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Charging Station Reviews
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Alpha EV Charging Station Review
A first look at an exciting new entry to the EV charging scene
When United Chargers was about to release its latest EVSE offering, the Alpha, they asked us if we'd like to be one of 20 beta testers before its widespread release. Since United Chargers also sells the very popular Grizzl-E Classic and Grizzl-E Smart chargers, of course, we accepted.
The Alpha is a 40-amp, wifi-connected smart charger that promises to have features and functions that are currently unavailable on any other home charging equipment. That's because there's a 7" touchscreen that displays pre-loaded applications and United Chargers promises monthly OTA updates that will add more apps. Alpha owners will also be able to visit an app store that will host 3rd-party applications in the near future.
However, for now, the Alpha is in beta form, and its features are very limited.
Key Specs of the Alpha
The Alpha is relatively simple to install. You’ll want a dedicated 50 amp circuit with a NEMA 6-50P or 14-50P outlet close by if you’re not hardwiring it, or if that’s not possible, you can use the internal dip switch to de-rate the power down to 16, 24, or 32 amps instead.
You start out by attaching the metal mounting bracket to the back of the charging station with the supplied set of four screws and washers. Next up, you want to secure the metal wall plate to the wall with three center-aligned screws, preferably along a stud for extra stability. Once the plate is mounted, you can hang the Alpha on the plate and further secure it by installing the provided cotter pin through the back of the device. There’s a plastic trim that can be snapped into place around the back of the Alpha, with the two halves held together by a long screw on both the top and bottom. Then it’s just a matter of plugging the input cable into your outlet to start charging.
If you prefer to hardwire the Alpha, remember that it’s always safest to hire a licensed and bonded electrician to install your EV charging equipment.
Once it’s been installed, all you need to do is plug your EV into the Alpha. With the full 40 amps, you should be able to add 28-30 miles of range to an EV per hour of charging, depending on how efficient the EV is.
The Alpha EV charger does come with some great features. One such feature is that it comes with both a J1772 holster and a Tesla holster as standard, allowing you to charge practically any EV that rolls up next to your charging station. The fact that it allows for multiple user profiles means that each user will be able to customize the device to their liking. And once their Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) compliant EV charging station software is up and running, consumers will be able to couple it with the compatible charging app of their choice.
Overall, we like what we see with the Alpha. Once it's fully feature-enabled we'll have a better understanding of its capabilities. In our opinion, the Alpha has the opportunity to be one of the best home charging solutions on the North American market, but we obviously need to see it in a fully-functional consumer form first.
The Alpha is available for order on the United Charger's website for $490. The price may eventually increase once full Wi-Fi connectivity and OCPP smart features have been activated.
By: Tom Moloughney
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