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W...T...F... GM!! Volt OEM EVSE is L2! (shhh it's a secret)

Discussion in 'Charging Standards and Infrastructure' started by nwdiver, May 10, 2017.

  1. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    So... this really annoyed me...

    My sister bought a new 2017 volt (AWESOME)... so as a thank you I hooked her up with a NEMA 14-50 outlet and bought a L2 16A connector for ~$300 to upgrade from the POS L1 connector that comes with the car. Then I see this online today. It's a L2 board!! Rated to 250v!! WHY?! This is absurd! Why on earth would GM equip their cars with a L2 mobile connector then downgrade it to L1? Not sure what makes me angrier... that I wasted $300 when I could have just spliced a 240v plug on the end and it would have worked fine or that GM seems obsessed with ensuring their EVs are as unappealing as possible....

    Here's a link to the Volt OEM connector... no indication at all that it's L2 compatible...
     
  2. GSP

    GSP Member

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    These EVSEs are made by Clipper Creek for GM. I suspect CC did the right thing and designed the board to be 240 V compatible, despite GM specs that did not require that. CC really wants to enable PEV adoption.

    The 120 V 5-15 plug has a temperature sensor embedded into it. It is best to leave it alone and use an adapter pigtail to adapt it to the 240 V outlet that you want to use. Be sure to label the adapter "240 Volts - EV CHARGING ONLY" or words to that effect.

    GSP
     
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  3. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    #3 McRat, May 10, 2017
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
    Voltages vary (har) all over the world. The computer you are typing on probably has a power supply that will accept 90 to 265 volts.

    Does your computer have a 240v end on the plug?

    But yes, the G2 Volt/Bolt board is capable of going up to at least 250v since 248v doesn't hurt it. Pretty sure it would freak out at 277v (commercial USA) power.

    But, it still only goes to 12 amps even though the car will accept 16 amps.

    Most people (90%?) find that 120v is just fine for Volts. Remember that if they are not charged, they still run. You forget to charge your Fiat 500e and you might be late for work. Not true with a Volt.
     
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  4. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    That's my point... the AC adapter for my computer is designed to work with 240v... and it's labeled as such... how novel. The OEM EVSE that comes with the volt is also designed to work with 240v...which is incredibly useful but you have to crack it open or sleuth the interwebs to discover this.

    In retrospect I'm almost as angry with myself as the foolishness at GM (almost) I should have known better.... oh well... now my sister will have a backup EVSE she can carry in her car...
     
  5. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    The 16a will charge faster than the 12a will. You did a good deed, especially for future proofing.

    Ugghhh... OK, let's try this again. Only fanatics plug their Volts into 240. We fanatics have 3 L2 at home, and 2 at work. Most people have no 240 available easily when they buy their car. And most people should not play with 240 themselves. An average owner:

    Does not deplete the charge daily.
    Charges the car to 100% overnight with 120v with the included cable.

    If they don't charge it at all it still runs great. The 101 HP motor produces 161 HP as if by magic, even if it's not charged at all.

    But I do agree, the 75kWh battery Tesla has a far better included charger. Because it should have one. It's too heavy to push.
     
  6. gaswalla

    gaswalla P4201/85/airsusp/pano/19i

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    Same is true for the LEAF supplied evse
     
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  7. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    The new volt has a 18.4kWh battery. My sister was NOT getting a full charge every night. By Friday she would barely get home without having to convert to fools fuel. A 240v outlet is typically not expensive to get installed... I suspect that many volt owners would gladly pay ~$200 for a 240v outlet if the included EVSE could use it...

    I would beg to differ that 'it still runs great' burning fools fuel; it uses twice as much energy per mile. I think most people would not say their car is 'running great' if their fuel economy fell by >50%.

    Aside from faster charging L2 is also more efficient... you're getting twice the power for the same current level. L1 is ~85% efficient vs ~90% for L2. My point is that if GM is going to include an EVSE that can use 240v then they should enable their owners to use 240v.
     
  8. Cosmacelf

    Cosmacelf Active Member

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    BTW, same thing with included Bolt EVSE. It too can be plugged into 240V, and charge at 12A.

    I'm not sure what GM should have done. GM didn't want to complicate their foolproof EVSE with adapters like Tesla did since that would require a special pluggable connector thingie, and it isn't worth the trouble for a 12A EVSE. They didn't want to make or even talk about NEMA 5-15 to 240V adapters since those adapters, standalone, are dangerous if used incorrectly (they will give 240V to a 120V appliance). I don't see a third option, did I miss something?
     
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  9. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    What makes the Tesla adapters 'complicated' is that they 'talk' to the UMC. The UMC knows if it can draw 12,16 to 40A depending on the adapter. GM could have simply had a dumb adapter. A 120v 12A connector (standard wall) and a 240v 12A connector (NEMA 6-20 common for air conditioners). 120v OR 240v 12A. No need to change current. The cost difference would have been <$30.
     
  10. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    I'm telling you what reality is. Most Volt owners use 120v. I don't, but most do.

    To use the 120v with no extension cord, program it to 12 amps based on location and set your departure time. The 120v EVSE will charge a battery in 12hr at 120vac x 12 amps.

    It holds 14.0 kWh, the rest is used for buffering due to the EREV aspect. Hence why it can produce 161HP with only 101HP and 0 miles of battery.

    Now for the serious Volthead, go on TOU/EV plan, program everything in your house to that window, including the car. This requires L2 charging.
     
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  11. scottf200

    scottf200 Active Member

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    How many hours does she plug in at night?

    Is she charging at 12a or the default 8a?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    Not disputing that at all... I'm betting that many of them burn more gas than they would like running errands after work since they get a pittance of charge when they get home. I would bet that many of them would upgrade to L2 if they knew it was possible to do so for <$200.

    My sister wasn't able to charge at 12A. The car defaults to 8A and it has to be manually set to 12A everytime with L1. She needed a dedicated outlet to get 12A.. that was one of the reasons we installed a NEMA 14-50. Had to be done anyway... might as well do it right.

    It would be interesting to see how many L1 volt owners do not leave with a full charge in the morning...

    That's another benefit of L2... I don't think you can make 12A the default... you have to remember to set it everytime you plug in... LOL that wouldn't happen with her!
     
  13. scottf200

    scottf200 Active Member

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    I think they added 'location' based charging setting options in 2017 so you should be able to set it to 12A on her 120v EVSE.

    Example from reddit:
    My wife has a 2016 but we only need to charge at 8amp based on the time it is plugged in and her distance (my Tesla sucks up the rest of the amps from our garage subpanel).
     
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  14. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    #14 McRat, May 10, 2017
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
    You can permanently set it at 12 amps by geolocation. Any time she is at home, it will default to 12a. Other locations will default to 8 amps.

    Most people commute less than 30 miles round trip a day. Seriously.

    But L2 at 16 amps is best. So you did right. If it's any consolation, she now has a 'spare' charger she can put in the rear left side hatch so she can plug in at other locations. Or if her home L2 fails.
     
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  15. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    #15 SageBrush, May 10, 2017
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
    EVSEupgrade.com modifies the OEM LEAF EVSE to be a 240v EVSE for about $300.

    There is more to this than a plug replacement, or people would simply buy a pigtail plug adapter -- right ?
     
  16. William13

    William13 Member

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    My brother regretted working at GM transmission when his boss made him save 7cents on a manual transmission and it went from smooth to clunky movement. 1983.
     
  17. nwdiver

    nwdiver Active Member

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    Hmmm... good chance they're just shysters here's the Volt EVSE that DOES just need a pigtail for $199... the LEAF might be more because they're upping the current too... from 12A to 30A. I... I don't think there is such a thing as a L1 EVSE... pretty sure they're all L2 connected to 120v...

    Well done GM... you've spawned a cottage industry :confused:
     
  18. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    I thought that EVSEupgrade.com is run by EE Phil, aka Telsa owner and forum regular ingineer.

    You are right about the higher Amp rating of the expensive conversion , but look at this instructable that converts a mobile 'L1' EVSE to 240v. It is a lot more involved than plugging a pigtail adapter and it only allows 12 Amps.
     
  19. wws

    wws Member

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    It is a pretty poorly kept secret. "Chris TX", who is also a Model S owner, did the research into the box over a year ago. Here is the monster thread at the Volt forum on it: 2016 Volt 120v EVSE is L1/L2 Conversion Capable It has also been mentioned several times in the Volt thread here at TMC, the Volt owners facebook groups, and so on. The Bolt EV comes with the same charge cord, so the same applies. Chris now has an etsy page offering to build adapters for those who don't want to build their own.

    IMHO, GM should have had a Weatherpack-like socket mounted on the box, then offer a few 'dongles' with different plug types on them. Provide a 5-15 dongle with the car, and offer some 240v versions as overpriced accessories.
     
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