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Electric car charge cord review #5439551 05/26/20 04:55 PM
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OVERKILL Offline OP
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This is absolutely gold:
https://electrek.co/2019/10/02/revi...-cords-tesla-audi-get-as-gm-jaguar-fail/

Who got it right? Tesla, Nissan (mostly) and Audi.

Who got it wrong? Basically everybody else. The review of the Chevy Bolt charger was hilarious.

Review snippets with corresponding letter grade:

Tesla (A+):
Quote
There’s no sense beating around the bush. This is it folks. The gold standard from which all others will be compared. The Gen2 UMC comes included with every Tesla, along with the standard NEMA 5-15 adapter (Teslas used to also come with the 14-50 pictured on the far right as well as the 5-15, but no longer, now it’s a $35 extra.) On a Model 3, you’ll get 5 miles per hour of charging from the 5-15 (120V * 12A), so 60 miles of range with a 12-hour overnight charge. Not enough? I recommend to everyone to also spend the $35 and buy the 5-20 adapter. Now we’re up to 120V * 16A, which gets you 7 miles per hour of charging (40% more!). That’s 84 miles of charging overnight from an outlet you probably already have in your driveway at home or at work. The Gen 2 UMC supports up to 240V at 32A (7.7kW), enough for everyone but extreme grinders, and also the maximum that the Model 3 Standard and Mid-Range trims even allow. The Model 3 Long-Range, Model S, and Model X have higher capacity on-board AC inverters that can support 240V at up to 48amp (11.5kW), but to get those extra 16 amps that the portable Gen2 UMC can’t provide, you’ll need to purchase a wall-mounted charger hard-wired to a 60amp circuit to your panel. For context, modern North American homes typically have 200amp service. 60 is a lot to dedicate.
Other points about the Gen2 UMC:

- Temp operating rating of 50°C to -30°C. This is pretty standard, so we’ll note any deviations on others below, otherwise assume the same.
- Comes in a very nice case.
- To switch adapters, just give the plug a tug, and it comes out. Easy to push in too. This writer has used his daily outdoors for almost a year, had it exposed to all sorts of weather, and never had an issue.
- Lose it or somehow manage to break it? Tesla sells them new for $275, an absolute bargain when you look at what else is on offer below.


GM (D-):
Quote
GM should never be allowed to claim it’s “all in” on EVs until they can fix this sadness. Pathetic:

- Versatility? Zero. It has a fixed 5-15 plug, so 12 amps max. The actual cord is 16 gauge, which isn’t rated for more than 13 amps, so truly this is it.
- But wait, it gets worse. The Bolt’s software will default to 8 amps each time you plug in at 120V. At least you can save your “home” location and program it to take the 12 amps without manually adjusting each time.
- GM sells this for $525 as a standalone. Run away.
- Hold on, still gets worse. Even if you buy a capable third party portable charging cord, the Bolt’s software is too dumb to accept the amperage the pilot signals. If it detects 120V, it’s always going to cap you at 8 amps. Dumb.
We’ve used some strong language here, but that’s because the Bolt isn’t some city-only compliance EV. It’s GM’s leading EV effort.


Nissan (B):
Quote
If you buy the Nissan S & SV models, you’re going to get a sad 120V-only charging cord with the car. Unfortunate. But at least unlike the Bolt, the car will accept whatever amperage the pilot signals, so you can upgrade by buying a third party charging cord.

With the Nissan Leaf SL and Nissan Leaf Plus, however, Nissan will give you a respectable portable charging cord. Let’s see how it compares with Tesla:

- Pro: you get both a 14-50 plug and 5-15 adapter with your car. Nice. Tesla stopped including the 14-50, so it’s now a $35 extra.
- Con: instead of swapping out plugs like on the Tesla UMC, the 14-50 plug is hardwired, and the 5-15 adapter fits on top of the 14-50 plug. This was a poor design choice. The 5-15 adapter is absurdly bulky, and will not fit in to an outlet that has an enclosure (so most outdoor outlets). This will be so frustrating.
- Con: Nissan doesn’t offer any other plug adapters for it. You will have to buy a new 3rd party portable charging cord if you want to plug into a dryer outlet or a 5-20, for example.
- Pro: it’s rated to -40°C.
- Con: instead of a nice case, it comes in bubble wrap. Update: people are reporting that they did get a nice case, it just wasn’t with this dealer demo pictured above).


BMW (F):
Quote
If you buy a BMW i3, it’ll come with what BMW worryingly calls its “Occasional Use Charger (OUC)”, pictured above. 120V NEMA 5-15 only. Do you void your warranty if you use it nightly? How many amps do you get? Who knows! According to forum posts, a 2014 OUC could get the 5-15’s standard 12 amps, but for 2015-2016 model years, BMW downgraded to 10 amp. Supposedly now we’re back to 12 amps? But be careful! Another forum poster noted their dealer just grabbed one out of a bin, and apparently it was not for their year. Anyway, clearly zero cares given.

Now we’re cheating a bit here, because this BMW portable charging cord, called the “Turbocord” appears to be a $500 option and not standard issue. But we can’t help but gawk at this garbage. It looks like BMW tried to step up, but instead released something spectacularly awful:

- Pro..?: a flashlight that points towards your face when you try to plug it in.
- Con: it will not fit into any outlet with an enclosure.
- Con: while it does a 5-15 on the 120V side, it’s only 240V option is… the 6-20 welder’s outlet? Weird. This means even at 240V, you’re getting 16 amps max. Everyone else goes with 14-50 for the 240V default because they’re standard at RV parks and for your stove, and you can pull up to 40amps if your EV supports that much. The 6-20 is far more rare. Needless to say, there are no other outlet options for the Turbocord.
- Con: all units subject to recall (PDF). It wasn’t made to spec and can catch fire.
- Con: comes in a cardboard box.


Audi (A):
Quote
Shown here with the wall mounting kit (extra), we like it a lot. It’s the most handsome.

- Pro: interchangeable plugs, like Tesla, see video here.
- Pro: the control unit automatically recognizes voltage, amperage.
- Pro: it beats out the Tesla UMC and can handle up to 240V at 40A, greater than the UMC’s 32A – nice! 240V at 40A = 9.6kW, hoowee!
- Con: currently only 5-15 and 14-50 plugs are offered; only thing keeping us from giving it an A+. But Audi should be able to add more easily. Audi, send all your e-Tron customers a 5-20 plug for Christmas!
- Pro: the 5-15 plug is slim, you shouldn’t have any issues with outdoor outlet enclosures.
- Pro: Audi gave competent consideration to their portable charger, wanted to make it nice, and that should give you confidence about the entire vehicle.

Another big point is that the brick portion (control unit) of the cord gives you a lot more information than the Tesla UMC. It’ll actually spell out “50%” charge, and then “100%” charge when those numbers are hit. I can’t list this as a pro or con, because I think it’s subjective to your lifestyle. If this is going to be used at home and taken to the lake house, then sure, that’s a nice feature, especially for an older set who may not be big fans of phone apps. For myself, I use my portable charger daily in urban streets, I’d prefer not to have any buttons or information readouts on my charging cord. In any event, I strongly support what Audi did here. It’s so important that people understand they don’t need a separate hard-wired wall-mounted unit from a company they never heard of. So Bravo Audi! I can’t imagine why any Audi customer would buy a third party wall mounted charger when the included Audi charger looks so nice, offers 9.6kW, and has a nice wall mount.


Jaguar (F-):
Quote
Completely unacceptable for a BEV starting at $70k. This might be the worst:

Con: only 120V, 5-15 plugs, and astoundingly, caps out at 10amps, instead of the 12 it should be getting. This is horrible. I can’t believe Jaguar Landrover put their names to this garbage, even if it is just on a sticker.
According to posts on the I-Pace forum, the following message was sent to Jaguar dealers on July 13, 2018:

CHARGING CABLE – The previously communicated standard Multi-Function Charging Cable has been removed from the program and will be replaced with a standard Home Charging Cable, capable of charging via domestic sockets. This Home Charging Cable is not capable of Level 2 AC charging. As previously communicated, the preferred home charging solution for the customer is the Jaguar approved wall box which itself comes with a tethered charging cable.

What else in the I-Pace received zero thought or consideration?


Hyundai (D):
Quote
The charging cord only does 120V, 5-15 outlets, at 12 amps. As Seth notes, given the high efficiency of the Ioniq, those 12 amps at 120V get you 5 miles per hour of range when charging, same as Model 3. But that won’t translate to the less efficient Kona EV, where we’d expect 3-4 miles per hour of charge. And it’s frustrating that you’d likely have a 5-20 outlet sitting in your driveway, and you can’t take advantage of that extra 40% charging for lack of a simple 5-20 adapter? You’ll want to buy a third party adapter.

- Con: can only do 120V, 12 amps.
- Pro: nice case.
I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed, Hyundai.


They touch on the Porsche cord at the end of the article, which is somewhat similar in function (no surprise there) to the Audi one.


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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: OVERKILL] #5439571 05/26/20 05:39 PM
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madRiver Offline
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Real crime is three cannot come up with standard like USB has.

Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: OVERKILL] #5439573 05/26/20 05:40 PM
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eljefino Offline
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People who get off-hours pricing, like from 1-5 am, would like the 240V options.

A 16 gauge cord can't "only" do 13 amps, it may be an industry standard or electrical code for in-the-wall wiring but it'll do more, just with loss that some would find unacceptable. And if you're running zillions of watt-hours through a cord over the life of a car, its losses should be less than 0.1% IMO.

Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: madRiver] #5439585 05/26/20 05:50 PM
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JeffKeryk Offline
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Originally Posted by madRiver
Real crime is three cannot come up with standard like USB has.

When I heard the connectors were different, I couldn't believe it.
Tesla offered some other manufacturers to use their "standard" but they declined.
The Tesla infrastructure sets it apart from everyone else. Why decline? Doesn't make sense.

Kinda like Apple vs PC software...

Last edited by JeffKeryk; 05/26/20 05:51 PM.

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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: madRiver] #5439608 05/26/20 06:21 PM
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OVERKILL Offline OP
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Originally Posted by madRiver
Real crime is three cannot come up with standard like USB has.


Yeah, I mean, at least the vehicles come with the cords so you can plug them into standard outlets, but the fact the plugs themselves are often non-standard? Sucks.


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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: madRiver] #5439652 05/26/20 07:34 PM
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HangFire Offline
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Originally Posted by madRiver
Real crime is three cannot come up with standard like USB has.

Don't get me started on how non-standard USB charging is, and how most 2A/4A USB chargers will charge at the 250mA minimum because they don't communicate their abilities to the over-cautious device... OK you got me started.

USB power is the last "Standard" you want to copy.


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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: OVERKILL] #5439696 05/26/20 08:17 PM
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JHZR2 Offline
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I thought there was either an SAE or an IEEE standard for the connector for fast charge, to allow low impedance connections and also some level of data transfer/handshake. Havent been tracking it much.

What that document fails to notice is that 5-15 is ubiquitous, while the others are not. Period. Sure in your home you might be able to have all kinds of options, but notionally in a home one would have a hard wired or permanently affixed charger, so after one connection its forgotten. The 5-15 connection for convenience, if pathetic in terms of capability, at least can be done anywhere that one can find an outlet.

The derating seems funny to me. I suspect that folks have had issues running too many/too long of extension cords, and having issues and thus warranty calls.

Go anyplace away from home, and I thought that there were charging stations. Ive seen them at offices, at rest stops, stores, etc. Are these things somehow not ubiquitous?

Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: JHZR2] #5439711 05/26/20 08:36 PM
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OVERKILL Offline OP
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Originally Posted by JHZR2
I thought there was either an SAE or an IEEE standard for the connector for fast charge, to allow low impedance connections and also some level of data transfer/handshake. Havent been tracking it much.

What that document fails to notice is that 5-15 is ubiquitous, while the others are not. Period. Sure in your home you might be able to have all kinds of options, but notionally in a home one would have a hard wired or permanently affixed charger, so after one connection its forgotten. The 5-15 connection for convenience, if pathetic in terms of capability, at least can be done anywhere that one can find an outlet.

The derating seems funny to me. I suspect that folks have had issues running too many/too long of extension cords, and having issues and thus warranty calls.

Go anyplace away from home, and I thought that there were charging stations. Ive seen them at offices, at rest stops, stores, etc. Are these things somehow not ubiquitous?


They are getting that way now, I think it's the handshake "standard" that is the issue, I recall the guy that drove the electric Jag in Australia ran into that issue where the charger he found couldn't charge it even though the plug fit. He ended up having to plug it in at a hotel or something on a 15A plug?

A lot of folks don't opt to spend the obscene amount of money on a home charger but rather opt for an external 14-50, which costs massively less to install and works with with the provided charge cord.


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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: OVERKILL] #5439726 05/26/20 08:50 PM
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The independent automotive dealer i worked for had nothing but problems with Tesla. Sure they have a charging infrastructure but they are a pain to work with. I'd want no part in that. Not honoring warranty difficulty in getting a straight answer and the lack of parts for repair. No thanks.


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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: OVERKILL] #5439743 05/26/20 09:18 PM
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WyrTwister Offline
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We owned a Leaf for a short time , until it was totaled . We only used the OEM 120 VAC charger a few times , until I could order and install a 240 VAV unit .

In reality , it is impractical to use a 120 VAC unit at home . Way too slow . Anything other is just " spinning your wheels " .

I purchased a 240 VAC 40 amp GE unit , permanently mounted outside , by the drive way .

https://www.amazon.com/GE-WattStation-Wall-Mount-Charger/dp/B00B4KR18Y


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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: WyrTwister] #5439765 05/26/20 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by WyrTwister
We owned a Leaf for a short time , until it was totaled . We only used the OEM 120 VAC charger a few times , until I could order and install a 240 VAV unit .

In reality , it is impractical to use a 120 VAC unit at home . Way too slow . Anything other is just " spinning your wheels " .

I purchased a 240 VAC 40 amp GE unit , permanently mounted outside , by the drive way .

https://www.amazon.com/GE-WattStation-Wall-Mount-Charger/dp/B00B4KR18Y


With the Audi (and the Tesla) you can just use the 14-50 plug with their included charge cable.


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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: OVERKILL] #5439782 05/26/20 10:32 PM
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JeffKeryk Offline
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I would not own an EV if I could not charge at home.
A union electrician came over, installed a breaker and 50' of #6 to the garage and a NEMA 14-50 recepticle.
I could add a wall unit later if desired. The Tesla charger pulls 32A.
The dual motor cars pull more; they can make use of the wall unit; our car cannot pull enough amps.

There are a few people who only charge at work; their situation is rare.
Every EV owner I know has an ICE car as well; I sure do.
I have only used the Tesla charging network to see how they work.
Man they are fast!
In downtown Los Gatos, don't count on easily getting on a charging station; all 30 might be in use. Get in line.


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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: OVERKILL] #5439851 05/27/20 04:22 AM
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Best I remember , the FAST charging stations are out putting high amperage direct current . They likely pull more kilowatts of power , than your entire house .

All the home charging stations are alternating current . ours was 240 VAC , 40amps . 60 amps is the highest amperage home charging station , I have read of . I have 40 years in the electrical trade . I installed the charging station myself .

Our Leaf was a 2012 w/ something like 3.3 kilowatt internal charger . It did not need the capability we were providing , but at the time , I thought I might eventually get a newer car that have a higher KW internal unit . I think the newer Leaf had about twice the capacity . But , when ours was totaled , I could not find a newer , longer range EV that I could deal with , price wise .

I would have like to try a Chevy Bolt or Volt , but the Bolt was too new and had just come out . Way more $$$ than I was willing to spend .

Looked at 2 different Volts , used . Again , more $$$ than I was willing to spend . And did not seem as roomy as I was looking for .

We also had / have a 2015 Chevy Sonic that we used for out of town car . My Wife drove the Leaf in town only . She said she liked the leaf .

Best of luck to you , :-)


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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: JeffKeryk] #5439902 05/27/20 06:48 AM
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BMWTurboDzl Offline
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Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
Originally Posted by madRiver
Real crime is three cannot come up with standard like USB has.

When I heard the connectors were different, I couldn't believe it.
Tesla offered some other manufacturers to use their "standard" but they declined.
The Tesla infrastructure sets it apart from everyone else. Why decline? Doesn't make sense.

Kinda like Apple vs PC software...


Optics. For example when Intel was announced as a chip supplier for some Apple products the hardcore Apple fans went nuts.


This is different vs co-developing technology, or using technology from a subsidiary of a competitor which serves the industry at large (ex, Aisin Transmisions, Panasonic Batteries).

In any case I would not be surprised if the US DOT gets the automakers to come up with a standard. Similar to the different size nozzles at gas stations.

Last edited by BMWTurboDzl; 05/27/20 06:56 AM.

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Re: Electric car charge cord review [Re: JHZR2] #5439924 05/27/20 07:29 AM
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HangFire Offline
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Originally Posted by JHZR2
What that document fails to notice is that 5-15 is ubiquitous, while the others are not. Period. Sure in your home you might be able to have all kinds of options, but notionally in a home one would have a hard wired or permanently affixed charger, so after one connection its forgotten. The 5-15 connection for convenience, if pathetic in terms of capability, at least can be done anywhere that one can find an outlet.

The derating seems funny to me. I suspect that folks have had issues running too many/too long of extension cords, and having issues and thus warranty calls.


The grading is kinda of overly picky, in that there's not a lot of difference between 10 and 12 Amps. Both are pathetic and both should just be an F. There should be some kind of "yes 15A is OK" option on EVERY vehicle charging system, after all that's what the -15 in 5-15 stands for.

Also if you can't afford to run a higher amperage connection to your garage... an all electric vehicle is probably not for you.


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