Zugzwang
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:54 am

Level 2 Home Charging Question

Thu May 24, 2018 11:33 am

Another newbie question!

I am hoping someone can help me make sure I have this right or correct me where I have gone wrong.

I’ve discovered that the 2018 Leaf now comes with an EVSE (a charging cable that plugs into an outlet on one end, and the car on the other. In-between each end is a box with three indicator lights).

I appreciate I can use this EVSE to plug into an ordinary outlet and charge the car. This, I gather, is a level-1 charge. To make it work I need to attach an adaptor to one end so that it plugs into the standard outlet (a NEMA 5-15 120V, if I am using that right). This adaptor is also provided with the car.

Many Leaf owners, however, upgrade to a level 2 charge. To do this, you need a 200 Amp panel in your home. You also need the 4-prong outlet (I think the proper term is a 14-50 outlet).

My newbie question is: once I’ve upgraded the panel and the outlet (by way of a certified electrician) do I then need to separately buy a new EVSE or some other device? (such as the Clipper Creek I frequently read about? Or the Flow X5?) Or am I right that I can then just remove the adaptor and use the EVSE that comes with the Leaf to connect to the new outlet and the car and get a Level 2 charge?

Thanks for your thoughts and corrections!

LeftieBiker
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Re: Level 2 Home Charging Question

Thu May 24, 2018 11:44 am

You don't need a 200 amp panel. You just need a free 40 amp or higher 240 volt circuit. A dryer circuit is often available, but these are usually 30 amps, and in their less than infinite wisdom Nissan made the EVSE 27.5 amps, which is too high a current for continuous use on a 30 amp circuit. So if your service panel is anywhere near where the car will charge it's easy to have a 40 amp circuit installed. If the panel is farther away, it will cost more.
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RonDawg
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Re: Level 2 Home Charging Question

Thu May 24, 2018 1:33 pm

There's three ways you can handle this:

1. Stick with 120 volt charging, assuming your range needs are very modest, and the outlet and circuit you plan on plugging into are robust and not shared with anything else.

2. Install an outlet of 40 amps that lets you plug this EVSE in to draw 27.5 amps.

3. Buy a separate EVSE that matches what your existing feed is able to supply.

As far as 200 amps, with modern electrical loads, it may be necessary if you want a 40 amp or higher circuit especially if you have an all-electric home or have central A/C. I have a 125 amp panel on my circa 1981 townhome, and while I have gas heating/cooking I do have central A/C. The electrician said that a 30 amp circuit is the max I can safely have, which is why I have a Clipper Creek LCS-25 (the -30 wasn't yet available). Your electrician will advise you as to the maximum circuit rating that is available, so hold off on buying any additional parts before this consultation.

LeftieBiker wrote:You don't need a 200 amp panel. You just need a free 40 amp or higher 240 volt circuit. A dryer circuit is often available, but these are usually 30 amps, and in their less than infinite wisdom Nissan made the EVSE 27.5 amps, which is too high a current for continuous use on a 30 amp circuit.


"In their less than infinite wisdom" Nissan could have played it safe and made it a 16 amp EVSE (like the EVSE Upgraded OEM ones), and someone else will complain than the car will be charging slower than designed.

Now it would be nice if the factory EVSE were adjustable for various wattages like the Tesla one, but then again you're paying a lot more for a Tesla than a Nissan.
Blue Ocean 2012 Leaf SV, lost that 1st bar at 34 months/26,435 miles. Lease returned 2 months later. Final LeafStat figures: 225 Gids, 17.44 kWH, SOC 91.89%, SOH 82.36%, 69.49% HX, 54.57 Ahr, battery temp 61.8 F.
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alozzy
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Re: Level 2 Home Charging Question

Thu May 24, 2018 2:34 pm

Nissan should absolutely provide an EVSE with the car that has several amperage presets and the flexibility to charge at voltage ranges between 100V and 240V. There's really no excuse, other than they are cheaping out.
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RonDawg
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Re: Level 2 Home Charging Question

Thu May 24, 2018 4:08 pm

alozzy wrote:Nissan should absolutely provide an EVSE with the car that has several amperage presets and the flexibility to charge at voltage ranges between 100V and 240V. There's really no excuse, other than they are cheaping out.


Nissan isn't the only one "cheaping out." AFAIK they are the only EV manufacturer besides Tesla that provides a dual voltage portable EVSE, so they're doing more than most.

For that matter, there aren't many third party EVSE's, portable or permanent mount, that work with various circuit sizes.
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MikeD
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Re: Level 2 Home Charging Question

Thu May 24, 2018 5:01 pm

Zugzwang: Trying to regularly use your L1/L2 EVSE just as an L1 probably is not going to prove very satisfactory -- you likely will want to use its L2 functionality (you are correct that you may be able to use it as your main charging station). As noted previously, in order to use that EVSE safely as an L2, your electrician may tell you based on an accounting of all the electrical devices in your home that your local code requires expanding your service -- from 100a to 200a makes the most amount of sense, together with a sub-panel or new replacement panel if you need more breaker space.

Otherwise I see no reason not to use this EVSE as your Leaf's normal day-to-day charging station connected to a carefully located (the cable's length is about 18 feet) 14-50R receptacle on a 50a 240v circuit (my recommendation as well as Nissan's). I suggest normally leaving it plugged in at your house and taking it with you on a trip only if you foresee being able to use the L2 functionality like at an RV campsite. If you feel uncomfortable not carrying an emergency EVSE for L1 charging, I recommend buying a used (2013 or later is best) Nissan one (and I suggest one that is unaltered) from eBay, etc. For reasons of safety I do NOT agree that one whose amperage can be adjusted is desirable -- just respect Murphy's Law. Do you really want the ability to perhaps accidentally (and easily) overload a charging circuit and just rely on its breaker to prevent overheating/damaging its insulation?

For other info/recommendations about your EVSE, look at other threads about it.

webeleafowners
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Re: Level 2 Home Charging Question

Thu May 24, 2018 8:59 pm

No need for the 200 amp panel. We have a 100 amp panel. We had an electrician add a 40 amp circuit and 14-50 receptacle. Works great.
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smkettner
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Re: Level 2 Home Charging Question

Thu May 24, 2018 9:24 pm

webeleafowners wrote:No need for the 200 amp panel. We have a 100 amp panel. We had an electrician add a 40 amp circuit and 14-50 receptacle. Works great.
+1 for this.
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MikeD
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Re: Level 2 Home Charging Question

Thu May 24, 2018 11:48 pm

One sure sign that your service needs to be upgraded may be your main breaker starts tripping (assuming the breaker is sound).

If you add up all the maximum Watts of all your power hungry appliances that might be on at the same time, plus the estimated Watts of your lights, etc usage, I believe this total should ideally be less than your service (100a @ 240v = 24,000W and 200a @ 240v = 48,000W) or you risk overloading your service. The NEC load calculation is somewhat complicated and it very well may not estimate your actual maximum attained load if you like to do a lot at the same time. The following may prompt one to think more about this issue.

Example (not sure all of these are typical):
7200W -- 30a -- EVSE
10000W -- Range (oven + all 4 eyes on)
1200W -- Dishwasher
1200W -- Washing Machine
4000W -- Electric Dryer
3500W -- A/C compressor
1200W -- A/C Blower
1800W -- Hair Dryer
---------
30,100 -- Total

and clearly more could be added in.

Zugzwang
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:54 am

Re: Level 2 Home Charging Question

Fri May 25, 2018 5:12 am

OP here,

As usual, the discussion here is extremely helpful. I learn multiple things every time.

I will investigate the breaker issue in more detail. I see I am incorrect about the 200 Amp panel, at least in so far as I described it as standard requirement - that might just be specific to me and my current electrical setup in my home. (I may be out of breaker space as well, I'll look into this.)

Good to know the EVSE that comes with the 2018 Leaf can do the job, though as pointed out, it might be helpful to have a second one for travel.

Many thanks!

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