Cheap, Simple, At-Home EV Charging for the Masses
Siemens and ConnectDER bring cheap EV charging to the masses with super-simple installation.
ConnectDER makes a widget that taps directly into your home’s electrical meter and can be installed in seconds without the need to splurge for electrical service upgrades. Their partnership with Siemens promises an all-in-one charging solution for EVs that installs in less than 15 minutes.
ConnectDER is a Virginia-based company that has developed a solution so easy that all of us EV engineers are kicking ourselves for not thinking of it first. The ConnectDER collar sits between your home’s energy meter and the meter socket outside your home.
The collar provides a new tap into your home’s electric service line that doesn’t require going through your breaker panel. You can then plug almost anything into it — the first adopters have been solar installers. ConnectDER has been at this for nearly a decade with thousands of units already in service.
An obvious use case for ConnectDER is EV charging. Siemens, one of the biggest names in EV equipment, is an ideal partner. With the ConnectDER solution, Siemens is poised to deliver one of the simplest and most economical EV charging solutions to date.
Stop Calling It a Charger
The average home EV “charger” isn’t actually a charger. The actual charger is already built into your electric car.
The home EV “charger” is actually an EVSE or “Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment.” An EVSE is really just a Smart switch that connects the car to the grid.
For a typical EVSE installation, you’ll need a 240V line or outlet run to your garage or driveway. In some cases, this can require an expensive panel upgrade — my friend was recently quoted more than 1,400 for the job.
It’s no surprise then that ConnectDER estimates its solution will save homeowners 60-80% of the installation cost.
Home “Chargers”: Why So Expensive?
All electric vehicles are equipped with onboard chargers that can take typical 120V or 240V AC. So, why all this expensive equipment, you ask? Couldn’t you just hook up an extension cord to your car? You could! But you’d have to bypass hundreds of lines of code and safety switches to do it. The reason for an EVSE is safety — there are circuit breakers and sensors in-line to prevent electrocution.
When it’s pouring rain and you’re standing in a puddle, soaking wet and holding a high voltage cable, you have nothing to fear. You can thank the IEEE, SAE, and UL for making a safe — if expensive and complicated — solution.
Breaking Down Barriers to Adoption
The home charger market is expected to exceed 16 billion in 2026. but many older homes or apartments are being left behind in the EV revolution. If you have an older home, you’ll likely need a full panel upgrade, which can cost upward of 3,000. That’s the cost before you spend 800-1,200 for an EVSE.
A ConnectDER option could be much cheaper, though exactly how much hasn’t been disclosed. PV Magazine quotes an estimate of 400 for the ConnectDER collar. That collar will attach to a typical Siemens EVSE, which costs around 1,100.
With economies of scale at work, we’d expect to see the cost of the system drop below the combined 1,500 threshold in the not-so-distant future.
This still won’t work for every homeowner — if your driveway and your electric meter are on opposite sides of your home, it’s just too far. On the other hand, it’s not unreasonable to have 20 feet of cable between the meter and your EVSE location.
I’m In! How Do I Buy One?
In theory, you can buy the ConnectDER collar today in certain areas. but you probably can’t install it yourself. Unfortunately, the product has to be approved for use on a state-by-state basis, and it can even differ for individual electric utilities. You’ll probably still need a licensed electrician to install it.
With Siemens propelling the EV application of ConnectDER, we hope to see the approval process accelerate. We’re dreaming of the day we see the EV kit on the shelf of our local hardware store.
Siemens EverCharge Announce New US EV Charger Factories
EV charger manufacturing is growing by leaps and bounds in America. Siemens and EverCharge both announced new factories this week.
America is going to need a lot of EV chargers if the EV revolution is to move forward on schedule. Fortunately, more and more companies are committing to manufacturing them in the US, thanks to economic incentives provided in the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law in August. This week, Siemens and EverCharge announced they are building new EV charger factories in America to manufacture chargers that qualify for the “Made In America” incentives.
Siemens To Build Second US EV Charger Factory
Siemens announced this week it is retrofitting an 80,000 square foot factory space in Carrollton, Texas, to begin manufacturing its VersiCharge Blue, a Buy American-compliant Level 2 AC EV charger specifically designed for the US market and compatible for all use cases, including workspaces, hospitals, airports, campuses, parking garages, and parking lots. The VersiCharge Blue is designed to help enable faster deployment of adaptable, open, and accessible EV charging for all.
“In the next decade, the United States will need millions of chargers to support the rise in EV adoption. With this investment, Siemens is continuing to grow our U.S. EV charging manufacturing footprint to help answer this call and continue preparing the nation’s infrastructure as we steadily head to an all-electric future,” said John DeBoer, head of Siemens eMobility North America. “We’re committed to bringing production closer to where it’s needed so we can meet the growing demand for EV chargers quickly while also creating high skilled, quality manufacturing jobs and supporting regional supply chains.” The new factory will support Siemens’ goal of manufacturing more than 1 million EV chargers for the United States over the next three years.
The company is continuing its investment for manufacturing in America, which will allow the company to ramp up quickly to meet significant EV market and customer demand. With this new site, Siemens will create 100 new jobs at the facility and across the regional supply chain. It expects the plant to be fully operational by mid-2023.
The Carrollton plant is strategically located near several Siemens facilities that will help speed EV charger equipment to market, including its Grand Prairie, Texas, manufacturing hub where Siemens develops equipment that supports essential power infrastructure and the its EV charging distribution center in Southaven, Mississippi.
This location is the latest facility in Siemens’ expanding US eMobility manufacturing and RD footprint. In Wendell, North Carolina, the growing eMobility team manufactures the company’s DC charger for eBus and eTruck depot charging and has developed an apprenticeship and training program to prepare the EV workforce. The Siemens RD hub in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, employs more than 600 engineers and researchers who are working towards the future of electrified transportation through continuous testing and exploration of EV technology.
The latest commitment builds on Siemens’ recently announced 54 million investment in its Grand Prairie and Pomona, California, facilities that produce power technologies for critical infrastructure and EV projects across the country, along with the company’s recent expansion of its Spartanburg, South Carolina, manufacturing facility. Siemens also is the first external investor in Electrify America, the largest open ultra-fast electric charging network in North America.
EverCharge Expands California EV Charger Factory
EverCharge, a leading provider of turnkey electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions for fleet and multi-family homes, announced this week it is expanding its manufacturing footprint and opening a new 30,000-square-foot production factory in Hayward, California.
With international supply chain shortages continuing to limit and delay production around the world, EverCharge is one of the few companies to manufacture its electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) in North America. As part of the expansion, EverCharge is creating new opportunities for highly skilled local jobs and plans to double their factory workforce by mid-2023.
“The demand for EV charging has never been greater, and we are committed to investing in the manufacturing, installation, and service of charging stations for our rapidly growing customer base,” said Jason Appelbaum, CEO of EverCharge. “The opening of our Hayward factory is a prime example of how EverCharge is driving the U.S. clean energy movement forward with high-quality, reliable, and American-made EV charging solutions.”
Development and expansion of the new Hayward facility began in September of 2022 and is slated to be completed by early 2023. Hayward was selected as the strategic location of EverCharge’s manufacturing hub for its surrounding innovative business community, key location for talent, and proximity to Highway 880 for convenient transportation of goods.
The new factory opening comes on the heels of EverCharge’s acquisition by SK ES, a Korean energy company, and is part of SK ES’s investment in US-based energy solutions. This partnership is launching a new chapter for EverCharge and creating growth and expansion in every area of the business.
The EverCharge SmartPower technology maximizes the number of electric vehicles that can charge at any one time. Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Palo Alto, the company has installed and operates 4,600 EV chargers across North America.
If the purpose of the Inflation Reduction Act was to drive more investment in American manufacturing, it has succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. Suddenly, companies from Hyundai to General Motors are building new factories to manufacture electric vehicles. LG Chem, SK On, Panasonic, and others are racing ahead with plans to build battery manufacturing facilities that use materials and components from sources that qualify for the generous incentives baked into the IRA.
When it comes to EV charger production, ABB announced in September it is constructing a new manufacturing facility in South Carolina. That factory will FOCUS on building EV chargers with between 20 kW and 180 kW of power for school buses, municipal and commercial fleets, and public charging facilities. It will have a capacity of 30,000 chargers a year.
A month earlier, Tritium, an Australian EV charger manufacturer, said it had completed construction of a new US factory in record time. Tritium specializes in DC fast chargers. The new factory will have a capacity of 30,000 units a year and will employ 600 workers.
The Tritium PKM150 chargers have a microgrid feature that allows as many as four of them to be connected to one power cabinet, which saves money on equipment, installation, and maintenance. The PKM chargers are created with swappable modules, making future upgrades and maintenance simple and affordable. This flexibility gives customers the ability to choose between 100 kW or 150 kW of dual cable charging station power depending on their business needs.
For years, EV advocates have been saying there would be more electric cars sold if there were more chargers available. Others said more chargers would become available as soon as there are more electric cars on the road. If the purpose of the IRA was to cut the Gordian Knot and get more EV charging equipment installed to support the sale of more electric cars, it has succeeded in spectacular fashion.
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Siemens 8EM13124CF180FA3 VersiCharge AC Series 40A 208/240V Smart Connected EV Charger Indoor/Outdoor w/ 20′ Cable NEMA 6-50 Plug
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Siemens US2 Electric Vehicle (EV) Charger Review
Even if you don’t drive an electric vehicle, everybody knows what an at-home charging station offers. Though most vehicles come standard with their chargers, they’re not always as energy-efficient as you may have hoped. EVSEs by non-automotive manufacturers oftentimes have the upper hand in terms of charging efficiency and features.
For instance, the US2 Electric Vehicle Charger, aka the VC30GRYU, by Siemens is a feature-rich Level 2 device that doesn’t just quick-charge your car’s battery but also is pleasing to the eyes. This model is a lot more user-friendly compared to its predecessor, the VC30GRYHW. Let’s see what we can expect from the US2 EV Charger.
240V Level 2 30-amp Charger
The Siemens is a powerful EVSE that can deliver up to 30 amps of electricity directly to your car’s battery. Based on the company’s reports, this Level 2 EVSE works up to four times faster than their Level 1 110/120V models which doesn’t mean much unless your vehicle is equipped to handle 30 amps.
If it is, and the prospect of driving up to 22 miles for every 60 minutes of charging, this heavy-duty Level 2 charger belongs in your garage.
Ensure you know what you’re getting and what your car and home can handle. Using this Siemens Level 2 EVSE requires a double pole 40-amp circuit breaker. If your home doesn’t have this, nor a 240V NEMA 6-50 receptacle, then you might end up more on installing the proper electrical system than the actual charger.
Unlike its predecessor, this Level 2 charger does not need to be hardwired to your home’s electrical system. Instead, it comes with a NEMA 6-50 plug that goes directly into a preinstalled receptacle—when energy flows through, all that’s left to do is press the power button and this charger is ready to roll.
There are certainly advantages to having a plug-and-play charger over a hardwired one. For instance, generally speaking, they’re portable and can be taken with you on long trips. Also, you can prep your garage before the EVSE arrives at your doorstep.
Finally, if there’s an issue, unplug the charger and send it back. Try doing that with a hardwired charger.
2/4/6/8-hour Delay Timer Function
The Siemens comes with a delay timer feature that starts the charging process after the selected time has passed. Users have the option to set the delay to two, four, six, or eight hours. With careful planning, this feature will help users avoid charging their vehicles for several continuous hours during peak times.
20-foot Power Cord
Another substantial upgrade we see in this model compared to its hardwired counterpart is a longer power cord. Previously, you only had a 14-foot cable which, not short, was extremely limiting. This time around, with six additional feet, you’ll have plenty of space to room without accidentally bumping the cord into the side of your vehicle.
A 25-foot cable like the MUSTART would have been nice, but it sure beats the 14 footers off the VC30GRYHW.
Onboard Cord Storage
Storing 20 feet of cable is no simple task, especially a cable as thick and heavy-duty as this one, but with a built-in groove to hold onto the cable, you won’t need to worry about a thing. The power cord sits comfortably on top of the charging unit, keeping it out of harm’s way when not in use.
The only question is whether you have the strength and willpower to place the cord back in storage after charging or not (most people leave theirs on the ground).
As we said earlier, plug-and-play-style EVSEs are portable. By unplugging the device and placing it in a handy travel bag, you’ll have power on the go for long trips down the country road. Even though the Siemens is technically portable, it’s not exactly something you’d want to take with you.
The 14.5 x 16 x 6.5-inch unit takes far too much trunk space, and with the cable, it weighs a sliver over 20 pounds. It can serve as a portable EVSE, but there are many more portable options (MUSTARD and JuiceBox 40) out there.
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Verdict: Should I Get the Siemens US2 Electric Vehicle (EV) Charger?
Overall, the Siemens is a heavy-duty Level 2 EVSE that doesn’t disappoint. With quick-charging capabilities and user-friendliness, this would certainly be an excellent charger to have in the garage.
However, it’s not something you’d likely keep in the trunk of your vehicle due to its bulk and weight, but at home, it’s more than reliable.
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