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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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New EV Owner Question

Good evening. Just purchased a 2016 used Smart Electric with just 10k miles for my son to use for work and school commuting. I would like to add a 240v outlet to my garage so he can use a level 2 charger to charge more quickly. Live in arizona so don't want it outside exposed to the elements.

What would members recommend for the Level 2 cable/charger? Looks like there is quite the price range on Amazon. Would like to go as inexpensive as possible without sacrificing any charging capability or reliability. Needs to be weather proof too as the cord will be going under the garage door and charging his car in the driveway. Oh, so a 25' cord or more would be nice too.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 04:04 AM
 
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I'd recommend installing a NEMA 14-50R receptacle in the garage and then buying whatever EVSE ("charger") you want. That will set your house up for the current standard of supplying electricity to the charger.

The 2016 Smart has "only" a 3.3kW charger built into the car, so you can buy any EVSE that can deliver 15Amps at 240V and the limitation will then be the charger built into the car rather than the EVSE on the wall.

Terminology:
Charger: Electronics built into the car by the factory.
EVSE: Electric Vehicle Service Equipment: Thing that plugs into the wall (or is hardwired) and has the plug that plugs into the electric car. Most everyone who is not experienced with electric cars would call this thing a "charger", but the electric vehicle engineers decided not to adopt that language, unfortunately.
14-50R: A specific type of wall receptacle ("outlet") that can supply 240V AC at 50 Amps. Your EVSE will plug into this.

Here's one randomly selected example from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Zencar-100-24.../dp/B07J56WF9K

I have no specific experience with that and would probably be more inclined to buy a Clipper Creek unit myself, but the unit linked above will work for Level 2 charging your son's car and is fairly inexpensive.

The protocol for the charging is such that the high power electricity is only "live" after the car and EVSE negotiate a connection, so there isn't much worry about the cord being out in the weather, about plugging/unplugging when it's raining, etc.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jimsokoloff View Post
I'd recommend installing a NEMA 14-50R receptacle in the garage and then buying whatever EVSE ("charger") you want.

The 2016 Smart has "only" a 3.3kW charger built into the car, so you can buy any EVSE that can deliver 15Amps at 240V and the limitation will then be the charger built into the car rather than the EVSE on the wall.

Terminology:
Charger: Electronics built into the car by the factory.
EVSE: Electric Vehicle Service Equipment: Thing that plugs into the wall (or is hardwired) and has the plug that plugs into the electric car. Most everyone who is not experienced with electric cars would call this thing a "charger", but the electric vehicle engineers decided not to adopt that language, unfortunately.
14-50R: A specific type of wall receptacle ("outlet") that can supply 240V AC at 50 Amps. Your EVSE will plug into this.

I have no specific experience with that and would probably be more inclined to buy a Clipper Creek unit myself, but the unit linked above will work for Level 2 charging your son's car and is fairly inexpensive.
Jim has provided a great "Primer" in EV life and while the EVSE connection can be confusing, I like to describe it as simply "the handshake" beween your electric plug and the onboard charger.

His advice to "buy up" the plug amperage will allow you some insurance against your next EV having higher needs - future proofing.

I too am a fan of Clipper Creek but upgraded to ChargePoint* (hard-wired) in order to take advantage of Wi-fi and some limited reporting.

I would suggest that you first make certain that your garage electrical can support the addition of another 240V, then decide Plug-in or Hard-wire? Next you may want to inquire as to any City/County code restrictions in AZ?

While NEMA 14-50P has been the "gold standard" for some time, some are using 6-50P? That being said, some manufacturers (Clipper Creek) offer choices while others may not

*Note - ChargePoint currently has a 20% off sale. (20% off ChargePoint Home ends July 31, 2019. Customer will receive a $50.00 promotional credit (“Credit”) upon activating their ChargePoint Home Electric Vehicle Charger (“Home Charger”) if activated by July 31, 2019.)

https://www.chargepoint.com/drivers/...kaAql-EALw_wcB
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 12:01 PM
 
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While NEMA 14-50P has been the "gold standard" for some time, some are using 6-50P? That being said, some manufacturers (Clipper Creek) offer choices while others may not
The reason I recommend the 14-50R over a 6-50R is that 14-50 provides both 240VAC and 120VAC (legally) while the 6-50 only provides 240VAC.

If you do need to plug in something with a 6-50Plug, there are inexpensive ($25-40) adapters to go from a 14-50Receptacle to a 6-50Receptacle. There is no inexpensive way to go the other way (to allow a 6-50 Receptacle to take a 14-50 Plug).
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 01:36 PM
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The reason I recommend the 14-50R over a 6-50R is that 14-50 provides both 240VAC and 120VAC (legally) while the 6-50 only provides 240VAC.

If you do need to plug in something with a 6-50Plug, there are inexpensive ($25-40) adapters to go from a 14-50Receptacle to a 6-50Receptacle. There is no inexpensive way to go the other way (to allow a 6-50 Receptacle to take a 14-50 Plug).
ChargePoint is apparently only offering their plug-in with the 6-50P?

It should be noted that if you choose plug-in, "The power cord will not bend and is only 12" long (as per the National Electric Code for EV chargers), so ensure the outlet is installed close enough for the power cord to plug in.

Regarding 6-50P vs 14-50P:

NEMA 6-50P has three prongs - line1, line2 and ground
NEMA14-50P has four prongs - line1, line2, neutral and ground

Both are for single phase. The advantage of the NEMA 14-50R is that since you have a neutral available, you can get 120V service from it as Jim mentioned.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 04:12 PM
 
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Also, regarding weatherproofness, per the SAE J1772 standard for EVSEs, the cable and car plug is always electric shock-proof with redundant safety measures - notably, the cable and plug is not energized at all until it is plugged fully (and the ground pin protrudes so it "makes" first and "breaks" last) in and the car sends a "ready to charge" signal to the EVSE. So it is safe to plug the car in even in pouring rain.

And as far as I know, the EVSE wall boxes are always weatherproof too.

As far as the power connection to the EVSE, I hard-wired mine and mounted it on the garage door frame outside. To be to code, it is supposed to have a separate service disconnect within reach of the EVSE - but the breaker panel is in the garage only 15 feet away. so I bent the rules a bit.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 04:12 PM
 
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The car can allegedly pull as much as 16 amps while charging. Go with a 20 amp breaker and romex. IÂ’m se a connector rated for 20 amps so no one thinks the circuit is rated for a higher amount. Charging cables can be had that match these connectors.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 06:32 PM
 
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The car can allegedly pull as much as 16 amps while charging. Go with a 20 amp breaker and romex. IÂ’m se a connector rated for 20 amps so no one thinks the circuit is rated for a higher amount. Charging cables can be had that match these connectors.
Do they make two-pole (240V) breakers as low as 20A? Why not "future-proof" the installation in anticipation of a future EV purchase which will have a much bigger battery and charger than a Smart? I'd go for 50 amps - i.e. an electric range circuit and plug - or hardwire with a cutoff.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 07:56 PM
 
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The car can allegedly pull as much as 16 amps while charging. Go with a 20 amp breaker and romex. IĂ‚’m se a connector rated for 20 amps so no one thinks the circuit is rated for a higher amount. Charging cables can be had that match these connectors.
Do they make two-pole (240V) breakers as low as 20A? Why not "future-proof" the installation in anticipation of a future EV purchase which will have a much bigger battery and charger than a Smart? I'd go for 50 amps - i.e. an electric range circuit and plug - or hardwire with a cutoff.
Yes, I was able to find a 20 amp breaker at the local Home Depot for a very low price. It wasnÂ’t GFCI which I intend to remedy soon. I wanted to make two points. 1. Someone posted early about using 15 amp equipment, these cars should be plugged into minimum 20 amp equipment. And 2. you should match the breaker amperage with the correct amperage plug so no one tries to plug too large a load into the circuit. Wiring should be sized to at least carry the same load but larger wonÂ’t hurt anything.

Future proofing is a reasonable thing to do if you think you might need it in the future. My install was really inexpensive because my panel was on the same wall where I installed the outlet with just 1.5 feet of romex in between. I can change it all out when necessary at minimal expense if I need it to accommodate more current in the future.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 04:03 PM
 
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Note that the EVSE itself has GFCI protection - so there isn't really a need for GFCI at the breaker.
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