Is Level 2 Charger Worthwhile?

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by jasbar2, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. mitch672

    mitch672 Technology Geek

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    1,077
    197
    0
    Location:
    Randolph, MA
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Model:
    N/A
    If your GFCI outlet trips multiple times, it may be too sensitive, you could try 2 things at that point: replace the outlet with a new GFCI, or plug the EVSE into a non-GFCI protected outlet.

    I have not seen the PiP EVSE, but if it has a "reset" button on it, it probably contains a GFCI itself.
    Some of the EVSEs have a self resetting GFCI built in as well

    You might notice a very short cable from the body of the EVSE controll box, to the AC plug, that would then be the only part of the cable that's not GFCI protected, which is also why they tell you not to use extension cords as well (as any wiring before the EVSE control box would not be GFI protected, and most people would not use the correct gauge extension cord as well)
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    720
    564
    3
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    On 240v your PiP will charge over twice as fast as on 120v, which also means you save electricity. There is no significant delta-T rise in the battery from these relatively low wattages, so you aren't extending your battery life by only charging on 120v. (The reason it's over twice as fast and saves power is due to the large fixed overhead while charging. This is almost 200 watts regardless of input power) Toyota would not recommend the installation of a Level II EVSE if it harmed the battery!

    We are upgrading the Toyota-Branded Panasonic EVSE that ships with the PiP to universal voltage capability. This will allow your unit to operate up to 2.88kW max. (12a 240v) The cost for this is $239 + shipping. The unit will then function on any outlet in the world (with appropriate adapter) and auto-detect the voltage. The total output power depends on the voltage. (volts X 12 = kW) You can also purchase an additional unit from the dealership and we can upgrade that one so you have have one in your garage and one with you for opportunity charging.

    While not as affordable, we can sell you an upgraded Nissan-Branded (easy to cover the logo up) unit also made by Panasonic that will work on 240v as well as 120v and is capable of the full rate the PiP can charge at. (3.84kW when connected to 240v!) This unit is extremely well built and will even survive being driven over. We have found them to be the most reliable and rugged units out there, especially when compared to some of the larger, more complicated wall-mount units. Many EV Project participants have our unit simply as a back-up for their Leafs in case the Ecotality/Blink unit quits, which has happened more times than I can possibly count.

    [​IMG]

    If you desire faster charging, but don't want the hassle and expense of a permanently installed charge station, this is a good alternative. You can either have a local electrician install a NEMA L6-20 outlet (20A) or use a "Quick220" and not have to have any electrical work done at all while still enjoying fast and safe 240 charging. This is also a good solution to opportunity charging when visiting friends/relatives.

    If you are considering not going with Level II and are just going to keep using the supplied unit on 120v, I *highly* recommend you at least have a dedicated circuit installed with a Spec-grade outlet. Also provide a way to secure the unit to the wall so it doesn't hang from the plug. There are many residential outlets out there in garages that were low-quality to begin with, and many are wired with the rear "stab-lock" method and daisy-chained. In many cases this can put you at risk for fire! One of the reasons we upgrade our units to the twist-lock NEMA L6-20 is for good low resistance contact without heat build up. The locking design also insures it wont pull out and arc.

    See our website for more information and ordering.

    -Phil
     
    4 people like this.
  3. psusi

    psusi Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    32
    7
    0
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    What?! What the hell is wasting all that power?

    Another thing I don't understand is this nonsense it appears that everyone but Tesla is doing with having a low power dedicated on board charger in the first place. You already have a high power on board charger: the very same inverter that normally drives the motor!

    You just need to connect it to the mains instead of the motor and it can recharge the battery just like it does when regenerative breaking.
     
  4. adric22

    adric22 Ev and Hybrid Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    641
    142
    2
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    As for the original post... I tried using the included L1 charger with my Leaf for a few weeks when I first got it. It was a big hassle to always unplug it in the morning, neatly roll it back up, and store it in the back of the car. Then when I returned home, I'd have to take it back out, unroll it, etc. So I went with the L2 for sheer convenience.

    However, in the case of the PiP, I don't see why you couldn't just leave the L1 at home and mount it to the wall. After all, it isn't like you might need to charge it up in an emergency like us all-electric folks might have to do. (although after 1 year of driving, this has never happened to me) And being that it only takes 3 hours for a full charge, I don't see why you really would need it to be faster.

    In many ways you could argue that not needing an L2 for the PiP can be factored into the cost difference between the Leaf and the PiP.
     
  5. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    15,715
    5,676
    54
    Location:
    South OC So Cal & Nashville, TN
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    First of all, the charger is NOT the portable plug. The charger is built into the PiP. More importantly, the portable L1 plug is simply a pass through device. You don't void your car's warranty, by using a non-toyota L1 plug - nor by charging through a modified plug, nor do you loose your PiP warranty by using a portable plug that has been modded to use a switching power supply that can deliver 120v -208v - 240v. You will void the warranty on the portable L1 plug only. But not the warranty on the PiP.

    .
     
  6. 9G-man

    9G-man Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    1,273
    190
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    In a nutshell, the Prius inverter deals with HIGH VOLTAGE from/to the traction battery, the PiP charger deals with LOW VOLTAGE from a wall socket

    First of all .....the motor/generators in the Prius are AC, the battery is DC, the inverter's job is to make the HIGH VOLTAGE DC~AC conversion to run the car. And a HIGHVOLTAGE AC~DC conversion back to the battery during regen.

    The battery is basically meant to discharge at a higher rate, than charge, for longevity purposes. A cordless Prius is programmed to care for the battery in that way.

    Thus the "lower power" charger in a plug-in Prius. The chargers job is to transform and regulate LOW VOLTAGE AC power (from the wall) into DC power to charge the batteries. There is a loss there especially at 120v. 240V is much more efficient. In the end, it all comes down to the watts available to the charger and you get more watts more easily at 240v. But the chargers job is use LOW VOLTAGE socket power to charge and protect the battery for longevity.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    3,523
    2,026
    0
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    Phil,
    Why don't you talk to Danny and see if he'll offer those through the PriusChat store? If you get a few units into the hands of members for purchase or review, and they're well-received, you and Danny should be able to sell a bunch.
     
  8. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    15,715
    5,676
    54
    Location:
    South OC So Cal & Nashville, TN
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    I've already given a review. I've charged the PiP using pEEf's rev II mod'ed EVSE for the Leaf. It's capable of delivering more wattage than the portable Toyota version. It'll charge at 120v - 208v or 240v. It's a WAY better deal than buying a hardwired EVSE - which may likely require installing an additional breaker / feed line into your main service panel. And used with the 'quick220' - you can easily get 240v at a friend's/relative's house which means a quick refill, if you're just staying for 90 minutes or so. I always recommend pEEf's products ... in a heart beat . . . 3 thumbs up.
    :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
     
    2 people like this.
  9. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    720
    564
    3
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    This is not possible due to the lack of galvanic isolation. There must be a transformer between the Prius HV system and the grid. The easiest/cheapest way to do this is to use a switch-mode type converter. AC Propulsion pioneered the use of existing on-board inverter switching and motor windings for charging, but the lack of isolation would never pass UL listing.

    -Phil
     
  10. pfile

    pfile Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    319
    35
    0
    Location:
    bay area, ca
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    hey phil, are you sure the PIP charger will pull 3.84KW? when i plug into my L2 (blink) the car reports that it's charging at 1.9KW.
     
  11. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    720
    564
    3
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I am not stocking the Toyota units, and the cost of doing so is high. (Toyota wants a good amount of $ for them!) The prime method is for us to upgrade the one that comes with your PiP, so you would send us that unit, and we upgrade it and send it right back. I'd be happy to offer this service through Danny, but I don't think he wants to offer services as much, he wants stocking products. Plus, he's so busy as it is!

    We do however stock the Nissan branded Panasonic units in both 12A (2.88kW) and 16A (3.84kW) variants. We typically can have one to your hands in one or two days anywhere in California.

    -Phil
     
  12. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    720
    564
    3
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Where are you getting this figure from? Keep in mind the input and output figures differ due to efficiency and overhead losses. To be quite honest, I have only so far tested the prototype PiP, and not the final production models, so I can't with 100% certainty say what Toyota might have changed. As soon as I get my hands on a PiP, I'll by happy to run some tests and report my findings. Got time for a visit? :D

    Why is there so much difference between input power consumption and what's actually stored in the battery? This is primarily the nature of energy conversion. There are always losses, and since the incoming AC power is first converted into DC (loss), then converted back into a high-frequency (loss), then into magnetic energy (loss), then back to high frequency (loss), then into high-voltage DC (loss), then into chemical energy in the battery (loss). No to mention all the general losses such as wiring/connectors. We also have a lot of overhead, such as cooling systems to remove the undesired byproduct of all these losses; HEAT! The contactors, fans, ECU's, power supplies, etc, all also consume a fixed amount.

    If you have instrumentation, such as a scangauge, you can easily see this going on while charging, and also just while the car is ready but idle.

    -Phil
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. pfile

    pfile Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    319
    35
    0
    Location:
    bay area, ca
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    on the VFD in the dash it reports the charger power while it's charging. i have no idea where they are measuring this power but you are right, it could be at the battery in which case there are lots of losses upstream.

    still even if it's say, 70% efficient end to end, 1.9KW is only 2.7KW at the wall. i think when the leaf is pulling 3.3KW that the wall power is something like 3.7KW, right? if i remember correctly that's what the coulomb EVSEs report when they are charging the leaf.


    earlier today i used a chargepoint in emeryville and coulomb reports the following: 0.88kwh in 37min, so that's an average of 1.43kw at the wall. i noticed that the car seemed to be changing the power all over the place which was surprising since the battery was 1/2 full when i started the charge. the OAT was something like 49 degrees F. can't imagine the battery was getting super hot but who knows. the battery pack fan was not running.

    i can come by, i live pretty close (rockridge)


    i do have a scangauge - i keep meaning to hook it up. only doubt is if i need a firmware upgrade to make it work right with the PIP... have been meaning to ask that. or maybe i just have to punch in some X-gauges ?
     
  14. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    720
    564
    3
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    The Leaf pulls up to 3.8kW and at that level you typically see 3.1 into the battery (average)

    I am surprised you are only seeing about 1.4kW from the chargpoint. That is the exact figure I'd expect to see on 120v! (limited to 12a) I wonder if you've got a problem?

    -Phil
     
  15. pfile

    pfile Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    319
    35
    0
    Location:
    bay area, ca
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    do not know, i guess others with L2 chargers will have to report their power. the car reported 1.9KW when attached to the blink. of course it was crashing all over the place so i don't know if it ever reported the charge to the blink servers. i need to check that.
     
  16. ryogajyc

    ryogajyc Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    985
    161
    0
    Location:
    Reseda, CA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    pfile is reporting 1.9kW which appears to be the limit of the Prius Plug-in charger. This is consistent with ~2.7kWh usable capacity and Toyota's specification for the Prius Plug-in to recharge in ~1.5 hours @ 240V.

    2.7kWh / 1.9kW = 1.42 hours

    From Toyota's Prius Plug-in Specs (click MPG):
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. drees

    drees Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    1,778
    246
    0
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Yep - so far everything I've seen indicates that the PiP draws 12A whether or not plugged into 120 or 240V.
     
  18. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    15,715
    5,676
    54
    Location:
    South OC So Cal & Nashville, TN
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    A bunch of our family rented a house in Laguna Beach yesterday and "oportunity charging" is EXACTLY what we did. By good fortune, the home's garage had two 120v receptacles (each from opposite service panel legs) RIGHT next to each other.

    [​IMG]

    I have never seen opposite 120V legs located so close together before! We got to snake about 10kWh's of 240V while visiting there, which takes about 11kWh from the wall (loss is even higher via 120v btw). If we hadn't had our quick220 with us, we wouldn't have been able to recharged any where near that much, with the bit of time we were visiting. It's GOOD to have options.
    ;)
    That little adapter cord we have tethered to the main cable is strictly for charging off a standard 120V receptacle ... but pEEf's modified EVSE feeds right into the twist lock 16 amp quick220. Having made up adapters, I could of used the 240V dryer plug (you see in the picture) to feed the modified EVSE too ... only it was disconnected. Yep ... good to have options.
    .
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. pEEf

    pEEf Engineer - EV nut

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2010
    720
    564
    3
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Then this means that our 12A 240V upgrade to the stock PiP charge cord for $238 is all you need for maximum charging speed. (Or our Rev1 Nissan unit)

    That will pit the PiP max kW consumption at 2.88kW on 240v.

    -Phil
     
  20. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    15,715
    5,676
    54
    Location:
    South OC So Cal & Nashville, TN
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Why in the world would Toyota limit charging like that? The traction pack's discharge rate is a whole heck of a lot more than 2.8kW. If true, it makes no sense.

    .
     
Loading...