Illinois Company Introduces Low-Cost 120-Volt Public Charger for Electric Cars

By · May 23, 2013

The L1 Power Post

The first customer deliveries of the L1 Power Post are scheduled for August.

The simplest, cheapest and most effective solution to many technical and social problems is often overlooked—because it’s too obvious. For public electric car charging, nearly all the industry's efforts have been placed on relatively expensive Level 2 240-volt chargers, as well as more powerful so-called Quick Charging systems. Manufacturers have almost entirely overlooked the vast potential for Level 1 120-volt charging equipment as an effective and economical approach to public EV charging.

That could change, with the release of the L1 Power Post, the industry’s first Level 1 public charging station—introduced this week by Telefonix, at the International Parking Institute’s conference and expo in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Allen Will, director of business development at Telefonix, has been closely observing the EV industry for the past several years. “I’ve always been a car guy, and I really love electric vehicles,” he told me, in a phone interview while attending the parking industry conference in Florida. Will drives a Chevy Volt. “I’ve never loved a car more than this thing,” he said.

Starting with Cord Management

Telefonix, an Illinois-based 25-year-old company with about 200 employees, is the leading provider of electric cord reels for the airline industry. The company has a dominant industry position in making and selling cord reels for entertainment controls used by airline passengers to turn the volume up and down, and change channels. A few years ago, Will observed that EV public chargers could use a better retractable cord management system—so he went about the task of engineering and prototyping a component that would allow makers of public charging equipment to roll 20 feet of a Level 2 cord neatly back into the equipment. Cord management made easy.

But before Telefonix went into production, Will put on the brakes. While attending a conference held by the Society of Automotive Engineers last year, he heard a presentation by Mark Duvall, of the Electric Power Research Institute, extolling the virtues of Level 1 public charging. Will didn’t see anybody else making Level 1 public chargers. When he got back from the SAE conference, he told his colleagues, “We’re going down the wrong path. Let’s use a smaller cord rail, and build a Level 1 charging station.”

Allen Will, of Telefonix

Allen Will, of Telefonix, at the company’s booth at the International Parking Institute expo this week.

Right Tool for the Job

Will now firmly believes that Level 1 is “the right equipment at the right price at the right place” for public EV charging. The L1 Power Post can provide 120 volts at 16-amps, delivering 1.92 kilowatts—enough to add 5 to 7 miles of range in one hour. The final price has not been announced, but Telefonix is “shooting for $1,500.” That’s compared to somewhere between $2,500 and $6,000 for most Level 2 public chargers that can add 20 to 25 miles of range in an hour.

The fact is that almost all EV charging takes place at home. For a typical commute to the workplace, say 15 to 20 miles of driving after the car has been fully charged at home, Level 1 can top up the battery pack in about two to three hours. According to Will, Level 2 charging at workplaces, commuter rail stations and airports, is overkill.

“The car might be plugged in for a lot longer, but it’s only transferring electricity for a couple of hours on average, and it’s done,” he said. “So you have this expensive piece of equipment that’s too much. The infrastructure to put it in is more expensive than necessary.”

Two-hundred-forty-volt chargers at airports, where an electric car or plug-in hybrid might be parked for several days, is the worst example of mismatching the tool for the job. Slow Level 1 charging, on the other hand, is just right. “I don’t care if you’re plugged in for two hours or 10 days. It’s a low cost solution. If there’s two EVs in a lot today, and 10 tomorrow, it’s not that expensive to expand.”

Version 1.0

Parking lot owners and managers could go even more low-tech and simply install outdoor three-prong outlets. But that would require each EV driver to use their own cord set, which could be stolen—and almost guarantees that a spaghetti of cords will be strewn across a public or corporate parking lot. The L1 Power Post, with its retractable system, is neat and tidy.

The current first version of the L1 Power Post is basic. “We’re trying to keep it simple, simple, simple,” said Will. “And as low cost as possible.” So, there are no bells and whistles—although the company has a road map that includes RFID validation, connectivity and payment systems to allow, for example, employers and government entities to recover some or all of the cost of electricity. Software applications are about a year away, according to Will.

In the meantime, the response from potential customers was excellent at the International Parking Institute. Will also noted that many of the big charging equipment players—such as Siemens, G.E. and Schneider—who were at the parking expo two years ago, stayed at home this year. Apparently, major corporations that had been pushing there Level 2 EV equipment a couple of years ago have realized that the business model for more expensive equipment is not there after all.

But a less expensive solution, that satisfies the needs of EV drivers, is making sense to companies, universities, and hotels wanting to install electric car charging. “A lot of people don’t think of Level 1, but when you explain the logic, they get it,” said Will. “It’s not a hard conversation. They just never had it before.”

Comments

· · 46 weeks ago

$1500 for a level 1 charger? I would think only gov'ts would love this device. All the "level 1" devices i've seen to date have been simply $15 GFI's that you have in your Bathroom.

· · 46 weeks ago

Bill: I don't know if the $1500 price is great or horrible; as you say for most people all you need to do at home is to plug in and leave it there...basically no cost. However, for employers, in particular, it might still be a very good option. If I could plug in at work, just to a 120V outlet, that would absolutely be pefectly fine with me. My car sits there 8 hours so even at the sklowest rate of charging(120V/12 amp) it works great. This is 16 amp so it cuts time by 1/3 if my math is correct. An employer could install 10 of these for the cost of 1 Level 2. And the issue of cords laying around to trip over is eliminated(and even one small incident could easily cost much more than $1500---I am a claims guy by profession so believe me when I say this). I get your point, it's valid, but still the $1500 may be worth it in a corporate setting. Lou

· · 46 weeks ago

In the picture it looks like they could have just laid the wire in the concrete and not have had to dig a hole to lay the wire for the charger. Maybe that is what they did, I don't know. That would be cheaper than digging a hole. I wonder if that would be against any sort of building code though.

Also, you could install L1 at work locations, but what if someone, like me, lives on the far side of an average electric cars range, 60 miles, from work and would need that L2 to get back to full by the end of the work day? I guess I can't get an electric car then?

· · 46 weeks ago

Longer term lots like at the airport, with 8 of these servicing 32 parking spaces vs. 2 L2 sites would be a useful improvement at equivalent installed price. Leaving your portable EVSE locked in your trunk is appealing to drivers.

· · 46 weeks ago

I agree that the price is a bit extreme. But, yes, finally . . . a dedicated commercial L1 EVSE that will be perfect for long-term-parking-lot airport installations.

The EV Tucson folks have been talking for a while now about having units like this available for exactly that purpose, where the open-air lot at the Tucson International Airport is about to get completely covered in PV panels.

What do you think, worldsSteven?

· · 46 weeks ago

$1500 is a great price for a PUBLIC charger. Yes, the electronics are cheap but the physical thing must be rugged enough to handle bad weather, hot/cold temps, vandalism, abuse, etc. This would be an excellent charger to install at work places. And being 120V has the advantage that you don't give out as much free electricity and incentivizes people to stay at work long hours to get a free charge.

· · 46 weeks ago

Good point, Spec. Yeah, it's like comparing a house land line telephone to a phone booth. Obviously, the latter is going to lead a tougher life.

Also . . . while a more upscale luxury property renter might prefer an L2 for their Telsa, I bet many Leaf or iMIEV owners who lives in a modest townhouse with carport, or a high-riser dweller who parks in an adjacent garage, would be very happy to have these available. Landlords are always putting up signs on their properties extolling the virtues of their "free cable TV and internet." Thanks to the Telefonix L-1, these property owners might be able to more affordably lure in prospective renters with "free EV charging" someday.

· · 46 weeks ago

Well this is kind of old news anyway. Appartment / Condo owners would want card activation, and there are a few models that do this already. One I'm thinking of takes a single 32 amp 240 volt feed and splits it into 4 - 16 amp charge points and is card activated. The Shorepower 120 unit is either 2500 or 2900 list depending on how decorative you want it. People currently have to supply their own chargerbrick. J1772 models are supposedly forthcoming.

· · 46 weeks ago

Why not make it 240v? people are hacking their 120v charging cord from the trunk of their car to work on 240v already and without much cost for the upgrade, so I think if they offered a higher voltage option that they would have the market on public charging stations.
And if you don't want your 120v charging cord stolen while it's plugged in to a standard outlet then put a padlock on the latch, otherwise I agree that these charging stations are not much better then an out door outlet.

· · 46 weeks ago

Think of this scenario, EvDriver: your going to fly out of town for a week (work, vacation, etc,) you drive your EV to the airport and park it in the long-term lot. You hook up to a charger, lock the car and head off to board the plane. It's a real waste to hook up to an L-2 charger if your going to be parked for that long.

There's plenty of time, however, for an L-1 to do it's magic. Some EVs have battery thermal management systems that keep everything in good shape while you're plugged in. This could be an issue if it's freezing cold or oven hot for that extended park, while you're out of town. And, here again, you don't need an L-2 connection to do it. An L-1 is plenty fine. In fact, if your EV has a less-than-perfect thermal management system, the L-1 puts less stress on the battery while charging . . . especially when it's very hot outside.

Also . . . do you really want to have your L-1/L-2 transformer hanging outside of your EV for a full week in the airport parking lot? I wouldn't. Padlocks are easy to cut (talk to anyone who has experienced bicycle theft) and - even if it doesn't get stolen or vandalized - it might age prematurely or break if exposed too long to the elements.

As the article notes, commercial variants of L-2 EVSEs are at least $2500 or more. Lots of airports might look at that expense as frivolous and not want to invest with the small number of EVs currently out there. Likewise, as more EVs do show up, an airport can install far more of these cheaper L-1s and serve a far greater number of vehicle for the same investment and - bringing this full circle - that's all you need for long-term airport parking. It's one of those things that will actually perpetuate EV adoption for consumers and businesses. Oh yeah . . . airport-based rental car agencies will probably find it easier to get on board with offering EVs as these L-1 EVSEs become ubiquitous.

Depending upon your situation, modifying the L-1/L-2 transformer you carry in your trunk to work with both 120V and 240V makes sense. But that's personal use item you take with you, say, to a friend or relative's house, who might not have their own L-2. These commercially-installed L-1 EVSEs with a J-1772 plug are something that suites a different purpose and I'm actually surprised that its taken so long for one to appear.

· · 46 weeks ago

What's wrong with the simple AeroVironment L2 charging docks that you see at Nissan dealers? They seem to hold up just fine and are equivalent to what many LEAF owners have at home. And they cost hundreds, not thousands of dollars, i.e., cheaper than this L1 unit.

The only good reason to install L1 rather than L2 is if one's electrical service cannot readily accommodate L2 in the numbers needed. Otherwise, you're unnecessarily reducing the flexibility that EV owners have. What if I need to use my car for work, during the workday, and only have an hour or two to top up before driving home? What about clients, contractors, or others who might only be around for part of the day?

Plus, L1 is generally less efficient, energy-wise, than L2.

· · 46 weeks ago

Yeah, I was expecting to read a price in the $250-500 range, not $1500! Okay, I get the fact that for commercial installations it needs to be ruggedized. Not that sure about workplace installations though--my employer simply has a post with 4 outdoor GFI outlets that look like they came from Home Depot, and that seems to hold up just fine. Anyway, if the cost to ruggedize the unit is excessive compared to the difference between L1 and L2 electronics, then yeah, you may as well just make these things L2. The RETAIL price point for home (i.e. non-ruggedized) L2 EVSEs is starting to hit about $450 for basic no frills units (and a good portion of that may actually be tied up in the J1772 nozzle itself). That leads me to believe that the difference in cost between the actual electronics between L1 and L2 would be fairly minor (maybe $100?) So if you're going to spend that kind of money on a charger (based on the theories above most of the cost is to ruggedize the unit), you may as well make it L2 (maybe limited current though for large scale installations) in the first place.

Having said that I'm not really buying the argument that there's many hundred dollars worth of ruggedizing in this unit. The real problem is that there's just not a lot of competition in the EVSE arena yet (but it's slowly getting better). The article clearly states that this is apparently the only public L1 EVSE on the market. So they can in effect set their own price. What's really needed here is simply more competition. Bring another few players into the game here and the prices should start to drop to reasonable levels.

· · 46 weeks ago

@Ben - Like others, the price is a bit of a concern. It would be nice to see if our airport contact would weigh in on exactly what characteristics a Level 1 charger should have. A much lower price has certainly got to be one of them. But as JKDLOU ("the claims guy") suggests, a retractable cord so airports don't get sued might be another. I personally don't have a problem with using my own L1 cord. And someone in an earlier posting suggested simply backing your tire over them to prevent theft. This might also hold down on the cord clutter.

As a Volt owner, I would probably never use an airport L2 charger, certainly not for a quick trip to pick up someone. (Don't need to. The Volt can make the 30 mile round trip with charge to spare - which means a LEAF could do it in spades!) But I would also NEVER park my Volt at the airport for an extended period in the summer without an L1 charger. Any EV owner with a battery thermal management system that works when the car is plugged in should feel the same way in hot or cold environments.

Generally, less (cost) is more. These guys start out with a big strike against them with the $1500 (vs $400 for a non-ruggedized L2) cost of their system. Whether or not all the features are worth the money isn't a call I am qualified to make. One question though... In listing prices for L2 competitors, are those competitors sufficiently ruggedized to be able to sit in airport parking lots year after year?

· · 46 weeks ago

How expensive / feasible would some kind of built-in cord cover / theft protection device for user-supplied charging cables be? What I have in mind is some kind of hinged plate installed in the pavement that would protect the cables, lock them and keep them out of the way - thus enabling Bill's "$15 GFI's". It would just be some kind of outdoor elaboration of the cord covers you see all the time in public meeting rooms etc.

· · 46 weeks ago

Sorry to be negative about this, but L1 charging is crap. To make things worse for example the 2013 Volt charges at 8A by default at 120V - that is less than 2 miles per hour IF the TMS does not have to work hard. As Bill here likes to point out L1 charging a Model S (or any future large battery EV) is an exercise in futility. And good luck trying to precondition your car that has been sitting in the cold or heat without losing much charge while still plugged in at L1.

Most of the cost and difficulty for public charging stations are in the permits and installation, not the size of the EVSE's contactor. An overpriced L1 station is not the solution to an overpriced L2 station. The lack of availability of L2 stations can be mitigated with more intelligent placement so that four parking spots can be served by one station, it can be mitigated by enforcing those spots and actively towing and fining violators, and it can be mitigated by more considerate usage and sharing of these stations.

· · 46 weeks ago

I checked Aerovironments web site, abasile, and note that units you describe are about $1000 . . .

http://evsolutions.avinc.com/products/at_home

Here again, as it's already been pointed out, much of the price of this sort of thing is in the retractable cord, rugged-ized enclosure mounted on a concrete pad, etc.

Not sure, also, as to how L-1 charging is less efficient than L-2, in terms of energy use. Could you elaborate?

If you want to gauge prices of individual components of EVSEs, lpickup, this is a good place to start . . .

http://www.tucsonev.com/

Note that the same $155 J1772 plug shown on the above site might cost hundreds more if Blink or Chargepoint were selling it.

As for your idea of lock boxes for personal L-1/L-2 transformers, Steven, I'd like to see a visual. At the end of the day, though, I think airport managers want something like an all-in-one devise, with built-in and with a single retractable cord . . . not some sort weather-ized suitcase on a pedestal with wires sticking out of both ends for people to trip over, and with keys that have to be signed out, will invariably get lost etc.

Also . . . a lockable box with wire ports and a nearby AC outlet? Airport people are probably thinking this is an open invitation for someone to wire up a bomb to.

· · 46 weeks ago

A simple corded 120V EVSE such as this is essential if workplaces are to have affordable, convenient charging that is not disruptive to work or an undue burden on the employer. Let's be honest. Many if not most employees commuting in a PEV will recoup all or most the energy spent commuting on Level 1 in an 8 hour workday.

At today's usually free workplace Level 2 charge stations one's PEV is likely to be fully recharged before lunch. Does the driver leave work to move the car to allow another employee the chance to charge? Or is it tough luck, first come first served? Should time limits be set? Should they be monetized to disincentivize their use? Wasn't the point that we want to encourage plug-in cars and charging?

Although some Level 2 would be part of a smart workplace charging ecosystem, free Level 1 - be it a simple 120V outlet requiring the driver's cordset or a cheap, dumb and corded EVSE - ought to be both the starting place and foundation of smart workplace charging.

· · 46 weeks ago

vdiv: You are missing the point about this unit. It is not intended as the be all end all of EVSE's. Instead it is for companies that want to offer EV charging capabilities at the lowest cost they have to spend, yet not be seen as offering flimsy or cheap(as in quality) options. I'll restate my position again, for those of us that commute to work in our EV's, having even a Level 1 charging option works absolutely fine. It simply does. We have the time to wait, and even at the slow rate of charge, we would probably only need a few hours to get back to where we were when we left the house. The Level 2 units, naturally, offer more power and would allow one to pre-heat or pre-a/c our cars. But that's not so important, more that it's a nice option. None of these units are free to install, and the Level 1 option allows companies to offer a service to their employees, or customers(such as at a train station or hotel for guests' overnight visits). Lou

· · 46 weeks ago

@world2steven,

There is a product on the market pretty much just as you described - a locked box in which to store your own EVSE cord away from thieves and the weather. Oh, and it costs $329.

http://www.evextend.com/Level-1-Charging-Station.php

· · 46 weeks ago

Brad, I've been reading your articles now for over two years. And generally you are spot on. But To have a favorable review of an L1 charger Is completely misleading! L1 chargers are a waste of time for several reasons! First, no matter how much current the L/1 charger can provide the cars on-board charger only draws 12 Amp., which is a measly 3 mph charge max. Second, for almost no additional money, you can replace the neutral leg with the with the other voltage leg and get 240 V, almost four times the charging rate. What the company doesn't realize is that charging with L1 is like drinking a shake with the world's smallest straw.

· · 46 weeks ago

TucsonEV has a 120vac / 15amp for $675 plus shipping AND it will charge on 240vac up to 30A (higher amperage in the future)

Check it out at www.TucsonEV.com/TucsonEV-SE.html We've just finished testing it and it passed all the tests with flying colors.

Thanks
Rush

· · 46 weeks ago

@Benjamin Nead: I think $1000 is the retail price for the AV commercial L2 units. While I'm not sure, I suspect that the Nissan dealers might be getting a better price than that. AV's residential EVSE is substantially the same and costs a little less.

LEAF owners have measured L1 charging efficiency at about 75%. L2 efficiency has been measured at greater than 85% at 3.3 kW and better than that at 6.0 kW on the 2013 model. (This is a large part of the improved EPA wall to wheels efficiency numbers for the 2013.) The LEAF incurs some fixed overhead while charging, and the way to minimize this is to reduce charging duration. While I'm not sure about other EVs, I'd guess that they'd have the same issue.

· · 46 weeks ago

Charging efficiency probably has more to do with the onboard charger than anything else. If they can make one with a lower internal resistance then efficiency could go up.

· · 46 weeks ago

L1 facilities have their place. Airports for one (Just dont try to use one with a Model S in 10 degree weather, but otherwise), 110 volts is just fine to park my roadster for a week while I'm out of town. Even if the car was dead when I came up to it, after about 7-8 days the car would finally be finished charging in very cold weather.

Incidentally I finally got a chance to test drive a "Signature" Model S. It is impressively fast. Seems faster than a Roadster, if you can believe that. He has the performance motor in his As far as steady driving goes, I thought I was in my VOLT. No wonder my Tesla service guy was impressed with it.. I mentioned to the owner about the range issue in cold weather, and he said while he believed me, he said he was unconcerned because he will charge at work and at home, and anyplace else he goes he'll have a charger dock installed (Money is not a problem for this gent, he has at least 10 times what I do). He was very curious about my tires seeing as I get better range than he does in his roadster, while he has to replace his every 4000 miles, i've got 17,000 on my rear ones currently.

People in the past have criticized me for not using Tesla's solutions. I cancelled my order for a Universal Mobile Connector, for instance. He was using this for the Roadster, but he burned out 3 of them and he was worried about getting stranded. So he spent $2000 for a high-power-connector, and he is also haveing problems with the new HPC for the model S. They told him to lower the current to 60 amps. So he bought a $750 TSL-01 to Model S converter cord so that he can use the old roadster clipper creek model if the Tesla thing finally burns out..

The only device he does *NOT* have is a j1772 to TSL-01 converter cable, which is what I use solely. He built a nice additonal 2 car detached garage for his mansion, where the electrics reside. He says he made a mistake of ONLY putting in a 100 amp subpanel in the garage since he cant charge the S and Roadster at the same time (he could if he dialed down the power a bit)... But he has a model X on order ( of course with 80 amp chargers) , so with ONLY a 300 amp service to the house, I suspect he will be adding a second 300 amp service for the new garage. Too bad he'll complain when he finds out the second service will be furished at commercial rates. Right now he pays 10 cents/ kwh (no time of day), while I pay 13 (differing utilities).

· · 46 weeks ago

I'm with the camp that says the L1 chargers have their place - airports being the most obvious. But the main reason for installing L1s should be that you can install a lot more chargers for the same cost.

Imagine, if you will, a large parking garage at an end-of-line light rail station in a metro area. A large number of the people with EVs using this station will be commuting to work and thus their period of absence will be 9-10 hours or more. In most EV situations that will be enough time to charge the car @110V for the return trip home. But some EV drivers will use this parking garage for shorter trips - maybe a 3-4 hour round trip to a museum. For those EV drivers the L2 charger makes more sense.

So, ideally the parking garage sets up a number of L2s and a much larger number of L1s for a fraction of the cost of installing the L2s. Of course, you'd have to encourage people not to hog the L2s unnecessarily - signage and a surcharge on the L2s could do that.

Back to the product review above, @ $1500 per these L1 chargers probably don't save enough versus L2s to justify installing many more L1s. I'd rather see, for example, a $1500-$2000 L1 charger with 4 cords that reach 4 nearby parking spots.

· · 46 weeks ago

Seems to me this boils down to an issue of cost. From what I've been able to gather, L2 electrical connections are significantly more expensive to provide than L1. If you add in the charger and cables the cost has to go up from there. If you can find a way to safely allow the EV driver to BYOC (bring your own cable) - "safely" as in not causing injuries to people parked next to you and/or not having your cable fry in inclement weather - that's the way to go.

If for safety reasons, you need to provide all the hardware and as a result L1 is about as expensive as L2, then why not L2? As some of the comments above have made clear, there are people out there who think they need them.

@Ben - I'm not going to provide a sketch of my idea - basically a slit in the pavement housing a hinged metal charger container - because somebody might be able to steal it and make huge amounts of money from it. (and besides, it is too much work!) Also, I'm not a real expert in this but I am not terribly concerned about someone filling it with explosive material. For practical reasons like not getting caught and getting a bigger bang, it looks like the best place to put a bomb is in the car not underneath or next to it.

· · 46 weeks ago

@RedLeaf - Yeah! Wish I'd seen your post first. It would have saved me the trouble.

· · 46 weeks ago

L1 definitely has its place. And in some situations, it is much easier to install L1. For example, a parking lot may have several light poles that only have 120V in them. You could tap into those and easily add L1 chargers whereas L2 might not be possible since you only have 1 hot and a neutral.

· · 46 weeks ago

This thing is rugged and nice looking. Someone is better able to see it from farter then a simple 110 volt outlet.

· · 46 weeks ago

From reading up about the J1772 protocol it looks like the big difference between a L1 and an L2 charge rate is the programming, the GFI and what pins are connected in the charging cord, added cost to make a L1 like this in to a L2 should be about $20 more in parts.
The J1772 protocol also allows the charging station to limit amps by communicating to the vehicles charger how many amps the charging station can handle so in theory that 120v connection could tell the charger that it's safe to draw up to 80amps or with a 240v connection it could dial it back and say 10amps is all the charger is allowed to draw from the plug, to a point at least it's all in the programming!

So I like the simple design and I think they are trying to make their product stand out by making it a L1 charging station and L1 is great if you only have 120v service in your parking lot, but why not make both? lots of street lights are 240v.

The part that I do really like is the cord real and those cost a lot! I have cord reals at work that are $600 for a 20amp 120v service, so they should be making their product stand out by being a better product, not by being sub par.

· · 46 weeks ago

This is hardly the first L1 public EVSE, Clipper Creek has a model they have been selling for a while:

http://stores.intuitwebsites.com/ClipperCreekInc/-strse-19/ACS-dsh-20-Le...

I have seen employers putting up significant numbers of them in CA, with central access control and billing. And they are UL listed, I do not find UL mentioned on the TucsonEV web site.

I have driven about 46,000 miles in production EVs, mostly at 120 volt charging. My employer provides 120 volt charging. It does not suffice for everyone, but it suffices for many.

A cord reel can get quite hot if not fully played out, I see a problem waiting to happen.

Spec, you might find that many light poles in industrial areas are actually 277 volt to neutral.

· · 46 weeks ago

@Jamci3

"....Spec, you might find that many light poles in industrial areas are actually 277 volt to neutral....."

The Home Depot Sodium Vapor parking lot lights are all 480 volt in my area. Just 3 wires plus green ground. Every individual ballast goes on 2 of the 3.

The solution to either problem is a transformer, but then you could only charge at night!

(I suspect this talk of adding outlets to existing light poles assumes there is an individual photocell per pole, which there may or may not be).

L1 chargers are good for apartment/condo owners who want to provide something, and may have limited facilities to handle huge numbers of EV's at huge rates. An apartment issued swipe card takes care of what otherwise would be a big billing problem. And the apartment dweller is more than greatful to have SOMETHING at all, provided the HOA doesn't charge unreasonable rates (I'd think 20 to 30 cents / kwh would allow everyone a fair profit, and allow recoup of the relatively meager construction costs.). To give an example, say the HOA installed 2 of the 32 amp 240 volt feeds. So this would be an additional 64 amps max (most likely the maximum would be 48 amps as already noted by others, since 8 cars charging would most likely only draw 12 amps each (48 amps per leg). Assuming 48 amps, most appartments have 48 amps spare on the 100 amp house meter, or if they have a community center, the ones I've seen have a 300 amp service typically (200 minimum) and also can spare 48 without a service changeout. This provides up to 8 tenant ev's charging simultaneously, and the 8 ev owners are going to be very happy with this solution, since what would be the alternative?

· · 45 weeks ago

If people are charging at home then they don't need a level 1 away from home. They will need a fast charger. Otherwise why plug-in away from home. L1 at home or at work should be ok for most people, but any place else where you would typically spend less time you would want a faster charger. Most EV drivers would want a charger that will give them the maximum amount of electricity their onboard charge can handle. for j1772 this will mean 240 volts at 80 amps. In the end all level two chargers for public use will gravitate to this. If a Nissan Leaf could take full advantage of the top end of level 2 charging it would charge fully in an hour and a half for being completely depleted. The components for such a charge now cost less than $1000. It is only a matter of time when inexpensive 240v 80 amp chargers will be available. Clipper Creek already offers one for around $3000.

· · 45 weeks ago

Yes, Joelado, but what seems to be getting lost in this conversation - over and over again - is that a public L1 charger is likely to appear where EVs might be parked for days or even weeks at a time (ie: long-term airport parking lots) and it makes perfect sense for that application. Nobody should be thinking that it's going to be found at a movie theater or restaurant, where someone might be parked for a just couple hours or less.

And, yes, you correctly point out that L2 (240V) @ 80A is almost ideal, assuming the J1772-equpped EV can accommodate that (most currently can't.) But reality dictates that not all public installations are going to be ready for that sort of amperage, much less the typical America household.

· · 45 weeks ago

@Joelado

Individual single chargers at home may tolerate 80 amps, but uItilities in general would prefer charging take place over the entire nighttime period. Utilities used to be very strict regarding residential requirements. You would think with all the power plants shutting down all over the country, that this would start to become a paramount concern again. Possibly because all the factory work has been moved to asia, there is still a huge surplus of electricity since our industrial base is being hollowed out. But if it ever gets tight again, or EV's become in more general use, you will see tightened residential requirements. A fellow roadster owner plans to have a model x, s, and roadster, all charging at the same time and at the fastest all the 3 cars can take it. Thats 230 amps. Right now he can get residential rates, but I'm claiming that in the future will be a temporary situation.

If the Ev driver had a 300 kwh battery, and he drove 80,000 miles per year, then yes in his particular case 80 amps would be fine since it would spread the charge over the entire nighttime period, and this particular driver would need it. For the rest of us, 30 amps is enough.

Again, apartment and home owner's associations that are installing these things for a somewhat transient tenant population will most like install quite small chargers to avoid kicking up their demand charges, and also avoiding a service changeout.

Even Tesla's latest supercharger announcement showing 500 kwh buffering and 4 cars per 120 kw supercharger show that Tesla is trying to economize on demand charges. The article of course didn't say that when 4 model S's are plugged in, they will charge at a 30 kw rate until one of the cars starts to get full.
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