Kickstarter Project For Open-Source Level 2 Electric-Car Charging Station Reaches Goal

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Electric Motor Werks JuiceBox level 2 charging station (Image: EMW)

Electric Motor Werks JuiceBox level 2 charging station (Image: EMW)

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A Kickstarter project promising faster, cheaper Level 2 240V, 15 kW charging has reached its goal, with the first units expected to deliver this month.

Electric Motor Werks (EMW) from Palo Alto, California, used the fund-raising website to raise capital for its 'JuiceBox' charging system, offering faster charging and a cheaper price tag than current Level 2 chargers on the market.

In fact, it'll retail from just $99--a fraction the price of typical installations.

The open-source design means the charger will be "almost infinitely expandable", according to EMW--while kits and fully-assembled units will be available, depending on your budget and expertise. Assembly for the former should still be easy enough for those with basic electrical knowledge, with a 1-2 hour build time.

The AA battery-shaped unit is a neat design and EMW says it can connect to either 120V or 240V feeds, offering charging up to ten times faster than that of the cord usually supplied with a car like the Nissan Leaf.

The company notes that at 240V, the charging rate is limited to whatever the car's on-board charger will work at. For the 2013 Nissan Leaf with its 6.6 kW on-board charger, this still means charging rates five times faster than that of a typical 120V charge.

EMW's original $25,000 target on Kickstarter was put in place to help the company set up production. With donations now rising past $30,000, the company has expanded that goal to $40,000 to help it develop the charging station's next stage, compatibility with the Arduino Wi-Fi shield.

This would allow users to connect wirelessly to their charger, in the same way many OEM installations offer.

What isn't clear is whether the JuiceBox carries a UL certification. If it doesn't, some local building inspectors will not let you install it legally in your garage--so anyone interested should check the relevant regulations in their area.

The JuiceBox is clearly resonating with electric car owners though--and could make charging much quicker for plenty of buyers.


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