Electric-car charging stations rated: what's best, what's cheapest, what to avoid?


Siemens Versicharge VC30GRYU

Siemens Versicharge VC30GRYU

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There is a lot to consider when it comes to purchasing an electric-car charging station, as it can affect the ownership experience and the convenience of using the car.

While some owners of plug-in hybrids may stick with the 120-volt charging cord that comes with the car, virtually all buyers of battery-electric models should install a charging station at home or where they park—if that's possible.

Those who don't have their own garages or parking slots may choose to rely on public charging stations, which are generally far more durable and robust than the ones described here.

DON'T MISS: How to buy an electric-car charging station: buyer's guide to EVSEs

So, what are some of the best charging stations on the market?

Research and tests by The Wire Cutter concludes that the Siemens Versicharge VC30GRYU is the best all-round choice for an at-home charging station.

While it may not possess the most features, it's powerful enough to charge most electric cars, it's convenient, and it doesn't cost a fortune: just $500 when purchased from online retailer Amazon.

Siemens Versicharge VC30GRYU

Siemens Versicharge VC30GRYU

Enlarge Photo

The runner-up charging station is the eMotorWerks JuiceBox Pro 40.

It provides more power for longer-range electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Bolt EV and includes Wi-Fi connectivity.

The JuiceBox Pro 40 may be a good investment as future electric cars become more powerful and house greater ranges in the future.

READ THIS: Car buyers have no idea electric-car charging stations even exist

Finally, as a portable option, the AeroVironment TurboCord Dual is a top pick.

The portable charging station can plug into any 240-volt, 15-amp tool outlet, but an adapter will also also allow to charge more slowly via a 120-volt outlet.

The TurboCord's tradeoff is slower charging at 240 volts than the two fixed, higher-amperage charging stations mentioned here.

2015 Nissan Leaf with CHAdeMO fast-charging cable plugged in [photo John Briggs]

2015 Nissan Leaf with CHAdeMO fast-charging cable plugged in [photo John Briggs]

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The research looked only at Level 2, 240-volt charging stations that can deliver 30 amps, the highest rate a modern electric car will benefit from. 

These charging stations will typically add 20 miles of range for every one hour charged.

That means most electric cars with ranges up to 125 miles can charge completely overnight.

CHECK OUT: Electric-car charging station safety: what you need to know

It should be noted that Teslas use their own Tesla Wall Connector unit, which is the best option for Tesla owners (only) thanks to its 72-amp output.

Furthermore, the article strongly recommends choosing only charging stations certified by the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association, Society of Automotive Engineers, or Underwriters Lab.

Size comparison of electric-car charging stations (EVSEs) on sale today, March 2016

Size comparison of electric-car charging stations (EVSEs) on sale today, March 2016

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The certification guarantees all electrical connections are sealed and drastically reduces the risk of fire—it's an important safety standard for at-home charging stations.

Coming back to the top pick from Siemens, it may have its downfalls, but it represents an excellent value for the money and can help make electric vehicle ownership much more feasible.

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