice the NEMA L6-30 plug on the cord

One option is to upgrade the line-cord EVSE that’s bundled, for free, with all electric cars. Out of the box, these units plug into 120-volt outlets and provide a 1-kilowatt charging rate that can take a full day to juice up a car. While slow, they are useful in a pinch. Some EV owners find they can survive by just using the 120 volt line-cord EVSE, and completely skipping an expensive EVSE. What’s less well known is that those line-cord EVSE’s can be upgraded to run at 240 volts, and up to 5 kilowatts charge rate.

EVSE Upgrade is a popular service that performs line-cord EVSE upgrades, for less than $300. You send your existing line-cord EVSE to them. They convert the charger to have a beefier plug and cord, and make internal changes to allow use at 240 volts and to support a 3.3 kilowatt or even 4.8 kilowatt charge rate depending on the EVSE. That’s similar to the charge rate of a regular EVSE, meaning you’ll end up with a portable EVSE. You’ll still need access to a 240-volt power outlet. It’s straightforward to hire an electrician to install one at a very low cost, and sometimes 240-volt outlets can be found in public, such as at RV parks.
Image 05

EMW’s JuiceBox

Recently, Electric Motor Werks (EMW) announced the JuiceBox, an open source kit for building EVSE’s, that’s also available pre-assembled for a higher price. “Open source” means all the instructions and software source are available so you can build your own, if you wish. EMW is making the kit and pre-assembled versions available for an excellent price, well below the price of EVSEs from the major manufacturers. The JuiceBox, by supporting charge rates as high as 15 kilowatts, is more powerful than most EVSEs on the market.


Leave a Reply