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:
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).
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):
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).
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.
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