This is why carmakers and other companies have designed ways for a car to be charged in the convenience of one's own home. People could easily leave an electric car plugged in overnight, in their own garage, to have it primed and ready in the morning.
But this requires additional hardware like home electric vehicle chargers that mostly need to be installed by licensed professionals. And if the installation part can be taken care of with a single phone call, choosing one EV home charger over another can prove to be a very time-consuming and confusing task.
There are now nearly 150 companies on the market that make home chargers, over 20 of them present on the U.S. market alone according to EV Trader, and nearly all making more than one charger model. That makes the task of selecting the best one is very difficult.
Since the specs for EV home chargers can be confusing for the untrained owners, relying on information passed along by other consumers is essential in determining the best solution for each particular case.
A great deal of the chargers now on the market are available to purchase online, especially on Amazon, and that helps a bit because buyers can take into account the reviews of other users and learn one or two extra things about their product before pressing the order button.
The most convenient solution for EV owners, aside for the portable one that generally comes with the car, are Level 2 chargers, the ones that deliver between 12 and 60 miles of range per hour.
Affordable, generally reliable and easy to install, Level 2 home chargers are among the most sought after. The five you are about to read below are some of the best offers available right now.
JuiceBox Pro 40 – Priced from $619, the JuiceBox Pro 40 is a Level 2 home charger that offers 10 kW of charging via a J1772 plug. The system comes with a 24-foot cable and can be installed both indoors and outdoors, measuring 10 x 6 x 3 inches in size.
As will most other available chargers, this one too comes with its own dedicated smartphone app that allows remote scheduling, energy metering, notifications, and LED charging light indicators – the unit has no built-in indicators, so an app is essential to know the charge state of the battery. Voice control using an Amazon Echo or Alexa device is also possible.
According to its manufacturer, it can charge all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles available, including Teslas, when using the adapter provided by the carmaker. As per the reviews of the product, a 2015 BMW i3, for instance, gets a full battery in 3.5 hours.
ChargePoint CPH25-P – A tad cheaper than the JuiceBox, at $599, the ChargePoint CPH25-P comes as a plug-in station for indoor installation and as a hardwired one for outdoor installation. Available with charging cable length from 18 to 25 feet, this level 2 station will provide EV owners with 25 miles of range per hour.
It too can be controlled using an app that allows access to charging functions, ChargePoint’s public charging network, reminders, and voice control using with an Amazon Echo or Alexa device.
ChargePoint recommends the charger for all EVs and plug-ins, including BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Fiat 500e or Tesla Model S and X.
The ChargePoint is generally viewed as easy to install, thanks to the detailed user guide, but to able to register it in the ChargePoint network one needs to have a payment method set up on the producer's website.
ClipperCreek HCS-40 – Starting at $565, this ClipperCreek provides level 2 charging at 7.7 kW and can be used especially for the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, and BMW i3, among many others, as its manufacturer says it can be used with all EVs and plug-ins currently on the market.
It can be installed both inside the house and outside (e.g., the garden) and comes with the standard 25 feet of charging cable. The charger measures 9 x 5.3 x 19.7 inches and requires hardwired installation. No app is needed or available for this unit.
Some users have reported being able to charge the Nissan Leaf for instance to full in about two hours at 7.7 kW.
Blink HQ – From $399 you can go for the Blink HQ, a Level 2 charger that can be used for charging most EVs and PHEVs currently on the market, including all the Tesla models, the Toyota Prius or the Volkswagen e-Golf.
The charger, which measures 21 x 9 x 21 inches, comes with a cable that is shorter than the other chargers detailed here, only 18 feet. There is no need for an application to operate the charger.
The Blink HQ is seen as simple to install, and the price paid for it includes a $300 Blink Network charging credit. Unfortunately, the company seems to have poorly explained how users can place the credit into their Blink account for later use.
GoPlug Pro – This is a charger that can be installed both indoor and outdoor and can be purchased for $499. It comes with a 25-foot cable and is among the smallest units included in this list, measuring 8.8 x 5.2 x 3.3 inches in size.
The GoPlug can be used with most of the electric and plug-in cars currently on the market, including the Chevrolet Bolt, Honda Clarity, and all three Tesla models. The Chevy Bolt, for instance, needs about two hours to get a full battery charge.
The GoPlug Pro is an open source charger and comes with only the simplest of software and hardware.