An EVSE is one of the first accessories you’ll likely consider buying for your electric vehicle. Here’s how to select the best electric vehicle charger
Commonly called electric vehicle chargers, the charger is actually in the vehicle, and the ‘plug’ you need is more accurately just for supplying the electricity – EVSE stands for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment.
Determine how much current you need, and what wiring is necessary
In order to plug in your EVSE, you need to have the correct receptacle, as well as a circuit in your house that can handle the power draw required.
For an EVSE that can charge at a rate of 30 amps, a circuit with at least 40 amps rating and breaker are recommended. If you want to get ahead of the game and be ready for faster-charging rates of the future, look at a 50 or even 75 amp breaker.
How long of an EVSE cord will you need?
25 feet is starting to be somewhat of a common length, but some of the cheapest EVSEs will only have a 10, 15, or if you’re lucky, a 20 foot cable length.
EVSE cord length needed depends on a few factors:
- How close can you park to your EVSE? Or the wall receptacle if you have a portable EVSE?
- Is the plug-in port on your vehicle located at the front, side, or rear of your EV?
- Do you want to have more flexibility, or park and plug in a specific way in order to minimize the length needed?
Do I need a portable EVSE?
Electric vehicle chargers come in portable versions and hard-wired versions that can be mounted to the wall of your parking space. If you would like the flexibility of parking in other locations, then portable is a must-have. You can take a portable one along on vacation, or to a friend’s house or your cabin. If the EVSE is mounted to your wall, you can’t take it with.
How much does an EVSE cost?
Depending on how much current your EVSE is rated for, and if the EVSE has wifi or smartphone connectivity, prices can range upwards of $1000. Be sure to check with your local government for possible incentives on either wiring your house for an EVSE, or even rebates for the actual EVSE.
Not all manufacturers are created equal. Be sure to check for UL certification (if safety is important to you). When EVs were first catching on back in 2011, there were only a few options for EVSEs. Now, there are lots of experienced and established companies producing all models of EVSE.
In no particular order: