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Pergear P2 Portable EV Charging Station Review
When ‘waterproof’ doesn’t actually mean ‘impervious to water’…
As electric vehicles become more common, it’s only natural that the available charging options on the market continue to expand. This means that portable charging stations –once a rare and often flawed portion of the market– are becoming more mainstream. That’s probably why I receive so many recommendation requests for this type of equipment, both here and over on State of Charge.
So that’s where the Pergear P2 portable EV charger comes in. The Pergear P2 is a portable, dual-voltage electric vehicle charger capable of charging at both Level 1 and Level 2 outputs. But will it pass my tests and earn itself a place on my recommended EV charging stations list? Keep reading to find out.
Key Specs of the Pergear P2 Portable
The Pergear P2 portable EV charger is a plug-in unit meant for on-the-go use, so it's not really intended to be installed in a traditional manner unless you prefer to mount it in a permanent location. The body of the unit comes in a convenient carrying case with its charging cable and J1772 connector, built-in 240v NEMA 14-50 plug, mounting cradle, connector cover, remote connector holster, and a couple of sets of screws for mounting both the cradle and the holster to a wall. You can just toss the bag in the back of your EV and have it on hand whenever you need a little extra juice.
But if you want to put the Pergear P2 in a fixed spot, just mount the cradle in your preferred location and within reach of an outlet, screwing it into place using the four pre-drilled holes. As always, it's best to do this over a stud for added stability. Once that's done, the body of the unit will slide right into place, and all that's left will be to mount the connection holster in a handy spot near your EV charge port. With the Pergear P2's 25-foot cable, that shouldn't be too difficult.
Recall how I mentioned that this EVSE has a built-in NEMA 14-50 plug? The Pergear P2 portable EV charger actually breaks away from most dual-voltage EV chargers in that regard, because that means you can't just plug it into a standard household NEMA 5-15 outlet right out of the box. To use it in a 120v household outlet, you'll need to pick up a NEMA 5-15P to NEMA 14-50R adapter to make it work. And not just any adapter, either– it has to be one that specifically states it's for EV charging use. Most of these kinds of adapters are made for RV use and aren't actually compatible with EV charging. Believe me, I found that out the hard way.
The Pergear P2 offers up to 9.6 kW of power when used as a Level 2 charger. Using its 2.4" color touchscreen, the unit lets the user directly de-rate its power output to 32, 24, 16, and 10-amps as needed. The touchscreen also shares information like the real-time current, voltage, power, charger capacity, and control box temperature.
Thanks to its J1772 connector, the Pergear P2 can be used to charge any EV in North America, including Teslas– since they now come standard with J1772 adapters. The unit also has a 25-foot cable for maximum flexibility in reaching your EV charging port. It's advertised as having an IP67 weatherproof rating, meaning it should be able to keep water from entering the enclosure for up to 30 minutes when submerged in about three feet of water (more on my findings in the Testing section below). Unfortunately, the Pergear P2 hasn't been safety certified.
The Pergear P2 is not considered a smart charger, but it is WiFi-enabled, allowing it to connect to your smart devices. After scanning a QR code in the instruction manual, you'll end up at an IP address where you can check out certain charging options. You can monitor your charging, set the amperage, turn off automatic charging, or set up scheduled charging– pretty much everything you can do from the touchscreen of the device itself. It's a shame that you can't access any useful charging stats there like with most smart chargers, though, and since it's not internet-based, you have to be very close to the unit to access these controls.
I used the Pergear P2 over a couple of weeks to charge my Ford F-150 Lightning, my Rivian R1T, and a friend's Tesla Model 3. I did that so I could be sure to simulate a lot of real-world situations that users would encounter during regular charging use, as well as some more extreme circumstances. I want to save you the hassle and headache of buying an expensive EVSE only to find out afterward that it was poorly manufactured or didn't meet your needs. So how did this unit hold up?
The Connector Drop Test
Let's face it– we all drop our connectors now and then. You want to ensure it's robust enough to withstand a little rough handling without breaking. I tested the Pergear P2 portable EV charger by dropping it to the concrete floor of my garage about five times from chest height. This unit's connector weathered the drop test just fine without any scuffs or cracks. The connector Pergear uses feels a little plasticky and has no rubberized grip, but that didn't hold it back from passing the test.
The Cable Deep Freeze Test
Some people need to charge their EVs outdoors, and if you live in one of the northern states, you know that it can get really cold. That makes it super important that the EVSE you buy comes with a charging cable that can remain flexible under such temperatures. For the purposes of testing this, I put the coiled-up Pergear P2 in a commercial ice cream freezer for 24 hours. When I pulled the unit out, the temperature inside measured a frigid -11.5° F (-24.1° C). After unwinding the cable, I found it so stiff and tight that I could barely get it to move out of its spring-like form. There was no way I could try to coil it back up in larger loops, and I could barely get the unit hung back on the wall– not at all what I wanted to see. This is a huge fail in my book. After this test, I can't recommend the Pergear P2 for cold-weather EV charging. If you want an EVSE that can handle more extreme temperatures, you may want to check out the ChargePoint Home Flex instead.
The Automatic Restart Test
For this particular test, I plugged the charger into a vehicle and then shut off the circuit breaker to simulate a power outage. I then turn the circuit breaker back on and see if the unit will reinitiate the charging cycle. Some units don't– what they'll do is they'll remain off and won't charge the EV, leaving you with a big problem if you have a temporary power outage overnight. The Pergear P2 worked flawlessly on all three of my test vehicles and began recharging each of them as soon as power was restored. It earned a pass in this category.
The Submersion Test
When I get my hands on a portable EV charger rated as 'waterproof', I also do what I call the submersion test. The Pergear P2 has an IP67 rating, meaning it can sit under about three feet of water for 30 minutes without any water seeping into the unit. I submerged it in about four or five inches of water with the full intention of leaving it there for those 30 minutes, but unfortunately, after roughly 10 seconds of being submerged, a red warning light came on and the unit failed. After removing it from the bucket, I could see water pouring out of the base of the unit where the cable goes into the body. Perhaps there was something wrong with this specific unit, because as it is constructed, it would not receive an IP67 rating; the cable that goes into the body of the unit simply isn't sealed. You can pull it out with a moderate tug and expose the internal wires. Because of this, the unit failed the submersion test, and I can't recommend the Pergear P2 for use in inclement weather or even lying outdoors if it's raining.
I make it a point to also give my own personal score on all of the chargers I rate, because some things just can’t be gauged on the ChargerRater. Because of the multiple failures I observed, I could only give the Pergear P2 portable EV charger a 2.5-star rating. After combining and averaging both scores, I gave the Pergear P2 a final score of 3.2 stars. This unit might be a 40-amp portable charger with some nice features, but with its current configuration and lack of safety certification, it’s not one we can add to our recommended EV charger list.
The Pergear P2 is currently available for $399.00 on Amazon, though at last check, there was also a $120 coupon available. We hope that Pergear can continue improving its build quality, and that someday we can revisit this charger after some enhancements have been made. Take a look at my full review in the video above, and tell me what you think in the comments below.
By: Tom Moloughney
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