ChargePoint, the operator of North America’s largest public EV charging network with nearly 25,000 “charging spots”, has developed a new residential charging product called ChargePoint Home. I was given the opportunity to test and review this over the last month, and overall, I’m very impressed.
The home-based charger I was provided included a 25 charging foot cord (the longest of three options available) along with a unit configured with a 240 V plug (as opposed to a direct-wired option). In advance of the unit arriving, I made sure the appropriate 240 V receptacle was installed in my garage, though some people may already have such an outlet available if they make use welders or other high-power equipment.
Once the unit arrived, installation was extremely simple. A template allowed me to mark spots to drill for three screw holes, and the charger packaging that was sent included the needed screws and bits for drilling the holes and tightening the screws. The 25 foot cord was designed with a simple retention mechanism for the wires that allows effortless connection to the charging equipment once the unit has been mounted. The process of installing this charger took roughly 15 minutes, and I wasn’t rushing.
Once the unit was connected, setup was also a breeze. The ChargePoint app allows you to enter in some details about your home charger. It then searches for it and allows you to enter in your wireless network information and password to connect the charger to your home network. At this point, the charger is ready for use.
The charger comes with some great options allowing for easy configuration and use. A simple LED backlight that surrounds the charging cables holster allows for easy identification of charger status. When everything is setup properly, this light is green. Once plugged in to a vehicle, the light changes to blue, and when charging the blue light fades in and out. In addition to simple visual cues, the ChargePoint app allows you to configure charging times manually, or based on your electricity rate schedule. Whenever needed, this can be easily overridden in the app, and charging will begin immediately after you command it to start charging. I thought this feature may have caused my Chevrolet Volt to start beeping to alert me of a power loss. However, that never happened, as ChargePoint seems to have implemented this configurability in a robust and bulletproof manner. One small side-effect of this delayed charging functionality is that my Volt’s Charge Cord Theft Alarm did not go off when I unplugged the ChargePoint cable from my car when this delayed charging functionality is set on the charger equipment. Generally, most people will likely not be bothered by this quirk.
Another helpful app feature is the ability to set charging reminders if you don’t plug in by a certain time each day. The app also provides some useful data, including a list of prior charging sessions and how many miles were added during each (based on the implicit efficiency of your vehicles configured in the app), as well as a graph of the most recent charging session, showing how much power was being used as a function of time. Unfortunately, beyond that you need connectivity with a Nest for additional electricity usage and smart monitoring. I would have preferred having the app list more energy and power details about all my past charging sessions, rather than requiring Nest for that capability. The most recent charging session’s energy usage also appears to be rounded to the nearest kWh. While fine for most consumers, the most data-driven consumers may want to have higher precision here. Another minor annoyance was the lack of an LED light on the charging cable’s plug that illuminates when you’re plugging into your vehicle (a feature I find priceless on my SPX Voltec charger).
In summary, ChargePoint’s new home-based charger is a great product. It is compact, intelligent, easy to use, and install. The cable and receptacle appear to be very rugged, and operation was very simple and reliable. Historical energy usage date would be nice without needing to integrate to Nest, but I would still consider this to be one of the more refined home-based charging stations available for purchase. The ChargePoint Home starts at $499 (hardwired, cord sold separately) and is available on Amazon.com. As tested (plug option and 25 foot cord), the unit retails for $749.