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Charging Station Reviews
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Autel MaxiCharger EV Charging Station Review
A smart EV charging station that offers solid performance at a good price
Electric vehicles are taking the world by storm, and the need for electric vehicle supply equipment, or EVSE, is greater than ever. While public EV charging stations are cropping up across the country, the most convenient method for charging your electric car will likely continue to be with a home-level charger. You can’t beat just plugging in your EV after you get home at the end of the day and going about your evening, content with the knowledge that your vehicle will be juiced up and ready to go the next day.
New EV charging stations seem to be launching all the time, and one of the new ones to hit the market this year is the Autel MaxiCharger. This smart little spitfire comes with a three-year warranty and six different configuration options depending on whether you want to plug it in or hardwire it, which cable type you want, and whether you want an integrated holster. But does it earn my seal of approval? I tested this charger for about three weeks so I could give you the details you need to figure out if the Autel MaxiCharger is the best EV charging station to meet your needs.
Key Specs of the Autel MaxiCharger
The plug-in version of the Autel MaxiCharger comes with a metal mounting plate, screws, and drywall anchors for easy wall installation. I always recommend mounting the unit on a stud, just for the extra stability provided to prevent an accident from unintentionally ripping the charging station from the wall. The bracket can be attached to the wall, then it's just a matter of sliding the screwhead-like protrusions at the back of the unit into the bracket slots to mount it. A tab on the cradle can then be secured with a small black screw, locking the whole unit in place. All that's left after that is to plug the Autel MaxiCharger's power cable into a dedicated outlet and you're good to go.
The location of your connector holster entirely depends on the version of the MaxiCharger that you purchase. One of the ones I tested came with an integrated holster right in the front of the body of the unit, keeping the whole system in a nice compact location. But if you pick up the version with a separate holster, you can install that in whatever location is most convenient for you. Since the charging cable is 25 feet in length, you've got some room to work with. If for whatever reason you're not thrilled with the holster the unit comes with, you can always try something like this holster and cable hook combo instead.
If you need a little extra charging power, the 50-amp version of the Autel MaxiCharger EV charging station can also be hardwired. Just remember: any time you want to do a home installation of a hardwired EV charging station, the safest choice you can make is to hire a licensed and bonded electrician to do the job for you.
Since the Autel MaxiCharger offers you a few different options to work with, your charging options will vary as well. The plug-in 40-amp version can deliver up to 9.6 kW, while the hardwired 50-amp version can give you up to 12 amps. It’s also UL safety certified, Energy Star certified, and comes with a watertight NEMA Type 4 enclosure made to withstand all kinds of harsh weather.
Did I mention that it’s a smart charger? The Autel MaxiCharger has Wi-Fi, ethernet, and Bluetooth connectivity, giving you several alternatives to choose from in order to get your charging station online. Once you’ve downloaded and registered their proprietary Autel Charge app, you can scan the QR code from the side of the unit or the back of the installation guide to pair it to your app. Next up, you can link the device to your network using whichever connection type is easiest for you. After you’re all set up, the app can tell you how much it costs to charge your EVs, set a charging schedule, and set the maximum amperage for the unit to deliver. It also does over-the-air updates and offers dynamic load balancing.
I was initially pleased by the connector. It reminded me a lot of the one that the Wallbox Pulsar Plus 40-amp EV charging station uses– with a solid feel and rubberized grip that I really, really liked. I even said that it was “at the top of the food chain” of my connector list at the beginning of this video.
And then I did the connector drop test.
On the third drop, the connector broke, making it the very first failure of this particular test. That might have been the end of the review right there, but thankfully I was able to take the connector apart and apply a little superglue and elbow grease to get it back in working order once more.
Since our EV chargers will go through a lot of wear and tear over their lifetimes, I make it a point to test all of the chargers I review by simulating real-world conditions. An EVSE is an expensive investment that you really don’t want to have to repair or replace, so it’s best to do your research before you make that kind of a purchase– not just on the specs, but on the durability and how the unit might behave in your local climate as well.
The Connector Drop Test
We all get a little clumsy here and there, and dropping a connector happens to the best of us. To prevent you the hassle of finding out how sturdy yours is the hard way, I take the connectors I’m testing and drop them five times in a row to the concrete floor of my garage from about chest height. Afterward, I check it over for any damage that might require repairs or even a replacement. Well, I only got to drop the Autel MaxiCharger’s connector three times before it broke, making it the first failure I’ve ever had on this test.
The Cable Deep Freeze Test
Curious as to how this EV charging station would do in extreme cold? I put the Autel MaxiCharger in my commercial ice cream freezer for 24 hours to see how it would function when the temperatures really drop. The interior temperature measured at -15.5° F (-26.3° C) when I pulled the unit out, and the Autel’s cable came out of the freezer frozen solid. It was so bad that I couldn’t even hang the unit back on the wall. It might even take the crown from the Enel X Juicebox for the worst cold-weather cable I’ve ever tested. There’s no way that I could recommend the Autel MaxiCharger for outdoor use in cold-weather climates. I’d put the ChargePoint Home Flex in the freezer at the same time just to show the contrast between the two, and the difference was night and day. The ChargePoint’s cable could be bent and rewound in larger loops while still remaining pliable, and that unit remains one of my top recommendations to date.
I ended up giving the Autel MaxiCharger my own personal score of 4.4 stars as well, meaning that the unit came away with a final rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. It’s a powerful charger capable of providing fast charging speeds in the comfort of your own home, and as long as you’re aware of its weaknesses, it might fulfill your needs quite well.
Both the Autel MaxiCharger 40-amp EV charging station with an integrated connector holster and with a remote connector holster is available for $558 on Amazon. Check out my full review in the above video and let me know what you think about the MaxiCharger down in the comments below.
By: Tom Moloughney
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