STEEM Mobile Update: 240 Volt Charging Cable Arrived!

You might recall I talked about wanting to pick this up some time back, having discovered there was an alternative to the outrageous price of having a professional electrician come in and install a wall mount unit. Well it arrived today, though I can’t use it quite yet.

There’s a couple places to buy this particular unit online, but I got mine from a guy who will custom splice it to have whatever plug on the end you want. He also makes adapters for any of the seemingly infinite variations of 240 volt socket out there.

This was of great importance to me, because I want to use this with the electrical hookup at an RV campsite so I can bring in more power than my appliances will collectively consume. This way the battery still fills up and I can save gas on the way home, rather than just on the way there.

It came with a nice drawstring carry bag so it’ll stow neatly in the trunk, and a 110v adapter. The charger itself is variable voltage and will accept either voltage. This means I can still use it with regular wall outlets if that’s the only power source available, which is often the case.

For example at Winterlan last month, the only hookup available was a 110v wall outlet. It didn’t matter much because I was going to be there several days, so there was ample time to fill up. But the utility of an electric car with such a small battery is greatly increased, the faster you can recharge it.

This will allow me to do more than one “big” trip per day on battery power, for example. Currently if I do a trip downtown I can recharge from 240 volts there but if there’s no option to charge where I’m going (or nearby) then I arrive home with a mostly depleted battery.

With a 110 volt charge time of 11 god damn hours from empty, that means I’m done driving for the day unless I cave in and use gas. Not anymore! Now I will be able to fully charge from empty in 4 hours, and most of the time it’ll be 1 or 2 hours as I rarely deplete the battery that far between charges.

Build quality is good overall except that the plug secures a little tight and needs some oomph to pull it back out. I might go at it with some WD40 to see if I can’t fix that. I’ve also not bought the specific adapter I need to hook this up to the dryer circuit yet, as I wanted to get the unit physically in my hands to look at before committing to buying the splitter I’ll need to have both this and the dryer plugged in at once.

If I’d bought a purely electric car, the ones I’m able to afford would’ve had ranges of between 60 and 80 miles (iMiev, Leaf, etc.) which would have absolutely required 240 volt charging to be remotely practical. I was able to get away with 110 volt charging just because the Volt has a range extender so I can still get where I need to go if the need arises unexpectedly while the battery is low.

Probably the right decision, but I still aspire to one day own a purely electric car with a battery so large that I never need to be concerned about range. I’m committed to this car for at least the next couple of years and expect that by the time I am in the market for a purely electric car, ranges and charge times will have greatly improved, and prices will have fallen considerably.

Until then, just being able to charge full speed at home will allow me to drive more all-electric miles by far than I’ve been able to without it. This is a much cheaper option than a wall mounted 240 volt charger as well, and strongly recommended to anybody with an EV or PHEV.

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