ClipperCreek has been renowned as the maker of extremely rugged and reliable electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) since the reemergence of the EV industry in 2007. To reinforce that reputation, the company has gone so far as to post videos on YouTube showing company employees beating an HCS-40 with a hammer and a baseball bat until the bat split in two, sending large scary splinters flying across the parking lot. The tough plastic housing of the charge station was unharmed. Don’t try this at home kids. Or at least wear a face shield and protective clothing and conduct the test far from expensive cars.
Although I didn’t beat my test unit with a hammer, over the course of six months of use I did give it the kind of real-world workout that most people can expect the unit to endure. That included rolling over the cord numerous times with my car. I didn’t perform that test intentionally, but I was pleased to see that the cable did not sustain any damage and the unit continued to work perfectly.
The HCS-60 is a 48 amp station that can deliver up to 11.5 kW of power. That’s more than most EVs on the road can use. EVs that can take advantage of the extra power the HCS-60 can deliver over its siblings include the Toyota RAV 4 EV, Mercedes Benz B-Class ED, and the Tesla Roadster and Model S with supplied adapters. Some EV trucks can also charge at the higher rates the HCS-60 can deliver.
Is the HCS-60 the right charger for you? It really depends on what you drive.
A Tesla Roadster can charge at up to 16.8 kW (56 mph) and a Model S with dual chargers can charge at up to 20 kW (60 mph). If a Roadster or Model S is your only EV, you may want to get the higher-power Tesla charger, but if you have another EV which uses the standard J1772 connector, the HCS-60 will be able to charge both the Tesla (using the supplied adapter) and the other EV. If you don’t need to charge both EVs at the same time, that could save a couple thousand bucks between the hardware and installation.
If you have a Toyota RAV 4 EV or Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED, you’ll want to strongly consider the ClipperCreek HCS-60. It is bulletproof. Or at least baseball bat proof. At $899 direct from ClipperCreek it’s really inexpensive for such a high-quality, high-power charger.
The HCS-60 is compatible with all plug-in vehicles available today. The output power of the unit is variable and depends on vehicle demand, which is set by the vehicle. So it will certainly be up to the task of charging any EV that becomes available for the next many years. My Model S has dual charger, but I’ve never had a circumstance where I needed to charge it faster than the HCS-60 could deliver. (I still sleep 8 hrs).
As electronics gizmos go, ClipperCreek charge stations are pretty boring to review. I bought an LCS-25 direct from ClipperCreek in 2013 and I’ve never found anything to complain about in over a year and a half of daily use. Not a single failure of any kind. Not even a hung state that requires a reset, unusual for a software based appliance. The thing just hangs on the wall quietly doing its job. No alarm beeps. No buzzing or erratic behavior like most of my other electrical equipment is prone to engage in from time to time. And certainly not anything exciting like a fire. You’d think that something that handles as much power as the HCS-60 would at least put out a puff of smoke now and again. Or melt a little and require a recall like my Tesla charge adapter. But no, nothing. Just the same steady green light the whole time. I suppose I’ll get used to that kind of rock solid reliability, although I’ll continue to wonder why there are so few EVSE made with that kind of quality.
“The larger conductor size for the high power transfer required special care to design for real world operation,” explained Jason France, CEO of ClipperCreek, “we used rubber over-molding to fully seal the connector’s head and increase the durability in the rough commercial world, the rubber cable jacket increases cold weather flexibility of the cable.”
The HCS-60 requires a 60 amp circuit and is a hard wired unit because of NEMA and building code requirements. The lower power HCS-40 (7.7 kW) and HCS-50 (9.6 kW) use the same case and are available as plug-in units. The HCS-50P comes with a 6-50 plug and the HCS-40 ships with either a NEMA 6-50 or 14-50 plug. The model number indicates what kind of circuit it requires.
All ClipperCreek EVSE can work with either 204v or 208v AC circuits in single phase.
Reprinted with permission from Electric Car Insider.
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