State of Charge | Charging Station Reviews

Shell Recharge EV Charging Station Review

Nice try, but there’s definitely room for improvement
Last updated March 1, 2022

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When we think of EV chargers, I doubt many of us would have pictured Shell coming up in the same thought. Yeah, that Shell, the oil giant whose gas stations dot the American landscape. But surprisingly enough, the company does seem interested in quietly joining in on electrification, even if its motivations may be questionable. Back in 2019, Shell purchased an EV charging network called Greenlots, and they bought the European EV charging network Ubitricity the following year. They’ve even partnered with General Motors to expand the EV charging infrastructure in the US. With those achievements under their belt, they’re now trying to move in on the home EV charging market.

The Shell-branded Recharge comes in both a 32-amp version and a 40-amp version, though we tested out the latter. Competitively priced for what it offers, we decided to put the ReCharge through its paces and see how it compared to similar EV home chargers on the market today.

amazon.com
$499.99

Key Specs of the Shell ReCharge

  • Charger: AC Level 2
  • AC Connector: Type 1 (SAE J1772)
  • Power Input: NEMA 14-50 plug
  • Rated Current: 40A
  • Adjustable Current: 12-40A
  • Maximum Power: 9.6 kW
  • Dimensions (without cable): 14.4" x 18" (case)
  • Cable length: 25 feet
  • Connectivity: -None-
  • Safety Certified: No
  • Automatic power adjusting
  • LCD display clearly shows charging status
  • Comes with a NEMA 14-50 to NEMA 5-15 adaptor for a standard household outlet
  • Cons

  • Not safety certified through UL or ETL
  • Official J1772 to Tesla adaptor doesn’t lock into place
  • Outer jacket of the cable separates easily from the plug to expose wires
  • Installation

    Since this is a portable charger, there’s no real need to install the Shell ReCharge. However, there is a mounting keyhole slot in the rear of the unit if you want to hang it on the wall. That’s preferable to letting the unit hang from the outlet by the plug.

    Both versions of the unit are dual-voltage and come with a NEMA 14-50 plug, as well as a NEMA 5-15 adapter to allow for 120v Level 1 charging from a regular household outlet (note: it’s not rated for outdoor use). It doesn’t come with a connector holster or any type of cable management system, so you’d probably want to look into purchasing a third-party solution. We’d recommend this combination holster and j-hook on Amazon for about $19.

    The Shell ReCharge delivers up to 7.7 kW on the 32-amp version and 9.6 kW on the 40-amp version. At max power, Shell claims that you can add up to 40 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on your EV’s efficiency.

    We did run into a problem when trying to use an official J1772 to Tesla adaptor with the ReCharge, though– it just doesn’t fit! There’s a rubber gasket inside the connector which is a little too big and prevents the Tesla adaptor from locking into place. We ended up having to use a third-party Lectron Tesla adaptor instead, which was a little bit thinner and managed to slide on and lock into place.

    One weird thing about the ReCharge is that there isn’t any audible confirmation when the connector is successfully attached to either a vehicle charging port or an adaptor. Another is that the device initially defaulted to 16 amps on Level 1 charging, which is over the recommended limit; it quickly backed down to 12 amps, but if there was a fault in the device or a user purposefully set it to overdraw the circuit, you could run into a serious safety issue.

    It’s worth mentioning that the company claims their cable is 30 feet long, but it actually isn’t, at least not when measured by the same standard that other companies use. Other manufacturers measure the charging cable from the base of the charger to the J1772 connector, but Shell measured theirs from the NEMA 14-50 plug instead. When measured from the base of the charger, the ReCharge’s cable is actually 25.5 feet long.

    Testing

    This time around, we performed four different tests to see how the Shell ReCharge would hold up under common real-world scenarios so that you can see how it compares to other chargers on the market. Our results were mixed, to say the least.


    The Drop Test

    In order to test the Shell ReCharge’s reaction to falling during regular usage, we dropped it from about five feet in the air to the ground five times. The unit powered up afterward without issue, and other than a faint scratch in the casing, it seemed no worse for wear after our rough handling.


    The Cable Pull Test

    We usually give a good hard pull on the cables and connections of the units we test just to make sure that everything is nice and tight. However, when we pulled on the NEMA 14-50 cable, we were able to separate the outer jacket of the cable and expose the wires inside on the very first pull. Sure, we pull hard, but these units have to be able to withstand frequent use. This was very disappointing to see.


    The Extreme Weather Test

    The Shell ReCharge has a waterproof rating of IP 66, which is the equivalent of a NEMA 4 rating. That means that it’s good for outdoor installations, and also has extra protections in place in case of driving rain and snow. With that in mind, we took a garden hose to it for our extreme weather test, spraying the casing down from all angles. After drying the unit off and plugging it in, the ReCharge started up and began charging with no issues.


    The Cable Deep Freeze Test

    We tossed the Shell ReCharge into a commercial ice cream freezer for 13 hours in order to test how the charging cable would react to extreme cold. The temperature in the freezer measured at -9.5° F (-23° C) when we took the ReCharge back out, and we were dismayed to discover that the cable was so stiff that it just might take the crown for the worst one we’ve ever tested. We can’t recommend it for colder-weather environments. If you are looking for an EV charger with a cable that does great in more extreme weather, we’d have to recommend the ChargePoint Home Flex over this one.

    If you’ve watched a few of our reviews before, then you know the drill here: we score each EV charging station that we test on a 15-point categorical system before tallying up the final score out of 100, that way you can easily compare them to other similar units. The Shell ReCharge’s score really bombed thanks to its construction and lack of safety certification, but its cost helped make up for that. Overall, the ReCharge scored a total of 72 points, for a score of 3.6 out of 5 stars.

    After averaging the ChargerRater score with my personal score of 3.5 stars out of 5, the Shell ReCharge came away with an overall score of 3.55 stars out of 5. It’s not the best EV charger available, but it’s not the worst, and some might be willing to overlook its faults at its price.

    The 32-amp version of the Shell ReCharge is available for $449.99 and the 40-amp version is available for $499.99, both from Amazon. Take a look at the full review in the video above and give us your thoughts in the comments below.

    3.55 / 5
    Shell ReCharge

    By: Tom Moloughney

    Tom has been covering the electric vehicle scene since 2010 and has written for Forbes, Plugincars, GreenCarReports, BMWBLOG, and InsideEVs. He's a former director at Plug In America and specializes in the North American and Chinese electric vehicle markets, with a strong emphasis on EV charging and charging equipment. Tom is also the host of the EV charging YouTube channel, State of Charge.

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