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This week we feature Richard Rodriguez’s excellent Porsche 914 Targa build. Richard shot an excellent video walk around of this car, which does 100 mph and of course over 100 miles range using somewhat unusual Voltronix batteries from Flux Power. Flux Power was started by the ex-CEO of Aptera Motors.

One of our viewers suggested we show how little is really inside the $3000 Clipper Creek Level II Charge Station and so we did. We went a bit further. We gathered up all the pieces you would need to build an SAE J1772-2010 Electrive Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE) 60 amp charge station. All in, it is right about $900 and would would probably take 2 hours to assemble.

David Kerzel’s J1772 control board is of course what makes it possible. But we found an enclosure with TWO 90 amp contractors on eBay for $299. This gives you an approved enclosure and approved contractor for your box.

We also added a GFI 60amp circuit breaker for $117 including shipping. It’s a Siemens ITE BF260 model.

Of course, you need a plug and cable. We get the 70Amp model with 8 meter cord from Chennic for $175 plus shipping.

Beyond that you’re into optional switches and a $2 automotive relay. The contractor works on 120vac across its coil. We use the 12v automotive relay to apply this voltage on command from the modularEV control board.

Here’s a little wiring diagram that might help you put all this together.

David Kerzel was sufficiently wowed by our combination of his billet aluminum J1772 socket and the billet aluminum gas cap, that he’s going to get the caps, and make a totally integrated gas cap/J1772 socket with LED lights and his little control board to sell as a package. Would have saved us some work and having seen his machining work, it will undoubtedly look better as well. Since the caps are about $130 and his billet socket is $160, the board is $30, the little device is likely to be a bit pricey, certainly over $350. But it would provide a very nice total solution to mount on a car for J1772 compatibility. And it would be kewell.

We also talk about the CABLED study from Coventry and Birmingham in the UK. This is real data collected by satellite. And it very seriously calls into question the question of infrastructure. Most EV proponents are campaigning vigorously for public charge stations in their cities. We have been a little reluctant on this, and at this point we’re actually against it. Getting the government, federal, state, local et al, to fund charge stations no one is going to use seems like a bad approach. Level II charging is best done at home and so is generally done at home.

We can see some utility in Level II charge stations at your place of employment. Tax credits for employers are I think already available but this area should certainly be pursued.

But public Level II charging never did really make any sense at all. Walmart is going to install 830 charge stations. It’s goofy. I’m only going to be in Walmart for 45 minutes and I wouldn’t even bother plugging in the cord if I DID accidentally get one of those parking spots.

We need Level III charging spots between cities that can bring our car to 80% in 30 minutes. This would allow intercity travel. I can deal with driving 100 miles (two hours) and taking a 30 minute break, particularly if coffee is available. It would be a rather leisurely drive and we’d be talking 300 miles in a day perhaps – 400 if you are aggressive. But it would allow cross country travel. And the number of these stops is within the scope of do ability even across the land.

The batteries will already do it. We need a CHARGER on the car that will talk ChaDemo or Level III, when adopted, and that is non trivial. It’s not just a communications issue. The Level III will be a couple hundred amps at up to 400v DC. But it can be done.

Gas stations are the obvious place for this, and you will have to pay for it – probably through the nose. But I’d pay $20 for a quick charge that would get me city to city. Still a bargain compared to gasoline.

I think this is the “charge station” we should be focused on. Free electricity at the mall just doesn’t work for me – unless I happen to work at the mall. The only ones to benefit from Walmart’s charging stations would be Walmart employees with electric cars.

Here is a link to the J1772 spec as revised January 2010.

Jack Rickard