Electric car owners may not have to get their hands dirty at gas stations, but they do have to carry around an extra essential item not found in their internal combustion counterparts--a charging cord.

This is little hardship of course, provided your car has somewhere to store it. But depending on where you charge, or what voltage you charge at, you may need different cords for different jobs.

One alternative is the TurboCord by AeroVironment, which lets you charge at 120V or 240V outlets using the same cord, fitted with an adapter.

What it can't do is turn 120V plugs into 240V plugs for faster charging.

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What it can do is charge at either 120V (at 12 amps) or 240V (at up to 16 amps) depending on whether you use the clip-on adapter. So if you normally charge at 120V in your garage but have the option to unplug your dryer, for example, you can fit the 240V adapter--suitable for NEMA 6-20R outlets--and benefit from a faster charge.

Naturally, the unit is designed to work safely in such a scenario and can handle both levels of charge.

It also knows when your car is fully charged and stops automatically. It's also perfectly safe to unplug the unit before a full charge, and the company says it's also perfectly safe to leave the unit plugged in permanently.

TurboCord Dual 120V and 240V adapter

TurboCord Dual 120V and 240V adapter

It isn't quite as fast as a full 240V EVSE-RS home charging station--AeroVironment's figures suggest charging takes from a third to a half longer than a built-in charging point for most vehicles--but it's much quicker than the 120V you'd otherwise be using.

Remove the adapter of course, and it can charge at 120V too. Whichever you use, there's a J1772-compliant charge coupler at the other end, suitable for most current electric vehicles.

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The other benefit is cost. While some 240V systems are quite reasonably priced these days, they do require properly wiring in so may not be an option for some. And at $649 for the TurboCord Dual unit, the model with the adapter, it's less expensive than many 240V systems.

Unlike those home systems, you can also use it more or less anywhere--wherever you find 120V or 240V outlets.

That's one fewer cord to have to lug about, anyway...


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