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An Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) is a box that supplies electricity to an Electric Vehicle (EV). Almost all EVs natively support the same J1772 standard for charging, and thus all commercial EVSEs also support that standard (see sidebar for Teslas). The EVSE does several things:

  • First, it has a cord and a standardized plug/handle for connecting to the EV.
  • Second, it provides safety features. The EVSE handle will not energize with the high power needed to charge the car unless its low power control pins detect that it is firmly plugged into a car.
  • Third, the EVSE tells the car how much power it can give the car. That way the car won't try to draw more power than the electrical breaker the EVSE is connected to can handle.

As a new EV owner, you typically need to buy and install your own EVSE in your garage, or outdoors where you park your car (EVSEs typically are outdoor rated, but check this if yours will be installed outdoors).

EVSEs can be bought from many places including Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowes. Things to look for in a EVSE include:

  • How much power can it deliver. Newer EVs seem to be standardizing on 32A (at 240V) of delivered current. Even if your EV can't charge this fast, I would buy an EVSE that can charge at least at 32A for new installs (future proof).
  • Reliability, certifications, etc. Below I list some established brands.
  • Wifi connectivity. Some people like to track electricity usage, compile stats, etc. Personally, I treat my EVSE like my smartphone charger - plug it in and forget it.
  • Load sharing. Some EVSEs can be connected together to a common electrical circuit and shared between more than one EV. This reduces overall wiring and cost if you have multiple EVs and may be required if you are bumping up against total load capacity of your house/panel.

Unless you know what you are doing with wiring heavy duty electrical circuits, you will need to hire an electrician to install your EVSE. The electrician will install the appropriate two pole breaker (usually a 40A breaker for a 32A EVSE), route the appropriate sized wire and/or conduit, and connect it to where you want to install your EVSE.

Once the EVSE is installed, using it is very simple. Just plug it into your EVs. There is no need for on/off switches or any other control to charge your car. Check the sidebar about setting up time of use settings in your EV.

Here are some good quality EVSE manufacturers along with some personal opinion and commentary (Tesla owners, read the sidebar):

  • ClipperCreek is an engineering oriented company (ie. their products aren't flashy) that has been making bullet proof, reliable EVSEs for over 20 years.
  • eMotorWerks is a relatively new startup company that produces feature rich EVSEs.
  • AeroVironment has made OEM EVSEs for EV manufacturers in the past and make a line of home and mobile EVSEs.
  • Bosch is another OEM brand that sells home EVSEs.
  • Leviton is a large electrical parts manufacturer that also make a line of EVSEs
  • ChargePoint not only operates a worldwide public charging network, but they also make stylish home EVSEs

EVSEs for Teslas

Model S, X and 3 Tesla cars (but not the Roadster, see the Roadster specific page) need a small adapter (J1772) to be able to charge from regular EVSEs. This adapter is supplied with each new Tesla car and most people keep it in their glove compartment to allow charging from public EVSEs.

So while you can use of any of the regular EVSEs for home charging, most Tesla owners opt to buy Tesla's EVSE called the Wall Connector since it uses the Tesla specific handle that plugs directly into a Tesla without the need for an adapter.

The Tesla Wall Connector is reasonably priced and has several useful features. It can be set up to use any sized circuit breaker from 20A to 100A, and can deliver up to 80A of power to those Teslas that have the high speed charging option. Up to four of them can be connected together to share one electrical circuit to supply four different EVs. And it has a button on the handle that can open your charge port (for Model S).

Time Of Use

Depending on where you live, your power company may give you better electricity rates in the middle of the night. Check to see if they do, and if so, usually your EV will have settings to start charging at midnight, for example, rather than when you plug in at the end of the day. If your EV does not have time of use settings, then look for an EVSE that has that feature.

Copyright 2018