Roadburner440
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Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:42 pm
Location: Hampton, VA

Using my Voltec charger on a Leaf?

Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:53 pm

Hello. I have done quite a bit of searching, and have a general idea of an answer but wanted to hear definately from people that own them. We have a 2012 Chevy Volt, and obviously the Voltec L2 charger. The Volt has been a great car thus far, but now we are debating going full forward and getting a 100% EV..

To get to my point the Voltec charger has been phenomenal. If I completely drain the battery it usually only takes about 3 hours 15 minutes to top the Volt off with the 240 Volt @ 15/16amps. So ultimately my question is this. If we got a Leaf, and used this charger does the 7 hour L2 recharge time stand, or is the Leaf able to take advantage of the higher amperage offered by Blink/Ecotality?

The Leaf we are looking at is a 2011 SL. So it does not have the heated battery or anything. So I imagine the 3.3kwh rate provided by the Voltec would be suffice. I just do not want to pull the trigger on it without a definite answer.. The dealer does not really know either as Nissan only endorses their little Aerovironment charger. I am stoked too about being able to have one of the Nissan portable charge cords to modify in to a portable L2 charger for the Volt for road trips to the in-laws. Being a lurker on these boards for a long time you guys have answered 99.9% of my questions to bring me to this point. This is just the last one that I finally needed to create an account to answer.

If not does anyone live in the Norfolk, VA area, and willing to recieve a free charge on their Leaf? :lol: There were 3 of them at Revenge of the Electric car, so I know there are some. I thank you guys in advance for answers. Look forward to hopefully joining the ranks of Leaf owners in the near future.

Edit: Just wanted to add I know the car doesn't take 7 hours to charge everytime. Just was saying as a comparison.. Usually only takes 40-50 minutes to recharge my Volt after a drive to work getting 4mi/kwh.. So hopefully with the Leaf getting 5-6mi/kwh it will reduce my charge time some as well if it charges at the same rate.
Steve
2012 Cayenne Red Leaf SL #16790
2016 Chevrolet Volt LT Kinetic Blue
Turned in: 2012 Chevy Volt #2395

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abasile
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Location: Arrowbear Lake, CA

Re: Using my Voltec charger on a Leaf?

Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:18 pm

Welcome to the forum! It appears you'd be selling the Prius and purchasing the LEAF. A LEAF/Volt combo would be pretty cool! (LEAF+Prius can be a good combo if you don't always need two cars every day, and do lots of long trips.)

Using a different EVSE would not speed up the recharge time for the LEAF; standard Level 2 charging maxes out at 3.3 kW on the 2011/2012 LEAF.

While the Voltec EVSE should be compatible with the LEAF, and would be if it correctly adheres to the J-1772 standard, someone else will have to give you a definitive answer. I wouldn't let that be a make or break issue, though. You could always charge at 240 V with a modified Nissan EVSE if need be.
2011 LEAF at 71K miles, pre-owned 2012 Tesla S 85 at 98K miles
LEAF battery: 9/12 bars and < 49 Ah (-28% vs. new)
Tesla battery: 250+ miles of range (-5% vs. new)

Roadburner440
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:42 pm
Location: Hampton, VA

Re: Using my Voltec charger on a Leaf?

Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:29 pm

Yeah.. Well the more me and my wife drive the Volt we realize it is basically the same thing as the Prius, but better. So it would be wise to replace the Prius with something better than the Volt. It really wasn't a thought that crossed our minds till recently cause she took over a management job (she hasn't worked in a few years and been a stay at home mom).. So the Prius was kind of an every now and again venture so it was not a big deal.

So now that she is going back to work she will be driving everyday. Her commute is longer than mine (mine is 20.2, and hers is somewhere around 26 miles on I-64). So ideally the Volt would then become what the Prius was, and the Leaf would be for longer ventures than the Volt could attain on EV mode.

It's not necessarily a deal breaker. Just more curiosity of how much farther off from 7 hour rate it could/would be. Cause basically we would be sharing a charger which would work great. When all of us are home we all take 1 car anyway, and our work schedules are staggered such that the one leaving first can re-plug in the others EV.. Then I get home about 2 hours before she does so either car would theoretically be topped off by the time the other one arrives. That answers my question though. So it recharges at the same max rate the Volt does.. I have seen you guys kicking the idea back and forth about 3.3/6.6 charging so was not sure. I know the Focus is supposed to do 6.6.. So the 2011's are kind of the undesirables now if you will. The one I am looking at is their demo that was released for sale I guess in December? I think it would work out for them and me. They would have a car they can sell to an average person, and I would get a decent deal on a Leaf.

So it would be a good deal, would lower our monthly payment and more than half our fuel costs. The Volt already halves the Prius costs at about $0.03 a mile. Cause for the month with the Volt I stand at $14.02 over 420 miles for the month (including $1.44 in gas that we used yesterday, darn gas).. So not really looking forward to doing regular fill ups on the Prius. Once every few months was fine, but would rather be like the Volt and just do $25-$30 a month instead of $40-$50 a month with the uncertainty of what will gas prices be from month to month. Seems like they are heading nowhere but up.
Steve
2012 Cayenne Red Leaf SL #16790
2016 Chevrolet Volt LT Kinetic Blue
Turned in: 2012 Chevy Volt #2395

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Ingineer
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Re: Using my Voltec charger on a Leaf?

Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:54 pm

Yes, the Voltec EVSE (in my opinion) is not the best out there, but it will correctly charge the current Leaf without problems and near the maximum input rate possible. (3.84kW)

This unit is made by Lear, and they chose to skimp on the wire size used, which will create higher loss than many other models. However, this being said, I do not think you need to replace it.

-Phil
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surfingslovak
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Re: Using my Voltec charger on a Leaf?

Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:58 pm

abasile wrote: While the Voltec EVSE should be compatible with the LEAF, and would be if it correctly adheres to the J-1772 standard, someone else will have to give you a definitive answer.
I have a Voltec L2 EVSE and been using it with the Leaf for six months now. It does get a bit warm, but it's been smooth sailing so far.

Rusty
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Re: Using my Voltec charger on a Leaf?

Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:16 pm

Ingineer wrote:Yes, the Voltec EVSE (in my opinion) is not the best out there, but it will correctly charge the current Leaf without problems and near the maximum input rate possible. (3.84kW)
Do you happen to know what the maximum current advertised by the Voltec is? Is it 15 amps (which'll give 3.6kW@240V and 3.3kW@220V), 13.75 amps (which'll give 3.3kW@240V), or what? It'd be nice to know what it does for 208V users...

Roadburner440
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:42 pm
Location: Hampton, VA

Re: Using my Voltec charger on a Leaf?

Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:21 pm

surfingslovak wrote:
abasile wrote: While the Voltec EVSE should be compatible with the LEAF, and would be if it correctly adheres to the J-1772 standard, someone else will have to give you a definitive answer.
I have a Voltec L2 EVSE and been using it with the Leaf for six months now. It does get a bit warm, but it's been smooth sailing so far.
Thanks. So it gets warm.. Not sure how many of you guys hang out on the other hybrid/Volt forums but I had this issue with my L1 EVSE in the volt. I had it plugged in to an EZ Kill-A-Watt meter for about a week (against owners manual recommendations) and it actually melted the kill-a-watt meter to the plug. So when I installed the Voltec L2 I was very paranoid of this, and checked it for about the first 2 weeks with my laser temp gauge for heat build up. It has always been cool to the touch for me as well, so my L1 is strictly for backup. A lot of Volt owners have the Nissan units and like them. Buying the car just for that is obviously very extreme, but for me it is an added bonus. Heat build up in the system certaintly concerns me though. I have had no issues with the unit itself. Did you use 10 gauge wiring for your system hookup? I read the instructions which called for 12, but I installed 10 because I wanted to be sure I had more than enough capacity in the wiring to avoid heat build up.

I know what you mean by skimping on stuff inside. I am going to do my inside inspection to check everything, and I should take some pictures. Is almost nothing in there, and most of the stuff looks like it is made from teflon, or cheap plastic. For $520 shipped though I am very pleased. Especially after seeing some of the other L2 units out there on display in Lowes/Home Depot I think the Voltec unit just plain looks cool.

I calculate my losses right now to be about 15%ish.. I was calculating them at 20%, but my last few power bills since the move have not been to far off the mark from my excel spreadsheets. When we were living in Florida I paid to rent a garage in my complex for the Volt, and the electricity was theres so I really did not have a cost to point to it. Hence the EZ meter melting to my L1 cord as I was trying to quantify the costs. Since we moved to VA however and have a house now been getting the electric bill, and it seems right on the money. Normally we use 800-900kwh for ourselves, and the car has been using about 270-300kwh as we put around 1,000 miles on the Volt a month.
Steve
2012 Cayenne Red Leaf SL #16790
2016 Chevrolet Volt LT Kinetic Blue
Turned in: 2012 Chevy Volt #2395

Roadburner440
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:42 pm
Location: Hampton, VA

Re: Using my Voltec charger on a Leaf?

Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:24 pm

Rusty wrote:
Ingineer wrote:Yes, the Voltec EVSE (in my opinion) is not the best out there, but it will correctly charge the current Leaf without problems and near the maximum input rate possible. (3.84kW)
Do you happen to know what the maximum current advertised by the Voltec is? Is it 15 amps (which'll give 3.6kW@240V and 3.3kW@220V), 13.75 amps (which'll give 3.3kW@240V), or what? It'd be nice to know what it does for 208V users...
The Volt can only charge at a maximum of 240V@15A.. Which recharges 12.9kwh into my car (really 10.3kwh, but I factor in the line loss) in about 3 hours 15-30 minutes.. So it is somewhere around the 3.3 maximum, and I think that is all the EVSE is designed to handle. I know the Volt and Voltec talk to each other.. So I guess what we need to find out is does the Leaf talk it it in the same way? Since the Voltec is hard wired I have no clue how to read the wires (guess I could use my multi-meter, but in the main box I would be very nervous).. The charger itself according to the SPX website is 240V@15A.. So I just assumed that is what the Volt charged at. I definately have 240 volts. Guess we just need to figure how many amps I am pulling down.
Steve
2012 Cayenne Red Leaf SL #16790
2016 Chevrolet Volt LT Kinetic Blue
Turned in: 2012 Chevy Volt #2395

Roadburner440
Posts: 279
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:42 pm
Location: Hampton, VA

Re: Using my Voltec charger on a Leaf?

Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:26 pm

Says here in the brochure it is 208/240@15 amps.. Taking 240@16A input power... So it means it can actually charge the Leaf at 3.6? Which would explain why the other guy says it gets kind of hot, and mine isn't with the Volt because I am not drawing max power. That is some good news then.
Steve
2012 Cayenne Red Leaf SL #16790
2016 Chevrolet Volt LT Kinetic Blue
Turned in: 2012 Chevy Volt #2395

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Ingineer
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Re: Using my Voltec charger on a Leaf?

Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:36 pm

Both the portable L1 EVSE and the wall-mount 240v Level II are both made by Lear, and are both marginally constructed with higher losses than I would consider acceptable, which is why there is so much heat.

The Level II advertises a 15A Pilot signal, which means it's going to limit power a little to the Leaf, as the leaf can pull up to 3.84kW and the voltec will only "authorize" 3.6kW provided it's connected to 240v. This is compounded by the losses, such that only 3.4-3.5kW "makes" it to the Leaf, thus limiting it's output to around 3kW. However efficiency aside, this is still more than adequate for overnight use.

You can always plug the Volt into 120V Level I for overnight if you don't want to bother having to swap cords.

I suspect the melting you experienced with the Kill-A-Watt is half the EVSE's and half the K-A-W's fault. Pulling 12 amps continuously is going to be hard on the K-A-W, to obvious results.

Once you get your Leaf, I can upgrade your Level I cord that comes with the Leaf to level II, and it will have a lot less loss than the Voltec unit. The cost for this is under $300. Other forum members can chime in on how well it works, as most of them have it. See link below for more information.

-Phil
Easily Learn Electricity HERE! - - - - Website: http://evseupgrade.com/[/size] - - - - Like us on Facebook: EVSE Upgrade

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