Despite the emergence of fast public chargers in many American cities, home charging continues to be a key advantage of electric vehicles (EVs). It’s likely to stay this way, so early EV adopters have nothing to worry about come 2030 when many countries plan to stop selling non-hybrid gasoline and diesel cars. While liquid fuel could become expensive and gas stations rarer, the number of public rapid charging stations around you will likely keep on growing.
Getting a wall charger is now easier than ever, and even if you park on your EV on the street. Most wall chargers on sale in the USA have complex electronics and WiFi-based communication and a simple lock and key. If you get the right charger, it’ll charge your vehicle in the quickest time possible. We recommend spec’ing your home charger according to the maximum power rating of your car’s electrical system. Getting a higher-wattage charger is no problem, but if it can’t provide enough power, you might not get a full battery after an overnight charge.
If that sounds formidable, know that there’s plenty of help from customer support and comprehensive manuals are available online. Some of them are linked below. You’ll need to call an electrician for a hardwire connection — most people don’t have a 4-pin dryer port in a convenient location in their parking space. Only an experienced electrician wearing the right safety gear should be handling high-voltage power lines.
The first question you might be asking is — which EV charger to buy? It depends on which EV you have or are planning to buy. All you need to do is find out the rated maximum AC charging current, and select a charger accordingly. We’ve fleshed out the pros and cons of two popular products in the EV charging space, the Chargepoint Home Flex and Grizzle-E. Read on for their comprehensive reviews and our comparison.
Product Review: Chargepoint Home Flex EV Charger
Chargepoint is a leading EV charger manufacturer that has created its network of chargers across multiple countries. Without a doubt, the Chargepoint Home Flex Level 2 AC charger has a longer-standing reputation than most other EV chargers available in the market. It also leads the market with 50 amps of alternating current that allows it to charge even the most modern electric cars, from Teslas to Polestars, at high speeds.
You can add around 35 miles of range per hour of charging, according to Chargepoint’s conservative estimate. The real speed simply depends on the maximum wattage allowed by your car’s charging circuit.
The standard NEMA 14-50 plug shipped with the device can be plugged into any 4-pin dryer port. It makes installation a breeze — simply drill a hole in a wall to mount the device, and plug it into a standard 14-50 or 3-pin 6-50 plug. However, even a 240-volt household circuit will only let you charge at up to 40 amps of current. If your EV can’t be fully charged overnight at this wattage, you need to call an electrician and get a hardwired connection for the wall charger. With a 60A circuit breaker in place, the wall charger can supply up to 11.5kW and 50A of current.
The Chargepoint Home Flex charger shows you your car’s charging status via the Chargepoint smartphone app over Wifi. It displays detailed stats every single time you charge your car, irrespective of whether it’s at home, work, or a public charging station. Some EV manufacturers have integrated Chargepoint’s database into their connected car applications, so you don’t have to download and manage two different apps for the car and charger.
The app lets you schedule charging times, charge when the electricity tariff is lower, and even operate the charger using Amazon Alexa voice commands. The latter can be used by anyone who already uses Alexa to control their connected devices at home.
We can only find one flaw with the Chargepoint, and that’s its price. The purchase cost and price of a subscription make it one of the most expensive EV chargers available. However, it is arguably the most universal charger that can charge any Level 2 charging-compatible car at the maximum possible rate, even in 2021.
Product Review: Grizzle-E Level 2 EV Charger
Here’s an EV charger that provides high charging speeds, but doesn’t come with unnecessary and expensive features. Grizzle-E is a Canadian charger manufacturer that builds affordable EV chargers and ships them to the US for free! If you want to keep EV charging simple and free from bloatware, this Level 2 AC charger is for you.
First, the power output — the unit is adjustable for outputs ranging from 16 to 40 amps, but you don’t have to adjust it yourself. Just order the right amperage online, and Grizzle-E will ship you the device already configured and ready to plug into a NEMA 14-50 or 6-50 plug. You can find out what amperage to order from your car’s manual or by calling the carmaker’s or Grizzl-E customer support. If you have a Tesla EV, you can order the Grizzl-E with a Tesla AC plug instead of the universal J1772 plug. That way, you won’t have to spend 80 bucks on a converter.
The Grizzl-E Smart, available to order on the company’s website, gives you all the smart features you expect from your home charger. Most other charger manufacturers create a new app from scratch and then charge the end-user a premium to cover development costs for the software. The Grizzl-E Smart charger, on the other hand, can be operated with any OCCP 1.6 open-source software application. Simply put, it means that you get Wifi connectivity and smart features such as scheduling and updates without the need of a Grizzl-E app.
Each charger is sealed in a cast aluminum casing that provides all-weather protection in both cold and warm conditions. The regular cable supplied with the device is 24 feet long and is recommended for use in warm or temperate climates where the winters are not harsh. If you live in an area with extremely cold weather, Grizzl-E also sells a ‘premium’ cable made from a more sophisticated composite material.
For now, Grizzl-E’s chargers can provide up to 10kW of power. While that is lower than the 11.5kW that the best EV chargers can provide, the difference in charging speeds between the two is marginal. The manufacturer claims speeds of up to 30 miles of range added per hour of charging.
Moreover, the Grizzl-E supplies that power without the need of a hardwired connection, and at a much lower purchase cost than any 11kW charger in the market. Its 3-year warranty is on par with the best EV chargers around. You can even get it in more than one color option, and even a camo design!
Chargepoint Vs Grizzle-E Buying Guide
Let’s Compare the Two
There is a potpourri of EV chargers available online, but what’s the right one for you? Well, that depends on the price, reliability, and to a lesser extent, compatibility with your vehicle. The latter isn’t a major concern if you’re supplying the right amount of power through the car — charging times between two different chargers supplying the same wattage are quite similar.
Chargepoint’s Home Flex charger offers you the brand reliability of a popular product. It also gets you a marginally higher peak charging wattage than most other EV chargers available in the market. Apart from this, Chargepoint does get you a subscription to a widespread network of EV chargers. If you’re one for taking road trips in your EV, the Chargepoint app offers peace of mind and won’t leave you stranded.
On the other hand, the Grizzl-E is a simple, no-nonsense home charging solution. It’s tough, rugged enough to sustain extreme temperatures, and has a foolproof operation. The factory-built output setup is likely to be welcome for older buyers, too. Sure, the output is a bit lower, but the marginal charging time gains from going for a Chargepoint over a Grizzl-E might not be worth the extra cost.
Both chargers are devices targeted toward two different users. A technically aware car owner who lives in temperate climes and drives a big-battery EV will undoubtedly love the Chargepoint for the app and shorter charging times. But for anyone who lives in a place where it snows each year, the ruggedness of the Grizzl-E is likely to offer more peace of mind.
FAQs (Reader and Pro Tips)
Are all Level 2 chargers the same?
No, they are not. There are different certifications for safety (UL), different adapters, different lengths of charging cable, different levels of automation features, and different amp ratings which change the charging time.
Are all EV home chargers the same?
No, they are not. Though every EV comes with a standard charger, each EV manufacturer supplies different equipment. EV home chargers can be portable Level 2 (240-volt) chargers that work well for daily charging. Others are very low-power Level 1 (120-volt) units that will charge the vehicle slowly but are easy to install and inexpensive.
Can I plug my electric car into a regular outlet?
Yes. You can use what is known as a Level 1 (110v) EV charger that can be plugged into a regular wall outlet. This is the easiest option to charge your EV but a 110v outlet takes considerably longer.