Monday, September 21, 2015

ChargePoint Home: Connected EV Charging with Style

The ChargePoint Home 25 EVSE is the latest addition to my EVSE collection
When most electric vehicle owners think of ChargePoint, they likely are thinking about public charging infrastructure. That's because for the past five years, ChargePoint's focus has been on installing and maintaining the largest network of public EVSEs in the US, with well over 20,000 locations currently in use.

Back in 2012, ChargePoint did release an EVSE for home charging, the CT500 made by Coulomb Technologies, but it was priced a bit above the market at $2,495. At the time, it was the only home EVSE that was networked, so that was a major advantage. However, the price was prohibitively high and competitive units were selling for half of that, so the CT500 never sold in any serious volume.

That won't be the case with ChargePoint Home, ChargePoint's new entry in the home EVSE market. I've had the opportunity to test this product for a month now, before the official launch and I've been really impressed.
Options

There are two power levels offered, a 16 amp unit (The ChargePoint Home 12) and one which can deliver up to 32 amps (The ChargePoint Home 25). If you're wondering why "12" and "25" are used in the product names it is because ChargePoint is advertising that the 16 amp unit is capable of adding 12 miles of range per hour to the typical EV, and 25 miles of range per hour for the 32 amp unit. I'm not particularly fond of using that method to name them, since every EV is capable of achieving different levels of efficiency. Plus, I think it may confuse some people who think the number is the amps the EVSE is capable delivering. However, this is only the name so it's not really a big consideration.

Since I'm discussing the power delivery, this brings me to one of the few criticism I have for the new ChargePoint Home. While 32 amps is above the maximum charging limit for any currently-offered electric vehicle that isn't a Tesla or that uses a Tesla onboard charger (Mercedes B-Class ED), some of the competition is now offering 40 amp and 50 amp home charging solutions. These would be attractive for Tesla owners, and perhaps someone who wanted to future-proof their garage. I suspect ChargePoint would be ready to offer a higher powered version in the future if there are any new electric vehicles offered that can accept more than 32 amps. However, considering the current electric vehicle offerings, 32 amps is fine.

I got the optional 25' cord
After selecting whether you want the 16 amp or 32 amp EVSE, you then have the option of choosing a hard wired unit or one that plugs in. The 16 amp plug-in version uses a NEMA 6-20 outlet and the 32 amp plug-in EVSE uses a NEMA 6-50 outlet. Once that is decided you can choose the length of cable you want, but that's only if you buy the 32 amp version. For some reason, the 16 amp version only comes with a 12' cord, you cannot order it with one longer. That could be a deal breaker for some people whose garage is set up in a way that twelve feet of cable won't reach their charge port. On the other hand, the 32 amp unit comes standard with an 18' cord, and has an optional 25' cord for an additional $50. It's a bit puzzling why the lower powered unit isn't available with a longer cord, and I believe this will steer many potential customers to the higher powered EVSE, even if they originally considered the lower powered unit (maybe that's the plan!).  I did reach out to ChargePoint about this and was told that a customer can order a replacement cord of either 18' or 25' length and replace the 12' standard cord that comes with the 16 amp EVSE. I didn't get the pricing, but I assume it will cost considerably more than the $50 up-charge when you upgrade from an 18' cord to the 25'cord on a ChargePoint Home 25 (32 amp). The rep also told me that if there is demand for longer cords on the 16 amp unit, then ChargePoint will consider offering it at a later date.

Installation

Drill bit & nut driver
If you choose to go with one of the plug-in versions, you'll need to have an electrician install the appropriate outlet in your garage. The 16 amp unit requires a 20 amp, 240v dedicated circuit with a  NEMA 6-20 outlet and the 32 amp EVSE requires a 40 amp circuit with a NEMA 6-50 outlet. I chose the 32 amp hard wired one, with a 25 foot cord. Since I was replacing one of my older EVSEs with the Home unit, it was an extremely simple process, and that wasn't by accident. ChargePoint made every effort to make installing the Home EVSE as easy as possible, especially if the owner was swapping out an older EVSE for the new Home unit. In that case, it's so easy to do that the average person can probably complete the installation in less than an hour. I had mine installed in about 30 minutes. A drill bit and nut driver for the supplied wall mounting screws are even included. One aspect of the installation I found curious is that all three mounting screws run down the center of the unit, as opposed to the four corners. This could possibly cause the EVSE to rock a bit from side to side if the wall it's mounted on isn't flat. I'd prefer if the mounting screws were in the four corners, which would provide for a more secure mount on uneven surfaces.


                                  ChargePoint Home installation video

Another great feature is how compact, lightweight and portable the ChargePoint Home is. At only 11.2" by 7" it's stylish and not bulky. It has a back-lit connector holster which swivels up and down and that helps to make returning the connector to the base easy, even in the dark. If you choose the plug in version, you can easily take this EVSE with you for charging away from home. All you would need is the appropriate outlet at your destination. The ChargePoint Home is indoor and outdoor rated and is UL listed.




















The ChargePoint app displays useful charging information such as current and cumulative energy draw. You can also set a "Remind Me to Plug in" notification, so you never wake up to an uncharged EV.

Connected

Perhaps the best feature of ChargePoint Home is that it can be integrated with your ChargePoint account which allows the user access to information from the ChargePoint mobile app. This includes viewing information on the current charging session, remotely start and schedule charging, set notification reminders so you don't forget to plug in, review data on past charging sessions, and it even works with Nest thermostat products which can help save energy.

ChargePoint Home EVSE pricing starts at $499 for the Home 12 hard wired station and goes up to $749 for the Home 25 plug in station with a 25 foot cord. Full pricing details are below. ChargePoint Home has a three year warranty and is available through Amazon.

ChargePoint Home 12: 16A Hardwire station with 12' cord$499
ChargePoint Home 12: 16A Plug station with 12' cord$549
ChargePoint Home 25: 32A Hardwire station with 18' cord$649
ChargePoint Home 25: 32A Plug station with 18' cord$699
ChargePoint Home 25: 32A Hardwire station with 25' cord$699
ChargePoint Home 25: 32A Plug station with 25' cord$749
Slim, compact design


I've been using my ChargePoint Home 25 for a few weeks now and I really like it. ChargePoint has a winner with this EVSE, and I predict it will sell very well. I've been driving electric for over six years now, and I've seen the evolution of EVSE products. It's good to see the products continue to improve just as the prices continue to go down. The ChargePoint Home delivers on size, portability, quality and ease of installation. It's stylish, competitively priced, and best of all connected to the ChargePoint Network which allows the user mobile access to effective tools which can enhance their electric lifestyle. This all adds up to great news for EV owners.



Note: I received for free, one ChargePoint Home 25 EVSE from ChargePoint for testing, feedback and product review publication before the consumer launch. No other compensation was made.

29 comments:

  1. Perfect timing. I'm getting a 30kWh Leaf in a couple months so I just started looking at chargers. I think you just saved me a lot of time. Tak!

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  2. Tom, thanks for the review, looks good.

    How does this compare with your Juicebox?

    As I understand it, the JB Pro is 40A, comes with networking, has 20 foot lead and NEMA plug for $549

    Cheers,

    Mike

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    1. Great review Tom.

      How does it compare with the CT-500? Anything new?

      I have the discount for existing CT-500 users to migrate off the EVSE when the cellular network is shut down. As such, that EVSE turns "dumb" when it happens. Why they just don't sell a replacement modem for the unit is beyond me, but that's the decision facing that one EVSE in our garage.

      --Dennis

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    2. Why won't they sell a replacement modem? Because they want you to buy their new product! This happens all the time in every industry. Also, I'm sure they don't want people opening up the EVSEs, taking them apart and installing new hardware. And if they made you use a licensed electrician to do the modification it would cost nearly as much as the new unit so what's the point?

      As for the comparison, the new Home unit is much smaller, lighter and can be portable if you get it with the plug. The connector holster is illuminated so returning the connector in the dark is easy and it swivels so you can plug it straight in, which makes returning the connector to the base easy. I don't know about you, but I hated how the CT500 holster was positioned. I felt like I was twisting my writs to get the connector to snap in. It was by far the worst connector holster of and EVSE I've owned.

      My advice: Take the $250 discount and get yourself a new Home 25. For the networked info alone, you'll be happy you did.

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    3. Mike,

      I like my JuiceBox a lot. It's the only other networked EVSE I have and that's a very important feature in my opinion.

      That said, the CP Home unit has some advantages, like:

      ChargePoint is very well established and has much better tech support than eMotorWerks.

      The CP home unit is UL listed, the JuiceBox is still waiting for UL listing, though the company say's they expect it soon.

      The CP Home is visually more appealing, and I like how the cord loops around the top of the unit so you don't need a separate cord hanger.

      The CP Home has an illuminated connector holster which helps at night in a dark garage.

      One advantage the JB has is you can set the amperage the unit delivers, so you can throttle back the charge rate if you so desire, you can't do that on the CP Home.

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  3. At those prices for a network connected unit they should sell well.

    My Blink went on the blink so I replaced with a Clipper Creek 32amp unit that plugs into my 6-50 outlet. I do miss the ability to monitor charge sessions and other statistics such as monthly electricity usage.

    For me the new Chargepoint came a little late. I'll stick with my clipper creek for now. Maybe I can get a Charegpoint when we get our second EV.

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  4. Nice review, Tom! More and more good choices for EVSEs these days; I just read a review of the new 24-amp Clipper Creek HCS-30 (a power option between 16 and 32 amps).

    I think the ChargePoint unit had the three screws in a vertical line so they could all go into a stud. Otherwise, two of the screws would have to be fastened to the drywall with anchors, if they had been in four corners.

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    1. Hey Chris. Yes, that makes sense but I'm still not a fan of this anchor configuration. In many instances you can't position the EVSE right on a stud because of obstructions and you need to use anchors anyway. I know many garage walls aren't perfectly finished and aren't always nice and smooth. If you mount this on an unsmooth surface it can rock back and forth left and right with the only anchors down the centerline.

      Yes, this is a minor nitpick! I had to find some flaws though - ;)

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  5. Thanks for the review. I was waiting for this to be released as they said it was coming out in the "summer" and "real soon". I eventually gave up and got a Siemens unit.

    I would think the mounting screws are in a vertical line to allow easy mounting to a stud.

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  6. Or you could get my TucsonEV-SE, 30A with a 20ft cord for $500 from www.TucsonEV.com - Check it out!

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  7. Tom, you do a really great, thorough job with your writing.

    Any thoughts on why Chargepoint didn't offer future-proof 40A and possibly even 80A options?

    My thinking is 200 mile cars will need 10kw chargers. 200 mile cars without Supercharger access may need dual-chargers. (Pretty strong precedent supporting this)

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    1. My guess is they have been talking with the major OEMs and the feedback is they won't be selling EVs that have onboard chargers which will accept more than 30amps.

      Tesla is the ONLY manufacturer who currently makes onboard chargers that can accept more than 30amps, and Tesla includes the portable EVSE with the car, eliminating the need for their customer to buy it from a third party.

      I don't think the new wave of 200-mile EV will have onboard chargers that are more than 30amps. I think they will have 30 amp (7.2kW) onboard chargers and also DC fast charge.

      When you charge at home, the need to charge at 9.6kW vs 7.2kW is minimal since you are usually home for many hours a day. The vast majority of customers won't even realize the difference. They could use the extra speed while public charging, but there are nearly no public charging stations (yes, I know there are a few in CA) that can deliver more than 30 amps, and there aren't plans to increase that anytime soon, so the higher speed onboard charger would be rarely ever needed. 7.2kW at home and DCQC for longer journeys is most likely the way most manufacturers will go.

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    2. I actually just talked with eMW yesterday. They informed me that their sources recommend they start increasing their supply of 60A capable chargers. Meaning we could see onboard chargers capable of 15kW in a few years. This makes much more sense with the news of 200+ mile range EVs.

      I don't see why anyone would buy the Chargepoint Home. They are late to the game with an inferior product that is over-priced. Yes it may look "cool" and "stylish' but in a couple years it will be obsolete.

      For $750 (the best config of CP home), you can get a 60A Juice Box (about 50 miles added per hour in Chargepoint language) with a 20 foot charging cord AND wifi connection. You can access the EVSE via internet dashboard (computer), Android App, or IOS App that is soon to be released.

      The only caveat is that the 60A version must be hardwired. If you want a plug type then you are limited to 50A. Still better than only 32A of the CP home. There are already cars that can charge faster than that. (e.g. the Mercedes B class @ 40A)

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    3. The JuiceBox is a very good product at a great price. I've reviewed it here also and even have a link to their site on the sidebar.

      We'll disagree on home charging speed though, and if you read the article you'd see I noted the B-Class is the only EV other than Tesla currently for sale that can accept more than 30 amps - and that's only because the onboard charger is made by Tesla.

      Whether or not onboard chargers can exceed 30 amps in the coming years buying a 30 amp EVSE today doesn't mean it will be obsolete. At 7.2kW you'll be able to recharge any EV overnight since people are usually home for 10-12 hours anyway. The proliferation of public DCQC is much more important than faster onboard chargers. What good is a 15kW charger if all the public EVSEs are limited to 6kW?

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  8. "The rep also told me that if there is demand for longer cords on the 16 amp unit, then ChargePoint will consider offering it at a later date."

    There is demand... From me! This is a deal-killer for me on the ChargePoint Home EVSE. I have a plug-in hybrid with a 3.3kW on-board charger, so it doesn't make much sense to buy the bigger unit as my car won't charge any faster. $499 I would think about, $749 just to get the long cord, forget it. :(

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    1. I agree and I'd like to see them bundle the longer cords with the 16 amp unit. I really don't know why they won't. However, you wouldn't have to pay $799 for the longer cord. You could order the 16 amp unit and purchase the longer cord separately. It would still be a bit of a waste though. Hang in there, I'm guessing once the initial rush of orders are delivered, they may reconsider and offer a longer cord option, especially if customers complain about it.

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    2. May be a novel approach, but why not sell the EVSE unit and cord separately, a la carte? That way, everyone could get the cord length that works with their own situation.

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    3. That is exactly what Amazon seems to be doing. The 18' cord is $229

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  9. "...the 32 amp EVSE requires a 40 amp circuit with a NEMA 6-50 outlet."

    Doesn't a NEMA 6-50 plug require a 50A supply circuit?

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    1. No, it doesn't. They do not make 40-amp receptacles so you use the next higher size available - 50 amp ones. Most home electric ranges are on a 40-amp breaker with a 6-50 receptacle and it's legal.

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  10. Nice review, Tom. I had pre-ordered the Charpoint Home and cancelled the order and went with the Juicbox Pro 40. )_The price is lower, and connected features are cool. However, as you noted, the ability to dial down the current so I can use my 30 Amp electric circuit to deliver 24 Amp for charging was the really important feature. Saved about $200 in not having to wire a brand new 40 Amp circuit (my breaker box is on the opposite side from the garage and that is a 60 foot run.)

    A couple of negatives- the JB came with massive cables- almost the thickness of a gasoline hose! and hard to handle. I think they may actually be able to handle more than 40 Amp, but not sure. The box is not pretty and there are no indicator lights.

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  11. I just received and installed mine last week. I love it. It is so efficient, futuristic looking, and also very practical with its remote control features through the iphone. I am glad I waited and am part of this new development.

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  12. I have the JB Pro and here is the write-up I gave it after using it for a bit:

    Charger works Great. My voltage varies around 245 - 253 so I see 7Kw+ going into my 6.6Kw Focus EV. I came home the other day and it charged my Focus battery from 20% to 100% in 1 hr 56 min.

    Some Gotchas. NO indicator what-so-ever on the unit. No power indicator. No Ready, Charging, Finished - Nothing. The charger should have at an absolute minimum a Power and Charging light. If for no other reason than safety.

    My unit did not come with wall mount which is included. I called EMW and they shipped one right away. but I don't know how it was left out to begin with.

    It came much faster then the expected delivery date. This was good and bad. Bad because I was not expecting it so I missed the Saturday delivery, but got it the following Tuesday. This could have been avoided if they provided shipping details such as a tracking number.

    I appreciate being able to adjust the Charging rate. Being around EVs for years, if I am not in a hurry I prefer to charge at a lower rate to keep the stress on the batteries and charging system down.

    Although there is room for improvement I gave the charger 5 stars. To get a 10kw - 14kw charger for $600 is well worth the price. The Wifi is a plus.

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    1. The JB is definitely a good choice also. Did you read my review of that a couple months ago?
      http://bmwi3.blogspot.com/2015/06/featured-ev-product-juicebox-pro-40-evse.html

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  13. Hi Tom, I just installed this "ChargePoint Home 25: 32A Plug station with 18' cord". My car is 2015 Leaf s with 6.6 kw on board. With my new charger, the output is only 6kw. I can't figure out why it is not 6.6kw output. I used public L2 charger, the output is 6.6kw but not with my ChargePoint Home. Please advise. Thanks!

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  14. Hi Tom, I just installed this "ChargePoint Home 25: 32A Plug station with 18' cord". My car is 2015 Leaf s with 6.6 kw on board. With my new charger, the output is only 6kw. I can't figure out why it is not 6.6kw output. I used public L2 charger, the output is 6.6kw but not with my ChargePoint Home. Please advise. Thanks!

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  15. Wow that's a wonderfull blog having all details & helpful. Ul Power Cord

    ReplyDelete