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OpenEVSE 48-Amp EV Charging Station Review
A feature-packed charger powered by open source technology
While there are quite a few charging options available for home EV charging, nearly all of them share a common feature: they’re built with proprietary hardware and software. This usually isn’t a problem if you buy one with your particular vehicle in mind and you make sure that it’s compatible before you open your wallet. But what if you want more flexibility and customization with your charger?
Enter the OpenEVSE 48-amp charger.
This unique EV charger is actually a kit that provides you with the components required to assemble yourself a Level 1 or 2 charging station, with the prime intention of making it flexible enough for worldwide use. The OpenEVSE 48-amp is even great for on-the-road use since it can provide a charge at any voltage between 90 and 264 volts AC. And it does all of this with WiFi, a color LCD, various meters, and timers. All of these features are available in either a 40-amp or 48-amp version. Of course, we had to check it out.
Unfortunately, it’s not safety certified, though OpenEVSE is quick to point out that all of the safety features required by SAE J1772, UL, and NEC are “standard”. The company just didn’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get it certified.
Key Specs of the OpenEVSE 48-Amp
Since this is a kit rather than a unit that arrives ready to be plugged in, there is a decent amount of assembly required. All of the cables, circuit boards, sensors, and other parts need to be put into their places and secured according to the provided instructions. OpenEVSE says that there are only ten steps that are moderately difficult to complete in around 30 minutes to two hours, and they provide a video guide for the process here.
After assembling the unit, it's just a matter of mounting the unit on the wall within easy access of your 6 to 60-amp power outlet. The OpenEVSE 48-amp comes with a plug that can be plugged into a 30-amp NEMA 14-30, a 50-amp NEMA 14-50, or a 60-amp NEMA 14-60 outlet, and it’s one of the few 48-amp chargers today that doesn’t need to be hardwired. Once secured, you can plug it in to allow the unit to perform a quick self-diagnostic before setting up the wifi and putting it to use.
Charging is relatively simple for the OpenEVSE 48-amp– just plug it into your car and you’re good to go. The unit comes with an LCD display that shows the user the current power output, the total energy dispensed during the current charging session, and the cumulative power the unit has delivered over time. It also has the ability to participate in utility demand response programs, allowing you to receive money back for reducing your energy demand during peak demand periods.
While the OpenEVSE 48-amp is capable of power-sharing between multiple units, it doesn’t have that ability out of the box. You’ll need to specially configure the unit to make that an option.
The unit does come with a remote holster, allowing you to mount it where it’s most convenient for you. The connector also comes with a convenient cap, keeping it free of moisture, dirt, and debris. There's also another nice alternative holster and cable hook combo available on Amazon if you prefer a different style instead.
In order to give the OpenEVSE 48-amp a thorough review for those of you living in colder environments, we put it through the same cable deep freeze test that so many of you love and are familiar with.
The Cable Deep Freeze Test
We left the OpenEVSE 48-amp in a commercial ice cream freezer for over 15 hours to simulate how it might react being left outside in extremely low temperatures. The goal was to see how flexible the cable would be afterward. When the time came for us to remove the device from the freezer, the temperature inside measured at -11.2° F. We could immediately see that the cable wasn’t doing well after we pulled it out, remaining tightly coiled and very stiff, and it really fought against being coiled back up after unraveling. It’s not the worst we’ve seen by any means, but it’s not great, either.
If you were looking for an EV charger whose cable does well in more extreme weather, we’d have to recommend the ChargePoint Home Flex over this one.
After averaging the ChargerRater score with my personal score of 4.55 stars out of 5 for the unit, the OpenEVSE 48-amp walked away with a final 4.45 stars out of 5. It’s a flexible smart unit that won’t break the bank, and for the more tech-savvy among us, its potential for customization can’t be beat.
The OpenEVSE 48-amp is available from OpenEVSE for $599.00, and a 40-amp version of the same device is available for $519.00. Take a look at the review video above and drop us a comment on the charger below.
By: Tom Moloughney
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