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Choosing Charging that Works for You

Join us for a discussion about selecting the best Electric Vehicle Charging Station for your home or business. View on YouTube for use of Timestamp links.

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Choosing Charging that Works for You

Introduction

Hi, good afternoon everyone and welcome to ClipperCreek’s interactive discussion about choosing charging that works for you. Joining us today is ClipperCreek’s Sales Director Will Barrett and Inside Sales Manager Amanda Lance. Both are experts in the industry and are here to answer any questions you should have about our charging stations.

But first, while we’re waiting for other people to join us, we’re going to play a short video on electric vehicle safety.

[Video plays – Click to see Staying Safe video and captions]

[Note on screen: At this point we experienced technical difficulty with the video… Please enjoy these visuals until 28:54 when the video comes back.]

Thanks Victoria, and thank you all for joining us. I’m Will Barrett and I’m with ClipperCreek. I work very closely with Amanda who’s going to speak about who she is in a minute, but we’re here to answer any questions you might have around home charging or charging structure for electric vehicles in general. So with that I’ll kick it over to Amanda and she can introduce herself and then we’ll get started on answering some questions.

Thanks Will, hi everybody. As Will and Victoria mentioned I’m Amanda Lance and I am the Inside Sales Manager here at ClipperCreek. I have been with the company almost 8 years and I manage a team of Product Specialists who work with residential customers to provide information about our products and guidance on what charging station would best fit their needs.

Our team is extremely knowledgeable, we provide information not only on our products but on the vehicles themselves, and also rebates and incentives that may be available.

[Note on screen: clippercreek.com/evse-rebates-and-tax-credits-by-state]

When looking for charging stations there are a lot of options out there. So it’s only natural questions are going to arise and that’s why I’m happy to be here today and answer any questions that you may have.

Level 1 vs Level 2 EV Charging

So while we wait for those questions to roll in, I think we’ve got a couple of commonly asked questions that we can speak to. So I’ll get it started and again, if you have any questions feel free to write them into the chat window which – there’s an icon for the chat window located at the bottom of your Zoom screen. Or you can select the participants link and it’ll give you an option to “raise your hand.” If you raise-your-hand or chat in a question we’ll go ahead and answer those. For right now while we’re waiting for those to come in I’ll go ahead and kick it off and ask: If I purchase a charging station or- how about this: If I purchase a new vehicle do I also need to purchase a charging station?

So when you purchase an electric vehicle they’re going to come with a cordset, that’s usually in the trunk of the vehicle, it’s called a Level 1, 120 Volt charging station. This is going to plug into your standard household outlet and it’s going to charge the car really slow.

On average you probably get about 4 miles of range per hour of charge with a unit like that. So a lot of people will turn to purchasing a Level 2 or 240 Volt charging station in order to charge their vehicle faster, get more mileage back within an overnight period, stay within maybe off-peak hours that you may have keeping the cost a little bit lower in that car, and just to make sure that you have enough mileage in the morning when you come out to your vehicle to continue that next day’s commute.

The Level 2 charging stations, the ones that we would recommend vary based on the vehicle. Every vehicle has a specific onboard charger rating which means how much power it can take in for charging. So we typically like to understand what kind of car a person is charging. Are the installing indoors, outdoors? Are they limited in their capacity as far as, you know maybe, circuit breaker sizes in their panel? If they have outlets already installed that they’re trying to use… and from there we try and cater a recommendation that best fits their needs.

So it’s not necessarily that you would need to purchase a charging station when you buy the car because it will come with that Level 1 cordset that I mentioned but if you want the faster charging, which most people do, the Level 2 is a great option for that.

Awesome, a lot of great information there. I would just follow on that to say that there’s a lot of things to think about when you’re purchasing a plug-in vehicle and you’re deciding on the charging infrastructure for use at home.

About 90% of plug-in vehicle drivers do most of their- or, 90% vehicle charing takes place at the home. So when you get that vehicle it’s definitely going to be something to think about and as Amanda mentioned Level 1 Charging that’s going to get you about 4, maybe a little bit more, maybe a little bit less, miles of range per hour of charge. That might be enough for some people. If it is [enough], we do recommend that you have a new outlet installed or at a minimum get that outlet inspected by an electrician just because that’s charging a plug-in vehicle at 120 Volts through a regular household outlet is a heavy lift for that outlet so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re working with some new components. Maybe not the best idea to use a 10 or 20- year-old outlet that’s been in the garage for a long time.

I would also echo Amanda’s comments about charging quickly overnight on Level 2 and the fact that many utilities offer electrical rate incentives for charging your plug-in vehicles and usually that takes place over a few hours overnight. So as you’re going through the process definitely reach out to your utility and reach out to a number of resources that are available out there to help you identify any potential rates, incentives that might exist for you as well as other incentives. I think we can- maybe we’ll get some questions about incentives but if not we can certainly speak to those and point out some resources.

[Note on screen: clippercreek.com/evse-rebates-and-tax-credits-by-state]

Driving on Sunshine

Oh, looks like we’ve got some action in the chat! So I’m going to take a look at that. Okay so this question is from Ruth, who’s tuned in. And it’s, “I’ve heard a lot about driving on sunshine. Is that even possible if you’re charging at night?” Is it my turn to answer the question?

Sure, yeah.

I’ll go ahead. Driving on sunshine is certainly possible. In many cases today you’re going to have a solar aray on the home that’s going to be grid-tied so you would be accumulating that solar energy throughout the day. It might be utilized to power appliances in the home and some may be going back onto the grid. You could charge at night and technically be running on sunshine if the power that you generated through solar throughout the day covered the charge.

At night you would’ve technically be using grid power but you would’ve fed the equivalent amount of grid power back. Or, if you have solar and your vehicle happens to be at home during the peak periods of sunshine you would be essentially using that solar to power your charger.

So it depends on when you’re home but a lot of times falks are talking about net or offsetting the power that they used from the grid with solar that they’ve generated.

There’s a comment in here from Guy Hall of SacEV, it says, “the grid becomes a huge battery for you.” Which is a great way of looking at it, definitely.

I haven’t seen any hands raised or any other questions but- oh, wait a second, we’ve got a question from- or it looks like- Glen on the line has provided a link. He’s providing a link to something, I haven’t jumped on there but it’s something that’s coming out in 2021 with an onboard solar array that can allow you to get up to 40 miles a day in Zone 8 which I’m guessing is high solar output areas. That’s really interesting if folks want to take a look at that, it’s in the chat window there.

We’ll go ahead and um- Let me take this opportunity to go ahead and ask another question. One of the things I mentioned before was incentives in relation to utility rates. So maybe um, Amanda, are there other incentive rates out there that might apply to someone that’s purchasing a plug-in vehicle and also looking to install infrastructure in their homes?

Yes, there are, and so as far as the vehicles go there’s Federal incentives. I believe there’s a cap to that with some of the auto makers, if they hit certain thresholds that starts to decrease and go away, but most of them are still available.

Federally, you’re looking at a $7,500 credit on a purchase of an electric vehicle. And then a lot of states have their own programs as well. Here in California there was a $2,500 rebate available for the purchase on an electric vehicle. So the ones that you should check out with the State and also Federally we have some of those incentives listed on our website.

As far as the EV infrastructure goes Will had mentioned checking with your local utility to see if they have any rebates or possibly like special rates for EV charging that they can provide. That’s definitely something to look into.

And then there also is a Federal tax credit to look into that’s available now an expires at the end of 2020. And for residential installations it is a tax credit that provides 30% up to $1,000 and that covers the cost of the purchase of the charging station and also the installation of that. The only thing it doesn’t cover is permitting and inspection fees. It’s IRS form #8911. We also have information on this tax credit on our website.

It’s also available for commercial customers and it’s 30% up to $30,000 for commercial customers so it covers both residential and commercial installations of alternative fuel infrastructure.

Yeah absolutely and then I was reading some comments and I wasn’t sure if you mentioned it but also check with you utility. A lot of utilities around the states have different incentives for vehicles and for the infrastructure. And I think that gives me a good segue to jump into a comment from Guy Hall on here just in case folks aren’t seeing it in the chat window.

And this is a really good point, it says, “It’s also really important for utilities to know about new EVs in the neighborhood. Neighbors tend to buy after a test drive with their friends leading to clusters of EVs being deployed. If utilities know about these they can update transformers to avoid local brown-outs or black-outs.”

EV Charger incentives

We’ll go ahead and um- Let me take this opportunity to go ahead and ask another question. One of the things I mentioned before was incentives in relation to utility rates. So maybe um, Amanda, are there other incentive rates out there that might apply to someone that’s purchasing a plug-in vehicle and also looking to install infrastructure in their homes?

Yes, there are, and so as far as the vehicles go there’s Federal incentives. I believe there’s a cap to that with some of the auto makers, if they hit certain thresholds that starts to decrease and go away, but most of them are still available.

Federally, you’re looking at a $7,500 credit on a purchase of an electric vehicle. And then a lot of states have their own programs as well. Here in California there was a $2,500 rebate available for the purchase on an electric vehicle. So the ones that you should check out with the State and also Federally we have some of those incentives listed on our website.

As far as the EV infrastructure goes Will had mentioned checking with your local utility to see if they have any rebates or possibly like special rates for EV charging that they can provide. That’s definitely something to look into.

And then there is also a Federal tax credit to look into that’s available now an expires at the end of 2020. And for residential installations it is a tax credit that provides 30% up to $1,000 and that covers the cost of the purchase of the charging station and also the installation of that. The only thing it doesn’t cover is permitting and inspection fees. It’s IRS form #8511. We also have information on this tax credit on our website.

It’s also available for commercial customers and it’s 30% up to $30,000 for commercial customers so it covers both residential and commercial installations of alternative fuel infrastructure.

Yeah absolutely and then I was reading some comments and I wasn’t sure if you mentioned it but also check with you utility. A lot of utilities around the states have different incentives for vehicles and for the infrastructure. And I think that gives me a good segue to jump into a comment from Guy Hall on here just in case folks aren’t seeing it in the chat window.

And this is a really good point, it says, “It’s also really important for utilities to know about new EVs in the neighborhood. Neighbors tend to buy after a test drive with their friends leading to clusters of EVs being deployed. If utilities know about these they can update transformers to avoid local brown-outs or black-outs.”

And that’s a great point, a lot of times homes or multiple homes are served by a single transformer and if you start to have an increase of load on these homes that could strain the transformer and utilities like to get out well ahead of that and a lot of times right now also utilities have incentives associated with transformer upgrades that may be available depending on your utility and your situation. So make the utility your partner as you’re taking this step into electric transportation. They’re your new gas station in a sense, except the rates are much lower and you get to take care of it from home.

Finding an electrician to install your EV charger

We’ve also got another comment in here from Glen, “Can ClipperCreek set me up with Arizona State 2020 incentives and locate a proper electrician in my area to install?”

And the answer is, we can certainly help. We do have resources on our website Amanda had mentioned. We have a Rebates and Incentives page where you can select your state and it will show you incentives for the vehicles, infrastructure, at the state level as well as any local utility incentives that might exist.

[On screen: clippercreek.com/evse-rebates-and-tax-credits-by-state]

We also have a tool on our website, it’s called an Installer Locator tool, recommended installer page. You can type in your zip code and it will populate local, licensed electricians in your area that have experience installing charging infrastructure. And also they have positive reviews and they’ll give free estimates.

[On screen: clippercreek.com/installers]

We recommend checking with multiple installers on the page since the estimates are free that way you make sure you’re getting the best deal. There are other resources that exist out there beyond what’s just on our website. There’s a Federal website called the Alternative Fuel Data Center that has a page that you can go to called Laws and Incentives.

[On screen: Alternative Fuel Data Center – AFDC.ENERGY.GOV/LAWS]

It is searchable by State or at the Federal level and it will show you all the new incentives and laws associate with plug-in vehicles.

There’s also a good tool from the folks at Plug-in America called Plug Star that has a rebate calculator, incentives, vehicle comparison tool. And I’ll also give a plug for the California vehicle- or the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program that has some really good resources. And you can type any of those things into Google and there will be a number of resources for people interested in exploring all things plug-in vehicle.

Alright, I’m not seeing any hands raised or any, I don’t think I’ve missed any questions. So I’ll go ahead and I’m going to ask Amanda another question.

How much does it cost to charge a hybrid car?

How much does it cost to charge a plug-in vehicle, or how do I figure out what I’m going to have to pay to recharge my new plug-in vehicle?

Yeah so it’s actually a pretty simple calculation, there’s a couple ways you can look at it. When you’re charging your vehicle, as I mentioned before, there’s going to be a certain amount of power your car can take in which is determined by its onboard charger.

Then you’ll also have the charging station which has a specific output power. Assuming that you have a charging station that can deliver up to the max of what the car can take in you’d be charging at your fastest rate. And using the amount of power that the car takes in you can find out approximately per hour how much that’s costing you or you can do a little bit of a simpler calculation of empty to full.

An example of an empty to full calculation would be, say that you purchased a full electric vehicle that has a 60 kilowatt-hour battery. Essentially you would need 60 kilowatt hours to fill that battery from empty to full.

So you would take the size of that battery pack and simply multiply that by your kilowatt-hour rate from your utility. That would give you roughly from empty to full what it would cost you. It really varies by vehicle but it could be less than $1 up to $5-10 depending on the battery pack size, how much of it needs to be filled.

You’re not always charging from empty to full so that’s why we like to look at cost per hour of charge as well which would basically just be taking that same killowatt-hour rate that you have from you utility but rather than multiplying that by battery pack size you would use your onboard charger rating for your vehicle.

That information can be hard to find but we do offer an EVSE Selector Tool on our website. You can go- it’s right on our Home page it’s also under Resources. You can actually select the make and model of the vehicle you have and it will not only populate all of the recommendations for charging but all of the vehicle specifications.

From type of vehicle, to onboard charger rating, battery size, can it use a DC Fast charging port, the range of that vehicle. So it has all the information that you would need to make those calculations. We also provide the cost-to-charge in the [EVSE] Selector Tool underneath each charging station to give you an idea of empty to full charge for that particular model.

Again it’s going to vary based on the car, battery pack size, and the rate that’s shown on our website is using a national average residential per kilowatt rate. So it will vary based on your specific rate from utility as well.

Awesome, thanks Amanda. We’ve got a couple of other questions that have come in. So I’m going to jump into them in order. These are both good ones. Oh, three questions now! Alright hold on, uh, okay I’m going to go to the first one. I didn’t mean hold on on questions if you’ve got more keep them coming, just excited about three questions here.

Hardwired vs plug connected EV chargers

So let’s see here, “Are there advantages”- this question is from Guy Hall with SacEV, “Are there advantages to hardwired EVSE over a 14-50 plug?” So we’re talking about hardwired versus plug-in Level 2 or 240 Volt EVSE. So are there any advantages?

Yeah so typically if you can hardwire we recommend hardwiring. Hardwiring does provide you the best connection to that power. If you’re installing outdoors it’s highly recommended that you do the hardwired, and just, again, best connection to power and also best weather-proofing for that connection to power.

The other thing to consider with plug-in stations: they are convenient in the sense that you can unplug it and move it if you move locations, it’s a little bit simpler. A hardwired one can definitely be moved it just needs to be probably done by an electrician because they’re going to be disconnecting wiring and then reconnecting that wiring.

The plug-in stations also- the National Electric Code has a requirement for 240 Volt outlets to have GFCI breakers installed with them. Those GFCI breakers have a pretty low trip threshold so sometimes, very rare that you come across this but sometimes, you could have neusence tripping that breaker while you’re charging using that type of breaker. So hardwiring will definitely avoid that.

Hardwiring in general can be lower cost too. You don’t have to buy the outlet, the GFCI breaker is not typically required in a hardwired installation and those types of breakers can be relatively more expensive than just your standard type of breaker.

Typically we recommend hardwiring especially outdoors. Inside the garage a lot of people like the plug-in models for that option of moving it if they move homes or maybe they rent and they only have an outlet available to them so it’s a great option for those who may already have an outlet installed or maybe want to repurpose an outlet that they’re not using. A really commonly asked question related to outlets is using a dryer outlet that someone has. They’ve now switched to a gas dryer, no longer use the outlet that they have for it. In some cases the dryer outlet is the appropriate one for EV charging, you just purchase the station with the matching plug type and you’re good to go.

There is an older style dryer outlet out there, it was mentioned actually in our safety video that played before this, it’s a three-prong style that’s not grounded. So typically that one is going to have to be repurposed and some re-wiring done by the electrician to make it work but it’s a great way to keep things lower cost rather than installing a brand new circuit and outlet or hardwiring if you have that option.

Charging habits for battery longevity

Great, awesome! I’m going to jump to the next question. This one came in from Lynn, “Is it better for the EV battery to charge via Level 2, 240 Volt power or standard Level 1, 120 Volt power?”

Either case is not bad for the battery. The vehicle has an onboard battery management system that one of its main functions is to constantly monitor the battery for a number of different factors and even make adjustments to the amount of power that’s coming in for charging to keep the battery in its best zone for the longevity of the battery.

So no impact on the battery with Level 1 versus Level 2 but you may see some impact on the utility rates. In most cases Level 2 is going to be more efficient for the batteries and for the vehicle’s onboard charger. So, a step back I guess, when we’re talking about Level 1 and Level 2 the actual charger for the battery is on board the vehicle. So the charging station or the EVSE is acting as an electrical safety appliance to provide a safe and manageable way to pass large amounts of power from the building into the vehicle. We’re acting as a pass-through device and then the actual charging is happening on the vehicle where the vehicle is going to convert the AC power that’s coming from the wall to DC power which is what we store in batteries.

Part of that process is going to use an onboard charger. Onboard chargers tend to work at their maximum efficiency when they’re operating at the top of their rating. So if your vehicle has a 7.2 kilowatt onboard charger which is the common size for pure electric vehicles today, that onboard charger is going to be at its maximum efficiency so you’re using all the power in the most efficient way when you’re charging it at that Level 2 at about 30 to 32 Amps.

So the difference between Level 1 and Level 2 shouldn’t have an impact on the battery. You may see a positive impact on the utility bill in the form of a lower bill. When you’re charging at Level 2 you’re using the power more efficiently and it may also allow you to take care of all your charging needs within the utility’s reduced rate window.

Charging cable length

Hopefully that answered that. I’ll jump in, looks like we’ve got a couple more questions that have come in here. So another one from Guy. “How long are the charging cables? Any minimum recommended length? And – What happens if you drive over the EVSE cable?” Does it burn the tires I think is the question.

All ClipperCreek products include a 25 foot charging cable. This is actually the longest length we’re allowed to provide and still receive our safety certifications given the requirements from National Electric Code and also UL.

Recommended that you leave the longest length possible. Reason being is a lot of times you know, you have your car parked in the garage and maybe right next to the charging station but you may have a car that has a port that is right next to it right now but then you buy a different vehicle and the port becomes on the back-side passenger instead of the front driver. There’s not a standard place where the ports are so, by ports I mean the inlet on the vehicle that you would plug into, so by having the longer cable length that gives you that flexibility should it be a different car or maybe you purchase a second car and you want to be able to reach to that vehicle as well from that same charging station.

All of the stations that we provide have integrated cable wraps or we sell a Cable Cradle so that any excess cable that you’re not using can be loosely be wrapped around that, storing it conveniently off the ground for you. So there are ways to manage that cable even if you’re not going to be using all of it. But definitely recommended to leave the longest length possible just to give you that extra flexibility in those different situations of maybe different inlet locations or trying to charge multiple vehicles within the same space.

And then, running it over – uh [laughs] – Don’t want to run over the cable consistently but if you run over it accidentally they’re built to be able to withstand that but definitely want to make sure you’re moving that out of the way and not causing any damage to your unit. And inspect the cabling, also, if that happens.

I think that’s a good thing to kind of also mention public charging as it relates to that. So the cable – we definitely don’t recommend driving over it if you can help it. Accidents do happen and the cables seem to withstand an accidental roll-over or two but it would be important if you did that to inspect the cables for any signs of damage. If any of the jacketing cracks or splits you definitely want to contact the manufacturer or the company that you purchased it from and get their input on what to do because that could be a potential safety hazard.

It’s also important that when you’re out charging in public to remember that this is equipment that’s used by the general public so not necessarily the people that own it and respect it and treat it as you would treat something that you’ve purchased and installed in your home. So take a look at the cable for any signs of damage. And especially take a look at barrel of the connecter before you plug it into your vehicle for any signs of excessive wear, damage, or melting.

Not that it happens often but these are things that are out in the public. They could be subject to abuse, and that abuse may not have been reported by the time you come up and use it. So, please when you’re charging out in public take a look at the connector nozzle before you plug it into the vehicle. It can save you a lot of heartache if you happen to be unlucky enough to come across something that’s damaged.

GFCI outlets for EV chargers

Let’s see here, the next question on the list is from Lynn, “Are there GFCI outlet for 240 Volt or just 120 Volt?” It is just 120 Volt that actually has the outlets that are GFCI protected. When it comes to 240 Volt they go and provide that protection in the form of a breaker where the actual circuit breaker is what’s measuring for that current voltage.

GFCI outlets are like the outlets you would have in your kitchen, bathroom or outdoors, areas that are potentially susceptible to water and they’re measuring to make sure that there’s no current leakage in the circuit. Current leakage in a circuit is a potential safety hazard. So it’s providing that protection. And that protection is also provided by the EVSE or charging station.

It’s just as Amanda had mentioned the National Electric Code, which is adopted by local electric code, now requires that if you’re installing a plug-in Level 2 charging station the outlet that it’s being plugged into has to be GFCI protected and since they don’t make GFCI outlets at the 240 Volt level that’s where that requirement for the GFCI breaker comes in.

Future-proofing EVSE infrastructure

We’ll jump to the next one. Next one on the list is from Guy, thank you Guy and Lynn for all the great questions so far. Oh and it looks like we’ve got a new one below that so stay on the edge of your seats here. So let’s see, “If I plan to stay at my home for the foreseeable future what should I do to future-proof my solution via EVSE selection and installation?”

So, when you’re choosing a charging station one of the things that we always like to recommend is looking into a higher power option especially for those who have plug-in hybrid vehicles. A lot of those vehicles are limited to lower power charging, roughly about 15 Amps of charging versus your all-electrics where they typically take in 32 Amps or more.

In the cases when you’re looking at the stations we usually recommend at least going with a 32 Amp charging station just because in that sense you’re going to cover not only the plug-in electric vehicle that you may have but also be able to charge a fully electric vehicle in the future at potentially its max rate depending on which one that you purchase.

There are higher power options out there that are over 32 Amps. Sometimes people do 40 Amp charging and then there’s of course higher than that. The 40 Amp one is also a popular solution because a lot of people will have outlets installed and it will be either that NEMA 14-50 outlet that Guy had asked about previously or a NEMA 6-50 outlet that are kind of the two most common ones that you’ll see.

Those outlets are typically installed on a 50 Amp circuit so if you wanted to maximize the output capacity of the 50 Amp circuit you can actually do 40 Amp charging. The breakers here in the US they’re not rated for continuous use so that’s why the breaker size is a little bit larger than what the output power of the station is but those who have a 50 Amp circuit in place or 50 Amp rated outlet with that matching circuit. Sometimes just going with the extra power at the start is a great way to have that available, maximize the infrastructure that you have and use an existing outlet or the outlet that you had installed.

Not necessarily required for all people, 32 Amp or maybe even 24 Amp or 16 Amp charging may work for a lot of people because they drive less miles. Most people can charge overnight at their home so when you have that 8 to 10 hour period of charging you may not necessarily need to charge your car as fast as possible.

To give you an example if you’re charging at a 32 Amp rate, which is probably the most popular power level and what most all of the electric vehicles take in, you’re looking at recouping approximately up to 25 to 30 miles of range per hour of charge. Over an 8 hour period that could be 200-300 miles that you’re getting back over night which for most people would probably cover their next day’s commute.

Definitely looking at 32 Amp charging or higher is usually what we’d recommend especially if you’re considering purchasing another electric vehicle down the line just to make sure that you have enough power to get you fully charged up for your next day.

Security for your EV charger

Great, thanks Amanda. Alright so the next question I’ve got on the list is from Sharon, “Is there a way to secure the cable to the car via a lock so it’s not stolen?”

So-

And-

Yeah go-

Oh I was just going to say, so there actually are some vehicles that will lock the connector into their inlet, it’s not every make and model but some of them do do that and basically it won’t let you disconnect that connector from the inlet until the vehicle is unlocked either with your key FOB or your key. On some of our charging stations, or a majority of them, there’s a hole on the latch button. So on the top of every connector there’s the button that you would press to basically release the connector from your inlet. There is a small hole in that button that you can actually place a lock through and that would allow you to make it so that you can’t press that button to release it from the inlet or maybe a holster that you have installed.

Ultimately if you’re concerned about theft of the station some of the things you could do is to install lighting around the station, signage, cameras whether they be real or dummy cameras or even installing the station inside a lockable enclosure. We’ve had some customers use electrical enclosures, some people have built their own kind of really neat cabinets and things like that that they put their station inside. There’s actually some pictures on our Buyer’s Guide under Residential there’s a cool stand that someone built out of wood and has a little weather vane on the top. So, there’s options for doing that too.

Um, and then, there’s one other thing that I was going to mention, it slipped my mind. Um…

All of our stations include the locks.

Yeah we do include the locks for any of the stations that- we include a key lock and then we also sell combination locks on the website if you’d prefer not to use a key.

Great!

Yeah I’m trying to remember that other thing but, if it comes back to me I’ll say it.

[On screen: Listen at 53:00 to see what she remembered]

Just jump in with it.

Yeah!

Shared EV charging management

So while you’re thinking about that I’ll jump to the next question on here, this one’s from Brett, “I’m interested in any advice regarding how to manage chargers for shared garage in a condo building, co-housing.” Oh! Another question popped in I lost my space, one second, here we go. So let’s see, “Managing charging in a shared garage, where the residents all know each other, is there any network service better or cheaper than JuiceNet,” which is a network service that exists out there. “Also curious why ClipperCreek isn’t listed in CALeVIP – that’s a grant program for California Energy Commission – why ClipperCreek isn’t listed in the CALeVIP eligible products.”

Okay so I’ll jump into this one. So managing charging in a shared parking garage. We have seen a lot of ways of going about this, we’ve seen network systems like the JuiceNet system that’s mentioned, be implemented where the property manager at the complex is looking to restrict, assign access to specific users, and may or may not have a billing element associated with it.

We’ve seen implementations where the equipment owner is – and this again would be like a property management company – is interested in offering charging as an amenity to their guests so they’ll restrict access through something as simple as a key switch that’s built into the side of the station or integrate into their building access control. So the residents use a card, the same card that they might use to get into the gym, to activate charging. In that case, they would – and this is some sort of self-managed options that are lower cost than you know, having it done through a service provider or third party network which also those options exist but tying it to building access control and then they can give permissions through the access control system which can be monetized or not.

If they’re interested in- If you need that permission on your RFID card you have to pay an extra $50 a month, as an example. There are other systems out there from companies like Liberty Plugins, which is more of a centralized kiosk-based system. Those are going to have costs associated, where the company Liberty Plugins in this example acts as a service provider to provide that access control. They may also act as a provider to take care of the billing for the complex if they want to be hands-off.

When it comes to third parties I use Liberty as an example but there are other companies out there, Off Connect, Zeal Energy, Zeff Energy. To name a few that we work with as well as companies that you may have heard of like ChargePoint, or EV Connect, or Green Lots, that offer essentially management services for the charging station, they’re called EV service providers.

Through their system you may be able to do billing, reservations, access control. And these are generally features that are in all of the different systems I sort of rattled off. And they’re going to charge you ongoing monthly fees for connection to the network and whatever services they’re offering.

So, very long-winded answer but there are a lot of different ways to do it and we can are certainly happy to talk through it a bit more in detail because I’m being very general on this call. It kind of depends on what the goals are of the management company on how involved they want to be in the process versus how hands-off they want to be.

And then the other sort of aspect of shared parking charging in co-housing is, there are scenarios where you might own the space that you’re looking to put the infrastructure in. And there are a number of different scenarios that come into play in that as well where you may be interested in some basic access control. As Sharon was kind of asking the question about, how do I make sure no one steals this cable?

If you own the space there may be a meter connected to the station and then you’re getting a separate bill for the power that you use for charging and then also your home, and you want to make sure that no one else is using it. So you may want to have some basic level of access control on the station that is installed in the parking space that you own and that you’re paying the meter bill on.

And then there’s also cases where it’s powered through a common power, the same thing that would be utilized at a complex to power the gym, or the swimming pool and the hot tub, things like that. And then it kind of becomes: What are the goals? Do we want to offer this as an amenity? Is it something that we want to recoup some revenue on? And then there are different solutions and different systems that we would recommend based on what they’re looking to accomplish and also what they’re looking to offer it as. And what their appetite is as far as being hands-on or hands-off, or somewhere in between.

EVSE networking

So I hope that- Oh! And then the CALeVIP- We just uh, we don’t have products that meet the specific networking requirements called out in that grant program so we take a little bit of a different approach to networking and managing charging than what’s sort of prescribed in that program’s requirements.

Our equipment is qualified for a lot of other programs that exist out there, so if there’s interest in identifying rebates or programs that ClipperCreek equipment does qualify for we’re certainly happy to help walk people through that process to identify what those programs are.

Outdoor EV charging

I’m going to jump to the next one here, next question on the list is from Lynn, let’s see here. “Assuming the charger wire and adaptor is in good shape, any charging outdoor wet weather conditions concerns, issues, any maintenance, replacement gaskets…?”

Okay so outdoor charging, I think, there’s more to unpack in this question but let me start there. Assuming everything is in good shape, is charging outdoor in wet weather okay or are there any weather conditions where its not acceptable and also any general information on maintaining a charging station?

Want to take that one, Amanda?

Yeah, sure! As far as charging outdoors goes there’s really no issue as long as you have a charging station that’s rated for installation outdoors. So you want to look for ratings, usually you’ll see things like NEMA-3R or NEMA-4 ratings for the enclosures. 3R is one where it can be outside but it does let water through as long as it drains back out. NEMA-4 is really what we would recommend you look for, that’s a fully sealed enclosure so it’s not going to let in rain, dust. All the models that we provide are NEMA-4 rated, so rain, snow, direct sunlight, none of that is any kind of concern for the station.

We also provide connector holsters so you’re protecting the holster when it’s stored away and not plugged into the vehicle. A lot of the other manufacturers out there have similar ways of protecting the connector that you’ll see. When you plug into your vehicle in wet weather, whether that’s snow, rain, one of the things you want to do is to look at the connector head, make sure that if it wasn’t stored in something that there’s water in there. If there is just kind of shake that out, make sure that you have the best connection to the vehicle.

Once you connect to the vehicle that forms a water-tight seal. So there’s no issues when you’re charging outside and you’re in the elements. One of the notes in here was about lightning storms… um, there’s not a lot that stops lightning, it’s a lot of power that comes in very, very quickly. If you can avoid charging in lightning storms it would be recommended.

One of the things you can do to try to protect your home and the appliances in your home is having a whole-home surge arrester. It’s something that’s usually installed at the panel level to try to provide some protection but like I mentioned, lightning is a lot of power and it very, very quickly comes in so if you can avoid charging during a lightning storm it would be recommended to do so. Otherwise, looking into something like the whole-home surge arrester is something to try to provide some protection on that, would definitely be recommended.

As far as maintenance, the charging stations really require little to no maintenance. Some of the things that we mentioned earlier like inspecting your cable, the body of your station, checking your connector, looking at all of the pins on that, making sure there’s no damage to those… that’s something to do periodically or each time you plug in, you know, make sure there’s no damage.

When it’s at home and you’re the only one using it you’re not going to see as much damage potentially as what you’d see at a public charging station. But always good to give it a look over, maybe give the station a wipe-down, keep it clean, that type of thing. Other than that there’s really not much maintenance to them, they’re pretty much workhorses and do what they’re supposed to do, inside or outside.

And, I did remember one of the things I wanted to mention with the charging and outside to Sharon was when, as far as like theft and locking the stations, putting the station in a more discrete place at your home. So if you have to put it outside, putting it on the side of your home or I’ve seen like one of my neighbors has a station, they’ve actually put it behind their fence on that side of their home and then they run the cabling over to their car. Some people install them in their garage and then run the cabling outside the door to the car if it can’t be parked inside the garage. Just want to make sure you leave a gap for the cabling and not close the garage door all the way down on it, just to keep the longevity of the cable and not damage it. But I did remember that and wanted to mention that too. Some people put plants and decorative stuff like that in front of the stations to kind of distract from them being there also.

Did you want to add anything Will to the outside charging or- ?

Um no that’s great, that’s safe to do in all weather conditions but if there is lightning and you can wait you should- you should wait, if you can help it at all. If lightning does come through it could quite potentially damage the EVSE or the charging station but the real concern is damage to the vehicle, because that’s the really expensive system.

Portable EV charging

Jump to the next one here, we’ve got another question from Sharon, “Are there fully portable charging options where you can charge at home and take with you for a trip?”

So mainly that would be what I would consider the Level 1 charging station just because it uses the 120 Volt plug so you’re going to be able to find that standard plug at most places that you would go to weather that’s like another friend’s home, a vacation home, something like that.

There are charging stations in the Level 2 category, the 240 Volt, that are plug-in. I would more consider them travel-friendly based on the smaller size and being able to kind of move them around. There’s some larger Level 2 stations so looking for one that’s a little bit smaller, more compact, would make it more travel-friendly.

The kind of tough thing and tricky thing with Level 2 charging on the go is that the 240 Volt outlets there’s no standard type. So they’re very appliance-specific. You have ones for dryers, you have ones for your range, you have ones for your high-powered tools, welders, things like that. So going to a location unknown, you’ve never visited there before, you may not be able to find that matching outlet that you require for your station.

If you have two homes, or a workplace, or a friend’s home and you know they have that existing outlet that makes it easy to bring the station with you and plug it in there. But as far as just kind of like out in the wild it can be a little bit trickier.

For people who want to take them on trips what we usually recommend is considering a unit with that NEMA 14-50 plug type, the reason being is that’s a commonly used plug and outlet for RV shore power. So you’ll find it at campgrounds or RV parks where they have full power hookup for those types of vehicles, the motorhomes. Sometimes you can take them to those types of places and charge but definitely would recommend looking into that ahead of time when you’re planning a long road trip.

Also, using public charging as you can when you’re traveling. So there are websites like PlugShare, the Department of Energy also has a map that shows where there’s different charging stations. So using something like that to kind of map out your route and where you could stop to charge is a great tool.

PlugShare has a website and they also have an app that you can download. And you simply just type in either a specific address or city, zip code, and it will basically generate pins on a map and it will show you where there’s Level 2 charging as well as DC Fast charging if your car is capable of using that. So using a resource like that to plan out a trip is a good way to look for Level 2 charging on the go. And then if you can use a smaller, more travel-friendly unit and there’s an outlet available that you know you can use you can do that as well.

I think just to clarify what I was thinking about if I were going camping into the wilderness, so I’m not going to go where there’s an RV hookup, is there something that you would pre-charge that holds the charge if you will? I just bought a Bolt so I don’t know much about this stuff but- where I could take it with me and potentially plug it into the car to recharge the car. Does that make sense?

Yeah, I understand. Um, not- not that I’m aware of, I don’t know if Will knows of anything like that? Aside from someone using a gas generator which kind of defeats the purpose.

No, yeah.

I’m not aware of something that stores enough power for charging like that just because it is a high amount of power.

Right, gotcha.

Yeah portable generators are probably the closest thing right now. There’s been some, you know, there’s been some folks working on solar generators for that purpose but I’m not aware that anything’s actually totally available yet. But there’s been some articles about it and things like that that people are- a couple of DIY things for the Nissan Leaf a couple years back and things like that but yeah not totally off-grid portable that I’m aware of yet. 

Okay, thank you. 

Wrapping things up

Yeah and I think that brings us to the top of the hour or the bottom of the hour. It’s a little after three, and I think we were slated for two to three so I’ll oh- we’ve got one last question from Lynn, but before I answer that I just wanted to thank everyone for attending- Victoria, Rebecca, and Rachel with our Marketing team that’s online, thank you for pulling this all together. And I really appreciate all the great questions that everyone had throughout this and hopefully it was beneficial to folks.

So yeah check out more National Drive Electric Week events, check out our website for the resources and our contact information. If you have any additional questions don’t be shy.

Protect EV charging cables from rodents

Lynn’s last question, “Rodents love to eat electrical wires,” this is true we’ve seen it, “anything out there now to make the wires less interesting or tasty?”

Um, the things that I’ve seen, I think they’ve got rodent repellent tape which I think is like tape with hot sauce on it, or pepper spray type stuff on it. We’ve seen that be successful, just sort of wrapped it around the cable. But yeah rodents do like it. Try to keep the cable up off the ground I guess and just your standard rodent repellent tapes and things like that have been successful for folks.

[On screen: We recommend a Cable Cradle for cable management.

Um so yeah, thank you all!

Yeah, thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you everybody for joining us today!

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