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EV Charging Stations — Level 2 Charging



This is a short section of our new, free 2021–2022 EV Chargers Guide. This section is focused on “Level 2” EV charging stations for homes and businesses. More sections of the report will be published shortly, or you can just download the full report now. The report is free thanks to sponsorship from NeoCharge and EV Connect. Note that this report is focused on the US market.

All Level 2 chargers use 240V, but charging speed can vary based on a charger’s amperage and electrical current. Most EVs can take in about 32A, adding around 25 miles of range in an hour. If you need higher speed, you may be satisfied with a faster 50A charger that can add about 37 miles of range per hour of charging. You’ll be able to charge faster with a higher charger amperage only if your electric car can take the power delivered by the EV charger. A 40A charging station will not let you charge faster than a standard 30A if the power acceptance limit of your electric vehicle doesn’t go beyond 30A. There are some EV charging stations that can deliver more power, but not all electric vehicles can accept it.

A standard home EV charging station will provide passthrough AC power to charge the vehicle. The vehicle will then convert the AC power to DC power, using it to recharge the battery. The actual charger is located onboard, inside the electric vehicle. After connecting to the vehicle, the charging station will send information to the vehicle about available power and its level. From that point, it is the vehicle that takes full control of the power transfer.

EV Charging Stations — Hardwired vs. Plug-in

The next step is to choose between a hardwired or a plug-in EV charging station. Hardwired units can be installed indoors and outdoors. However, they are more permanent, so not necessarily ideal for an indoor setting. They are always recommended for outdoor locations, as hardwiring provides a better and weather resistant connection to power. Hardwired units also require a professional and licensed electrician to permanently connect a charger to the home’s or building’s electrical system. Circuit breakers required for installation must correspond with all national and local laws, regulations, ordinances, codes, and safety standards. Certified electricians should choose the correct circuit breaker depending on required electrical power and grid type. Hardwired stations can be moved, but that would require an electrician to uninstall the unit and then reinstall it at the new location (which can be costly).

A plug-in option is a more flexible installation than a hardwired set up, because it allows you to take the charger with you, whenever you travel or move, with no need for an electrician to be involved in the process.

With 240V outlets, there is no standard type of plug. Therefore, you need to choose the one that fits your needs. There are a few plugs available:

+ NEMA 14-30 — commonly used for electric dryers;

+ NEMA 14-50 — commonly used for electric ovens, (and now electric vehicles) often found in RV parks and campgrounds;

+ NEMA 6-50 — common for welders or plasma cutters;

+ NEMA 10-30 — common for older homes and older electric dryers.

In many cases, if your home already has a 240V outlet, you can order the plug that matches what you have and simply mount the station and plug in. If your home does not have a 240V outlet, an electrician can install a new outlet that matches the plug you purchased, which allows you to mount the station and plug in.

Note that installing such outlets can be costly, but there are other things to watch out for that go well beyond those installation costs. It’s possible that your home as a whole won’t be able to provide enough power without some upgrades. Most electrical panels, especially older homes, are rated at 100 amps, but if you’re using multiple appliances and charging your EV, you’ll need a 200 amp panel. To put it in perspective, a dedicated 240V outlet to plug in your electric car, NEMA 14-50, would take up 50 amps out of the 100 amp panel capacity in your home. That’s half of the capacity of your panel, so people with a 100–125 amp panel can be left needing to upgrade these panels, which can easily cost upwards of $1,500+ in installation costs. If you have two electric cars and want a charging station for each, then you could be up to 100 amps with your cars alone. One way to avoid that, though, is with a smart splitter that can either pump all 50 amps into an electric car or split the amps between two vehicles when needed. The NeoCharge 240V Smart Splitter allows you to plug both an appliance and your EV charger, or 2 EV chargers, into your existing outlet without the need for a panel upgrade or an electrician. Still, though, a home with a 100–125 amp panel may need to be upgraded to a higher total home amperage.

All the plug-in EV charging stations can be hardwired, instead of plugged in, giving you the option for how to install one at your own place. Plug-ins with hardwired options are offered by: ClipperCreek, ChargePoint, Electrify America, Enel X, EVoCharge, SolarEdge, and Wallbox. Hardwired units are provided by Blink, ChargePoint, ClipperCreek, EVBox, EVocharge, EverCharge, FLO, SolarEdge, and Wallbox. Please find the information for specific models and brands in the table at the top.

Save Money, Stay Close to Electrical Panel

While choosing the location, the best place to install your EV charger at home is close to the electrical panel, as running conduit from your panel to the charging point can get expensive. For outdoor installation, a weatherproof, hardwired 240V EV charging station is recommended. With a fully sealed NEMA 4 enclosure, all components inside the charging station are protected from the outdoor elements. An outdoor rated charger gives you flexibility to install indoors or out depending on where you want to park. An indoor rated charging station can be installed inside the garage, while the charging cable runs outside to charge your electric vehicle outside. See “Setting Up Home Electric Car Charging On A Budget” for more.

As noted above, as well, you may need to have an electrical panel upgrade unless you have a 240V outlet that can be shared with a smart splitter. If you are not sure what your home has and what you need, consult with an electrician.

Cord/Cable Management

All EV charging stations included in this guide can be placed both indoors and outdoors. The charging cable’s length varies between 18ft and 25ft. A lot of brands offer 2 lengths for their models — ChargePoint gives you an option to choose between 18ft and 23ft for two of its models (CT4000 Family, CPF50), EVBox has 18ft and 25ft options for its Business Line, all three EVoCharge stations come with the option to choose between 18ft and 25ft, and CoRe+ from FLO is available with a 21ft or 25ft cable length.

Some charging stations are equipped with a cable management system, a built-in or remote connector holster that keeps the cables off the ground while not in use. This solution not only keeps the property clean and neat, but also keeps the connector safe from any possible damage that could be caused by dirt, water, or other contaminants. You can find that option in models such as the Blink HQ150 by Blink, the CPF50 by ChargePoint, the EVBox Iqon, all three EVoCharge stations, and the SmartTWO-BSR by FLO. Some EV charging stations come with a cable hanger bracket that keeps the area clean and tidy. You can find this option with the Blink HQ100. You can also find a cord retractor compatible with some models of CS and HCS from ClipperCreek, and with EV002 by EverCharge.

For the full report, download it for free here: 2021–2022 EV Chargers Guide.

Also see: “Charging Electric Car With Normal Electricity Outlet — Level 1 Charging 101” and “Can You Charge An Electric Car With A Regular Outlet? Hell Yes!


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The Solid-State Energy Storage Dam Is About to Bust Wide Open



New solid state lithium-ion energy storage technology is still in the R&D phase, and it has already attracted EV manufacturers who love the idea of packing more muscle into smaller spaces while saving on weight, improving performance, and enhancing their safety profile, too. Now it looks like the stationary storage field is also coming over to the solid-state side, too.

QuantumScape Is On A Solid-State Energy Storage Tear

For those of you new to the topic, conventional lithium-ion batteries are based on a liquid electrolyte, which can be a bit testy unless properly engineered.

One emerging solution is to ditch the liquid electrolyte altogether in favor of a solid material, such as a specialized ceramic. The solid-state approach is also a tricky one, but one of the scientists pursuing the solid-state unicorn is famed University of Texas researcher John Goodenough, who is widely credited with inventing the rechargeable lithium-ion technology of today, and that is a pretty good indicator of the quality of the research in that direction.

Solid-state battery materials were a known thing by the early 19th century, but commercial interest in solid-state batteries didn’t really pick up a head of steam until 2020, when the idea took off like a rocket in the electric vehicle field.

The solid-state battery firm QuantumScape currently cites relationships with three automakers, including Volkswagen Group. The two companies began collaborating on solid-state EV batteries in 2015.

They have upped the ante since then, with plans in the works for a pilot manufacturing facility in Germany. In a recent letter to shareholders, QauntumScape described the battery manufacturing plan and issued a progress report on its four-layer solid-state cells, with each layer consisting of “a cathode, a solid-state separator, and an in-situ formed lithium-metal anode.”

Next Steps For Solid-State Energy Storage

QauntumScape is not letting the energy storage grass grow under its feet. Last week the company announced an agreement with the leading energy technology company Fluence, which is the first non-automotive partnership for its lithium-metal battery technology.

That’s a significant development, considering that as recently as last summer the market analyst IDTechEx was assuming that electric vehicles would lead the demand for solid-state batteries, followed by smart phones. Stationary storage could skip right over both of their heads in short order.

“The strategic relationship brings together two companies leading in technology innovation focused on accelerating clean energy adoption and reducing global carbon emissions,” QuantumScape enthuses. “The companies will collaborate on what they believe to be a first-of-its-kind solution to incorporate QuantumScape’s battery technology into Fluence stationary energy storage products as specific technical and commercial milestones are met.”

The two firms are eyeballing a hot growth rate for stationary energy storage in the coming years. Fluence already has a track record in deploying energy storage to improve transmission networks and replace new gas peaker plants, so look for the partners to zero in on those areas as well as others.

As a partner company that links Siemens and the utility AES, Fluence is in a good position to speed those lithium-metal batteries to market whenever they come rolling off the assembly line.

More Solid-State Batteries For More EVs

Meanwhile, last spring Ford and BMW also hooked up to the solid-state battery train last year. Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis caught the solid-state bug, too. GM dropped a hint about its future solid-state battery ambitions last month when it formed a partnership with the Korean firm POSCO Chemical. Toyota and Hyundai are also reported to be on board.

That’s an awfully big field of energy storage players scrambling for technology that probably won’t hit the market until 2025. However, it does give the R&D folks time to work out any remaining kinks.

One especially interesting development recently popped up in a study published in the journal Nature, which describes a “a class of elastomeric solid-state electrolytes with a three-dimensional interconnected plastic crystal phase.” The new electrolytes demonstrate “a combination of mechanical robustness, high ionic conductivity, low interfacial resistance and high lithium-ion transference number” along with “a powerful strategy for enabling stable operation of high-energy, solid-state lithium batteries.”

The research is a collaboration between the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

In a press release on the new study, GIT explains that elastomers are common synthetic rubbers. Rubber is not the first material that comes to mind when the topic turns to next-generation energy storage materials, but the research team gave their elastomer a high tech twist that transformed it into a “superhighway for fast lithium-ion transport with superior mechanical toughness, resulting in longer charging batteries that can go farther.”

“The key breakthrough was allowing the material to form a three-dimensional interconnected plastic crystal phase within the robust rubber matrix. This unique structure has resulted in high ionic conductivity, superior mechanical properties and electrochemical stability,” explains GIT.

The new electrolytes prevent the lithium dendrite growth that bedevils their liquid counterparts. GIT also notes that fabricating the new electrolyte is a relatively simple, low temperature process that yields a high quality result.

But…What About The Lithium?

Yes, what about it? EV supply chain observers have been watching the lithium supply chain like a hawk. The general consensus is that there needs to be a serious uptick in availability as the energy storage market takes off.

Solid-state technology can assist, partly by introducing more robust batteries with a longer lifecycle, and by decluttering the recycling pathway. However, the global lithium supply chain still has to pump itself up as the demand for batteries accelerates.

Lithium mining and brine extraction are two solutions at hand, but they can easily run afoul of environmental and cultural preservation goals. A more promising area of lithium R&D is geothermal extraction without the use of large evaporation lagoons.

Last June our friends over at the US Department of Energy produced a blueprint for lithium supply in the US and noted that “The worldwide lithium-battery market is expected to grow by a factor of 5 to 10 in the next decade.”

“The U.S. industrial base must be positioned to respond to this vast increase in market demand that otherwise will likely benefit well-resourced and supported competitors in Asia and Europe,” they added.

Game on!

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EVs Beat Diesels As Electric Car Sales Ramp up in Europe



Auto analyst Mathias Schmidt tells the Financial Times that sales of battery-electric cars in Europe and the UK were higher than sales of diesel-powered cars for the first time in December. “The diesel death march has been playing on repeat since September 2015 when ‘Dieselgate’ was first unveiled — causing VW to draw up the first plans of the ID.3 within 30 days of the scandal coming to light,” he said. The December data indicates 176,000 battery electric vehicles were sold in December — 6% more than in December, 2020 — as opposed to 160,000 diesels.

The Financial Times goes to some lengths to point out to its readers that the boom in electric cars is largely attributable to generous government subsidies and draconian emissions rules that force manufacturers to build low and zero emissions cars. That approach, of course, is anathema to “free market” advocates. If it weren’t for the fact that the world is hurtling toward a climate catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, such market machinations might be condemned and rightfully so.

The Financial Times reports the German government is about to revisit the wisdom of tax credits for diesel fuel that make it 14 cents per liter cheaper than premium gasoline. The love affair with diesel in Europe began after the OPEC oil embargoes in the 1970s.

Diesel engines do squeeze more miles out of a gallon of fuel than gasoline engines, and so there was a reason to promote the sale of diesel-powered vehicles at that time. The mechanism most countries chose was to increase taxes on gasoline and decrease taxes on diesel fuel. The justification for doing that has long since evaporated, however.

According to SwissInfo, sales of electric vehicles — including plug-in hybrids and conventional hybrids — reached a “tipping point” in 2021, particularly at the end of the year. For the period from September to November, fully electric vehicles accounted for 18.3% of new registrations. Including plug-in hybrids, that figure rose to 28% according to the Touring Club Switzerland. The Tesla Model 3 leads all other EV models in sales in Switzerland. The Volkswagen ID.3 is in second place, with less than half as many cars sold.

“Given the ongoing technological advancements, increased social acceptance and the ever-increasing choice of electric vehicle models, the development of electromobility is progressing faster than expected. The 50%-mark for fully electric vehicles, which most experts expected only around 2030, should therefore be reached significantly faster than expected,” TCS said.

While Switzerland’s EV charging infrastructure is on par with that in other European countries — a total of 8,497 public charging stations were available across Switzerland as of the end of 2021 — there are still too few chargers available for apartment dwellers and those who park on the street. “The hurdles for home charging are still too high for tenants, owners of apartments and residents who park on the streets,” says Krispin Romang, managing director of the Swiss eMobility association.

Switzerland is implementing new laws designed to slash carbon emissions by 50% in 2030 as compared to 1990. They include tightening tailpipe emission standards to make them similar to those imposed by the EU. Fines imposed by the new law will be used to pay for charging infrastructure upgrades.

The Takeaway

The Financial Times may harrumph about government subsidies and regulations, but they are working. If they smack of socialism to some, so be it. Socialism is preferable to extinction any day.

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Extreme E Sustainability Award Goes to Team X44 (Video)



X44 have become the first winners of the Extreme E Sustainability Award after topping the standings in the series’ inaugural Count Us In Challenge. The Extreme E Count Us In Challenge is a simple way for people to take practical and impactful steps that reduce their carbon footprint — and challenge governments, cities, and businesses to accelerate progress on climate action.

Extreme E aims to accelerate the adoption of clean and electrified transport to help protect people and the planet, with the Extreme E Count Us In Challenge also supporting the UN’s Race To Zero campaign. Race to Zero is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.

Extreme E is a challenging racing expedition, a global odyssey, taking 100% electric SUVs to extreme environments. They have a single goal in mind — to highlight the destruction of our planet and to inspire people, companies, and locations to urgently change course and go on the positive journey we must all take. The racing series hopes to inspire everyone to change course for the good of our home planet.

Fans vote for the Extreme E Sustainability Award by supporting their favorite team through making healthier lifestyle choices for themselves and the planet. They set up a profile with Count Us In to keep track of the carbon they are saving. The tracking also adds steps to all the steps people make on the Extreme E platform.

Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Extreme E, congratulated X44 as the winners of the Extreme E Sustainability Award via the series’ first-ever Count Us In Challenge. “Sport is an incredible platform to not only raise awareness of the climate crisis,” Agag said, “the single biggest threat to our planet today, but also inspire action to tackle it. At Extreme E we will continue to push the boundaries and shine a spotlight on the issues we face, along with the need to act now to help protect our futures.”

Lewis Hamilton, founder of X44, explained that Extreme E, as a new sustainability initiative, “brings my vision for a more sustainable and equal world to life. Extreme E really appealed to me because of its environmental focus. Every single one of us has the power to make a difference, and it means so much to me that I can use my love of racing, together with my love for our planet, to have a positive impact.”

Fan support for X44 through the Extreme E Sustainability Award must come as solace to Hamilton, who lost the Formula 1 driving championship in 2021 when the FIA chose the final race and title winner. Mercedes conceded that “it’s going to take a long time for us to digest” the Formula 1 end-of-2021 season results, revealing that “we will never overcome the pain and the distress” that the final lap decisions caused.

What’s Behind the Extreme E Sustainability Award

Motor racing is a constant hub of transport innovation, and Extreme E represents the latest clean technology, running X Prixs in some of Earth’s most remote and stunning locations while raising awareness for the climate crisis. Extreme E and Count Us In joined forces ahead of Season 1 to launch the Extreme E Count Us In Challenge — a campaign using the power of sport and the excitement of motor racing to inspire fans to take practical steps on climate change. The sport for purpose series asked fans to take real pledges to lead a less carbon intensive lifestyle to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Extreme E Count Us In Challenge includes a variety of actions available to fans to contribute towards a greener future, including not using single-use plastic, walking and cycling more, eating more plant-based foods and driving an electric vehicle. Each step is attributed to the fans’ favorite team, and the team with the most steps at the end of Season 1 would win the inaugural Extreme E Sustainability Award.

The specific steps that Extreme E recommends to its fans are:

Drive electric: Make your next vehicle purchase electric.
Fly less: Reduce your air travel to dramatically reduce your carbon pollution.
Grow some trees: Grow trees to capture and store carbon.
Speak up at work: Come together with colleagues to make change at a bigger scale.
Volunteer: Donate your time and skills.
Dial it down: Turn down the heating in your home by a degree or two.
Switch your home: Move your home to a green energy supplier.
Tell your politicians: Ask your politicians to act or invest in infrastructure to support a step.
Cut food waste: Reduce the amount of food that is wasted or thrown away in your home.
Eat sustainable fish: Eat sustainably sourced fish.
Drink tap water: Stop buying bottled water.
Walk and cycle more: Travel by foot or bike whenever possible.
Talk to friends: Start a conversation about Count Us In and encourage others to take a step.
Buy sustainable palm oil: Look for products that use sustainable palm oil.
Use less plastic: Make plastic-free choices to reduce carbon pollution.
Eat more plants: Reduce the amount of meat in your daily diet.

The greatest fan support for the Count Us In Challenge was achieved by X44, who claimed the Award with 792 steps pledged, with JBXE (749 steps), and Rosberg X Racing (RXR) (422 steps) completing the top three. In total, the Extreme E Count Us In Challenge inspired 1,231 fans to take 3,207 steps saving 1,241,223 KG CO2.

Final Thoughts

Extreme E will continue on to Season 2 to go further in taking climate action and increasing fan interest in the Count Us In Challenge. In 2022, Extreme E will continue to race across the world’s most remote environments to demonstrate the performance and benefits of electric vehicles and clean technology, while highlighting the impact that climate change is already having on these ecosystems, such as melting ice caps, deforestation, desertification, retreating mountain glaciers, and rising sea levels.

Sébastien Loeb, X44, said: “I was very happy to learn that X44 won the Extreme E Sustainability Award for 2021. I joined the team hoping to discover more about the environment while doing what I love, and I have learned so much from the series and the different places we visited — in fact, I even bought my first electric car last year! To know that our fans have come on this journey with us and are making their own commitment to have a positive impact on the planet is inspiring, and I feel good about what we can achieve when we work together.”

When teams and fans take meaningful, simple steps in their own daily lives, they not only reduce their own carbon emissions — they’re added to a growing movement of people and communities showing leaders it’s time to accelerate progress on climate action.

Extreme E Season 2 begins in Neom, Saudi Arabia (19-20 February), before heading to Sardinia, Italy (7-8 May), Senegal or Scotland (9-10 July), Antofagasta, Chile (10-11 September), and Punta Del Este, Uruguay (26-27 November).

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