Over the past year, electric car charging stations have gone from being overpriced products with extortionate installation costs to items you can pick up at your local hardware store and install yourself.
But if driving to your local Lowes and installing a pre-built unit seems a little easy or still too expensive, there’s now a third option: Self-build.
Thanks to the hard work of group of electronics-savvy electric car fans, the Open EVSE project uses the popular hobbyist Arduino microcontroller as the basis of its home-made, portable electric car charging station.
Better still, a technically-proficient hobbyist could build one at the fraction of the cost of a commercially-made unit.
But before we tell you more, we have a duty to give you the following disclaimer:
Building your own electric car charging equipment requires a fair amount of electronics expertise, from being competent with a soldering iron to being able to troubleshoot electronics circuits. On top of that, if anything goes wrong with your home-built unit, any damage caused by the fault is your responsibility to fix.
Using an off-the-shelf Arduino main board, a blank prototyping board and readily available electronics components, the Open EVSE offers a portable charging solution for anyone with a suitable 230-volt outlet.
Open EVSE's Arduino Charging Station (Creative Commons 3.0)
When loaded with the open-source code that accompanies the project, the Open EVSE can not only negotiate the correct power requirements with the car it is plugged into, but also comes with safety protocols designed to switch power off should anything go wrong.
If the thought of charging your very expensive electric car from a home-built charging station doesn’t fill you with dread, Instructables.com has a very comprehensive guide to building the unit and testing it.
For the even more technically-minded, the project’s homepage should tell you all you need to know.
We don’t normally cover home-brew projects on GreenCarReports, so why this particular one?
It’s simple. Even if you’re not a fan of home-made charging stations, the team behind the Open EVSE have proven that it is possible to make an affordable electric car charging station.
That gives commercial EVSE suppliers one option: to make cheaper, smaller charging stations.
Ultimately, both those who want to make their own charging stations and those who want to buy them get to benefit.
That’s got to be good.