A welcome Christmas gift for current and future PHEV/BEV charging. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – December 27, 2019 2012 Toyota Prius PHEV-11 Charging on a MUSTART 40A L2 EVSE Charging Cable Just $359.00 on Amazon. MUSTART, a name you may have never heard of, has quietly become one of the best off the shelf high current L2 charging solutions for the home. Founded in 2017, the company created its first charging product for electric car owners making ownership easier and less costly while providing the ability to travel the country without the hassle of charging on someone’s L1 120V outlet slowing your charging time down from hours to days in many cases. Since that time, MUSTART has focused its R&D on a series of varying power level portable chargers for electric vehicles with high quality and budget friendly offerings. The MUSTART brands all-new Version 2 L2 240V/40A EVSE plug, control box, charging cable, and vehicle connector. Over its short almost three years of existence, they have continuously improved product quality with better fitting SAE J1772 Connectors, measurable improvement in waterproof ratings, more precise power measurement, and more efficient and higher power handling hardware. In the few e-mails I have sent to the team at MUSTART, they have answered questions promptly indicating the company’s after-sales service is more than just prose on a page but instead is truly responsive. MUSTART Brand Charging Cable details in the included Manual. Does anyone remember our Kia Soul + BEV review we performed back in 2016? Besides the lack of or inability to plug-in at L2 stations in North San Diego county, 21-hours to charge from 32 percent to full on a L1 120V household outlet at 1 kW was simply untenable. This provides the impetus for a longer-range PHEV and especially BEV owner to have 240V, 10 to 80 Amp charging capability within their home. What is Level 2 charging? Level 2 charging is based on 240V from a charging station on the road or from a high current rated plug within your home. Most installed Level 2 charging stations on the road max out at just 6.6 kW which for a BEV is excruciating providing as little as 13 miles of range per hour depending on your BEVs efficiency. SAE J1772 Level 2 charging allows for a wide range of charging power from 2.2 kW at just under 10 Amps all the way up to 19.2 kW at 80 Amps. An L2 can be setup within your home on the same circuit that an electric dryer or oven uses with the proper rated outlets or hardwired, 3-wire and gauge wiring, and your homes Load Center circuit breaker(s). The first 11-mile AER Prius PHEV only had a 2.2 kW onboard charger, about twice that of a simple Level 1 120V plug and takes just under 1.5 hours from flat to full. The current 25-mile AER range Prius Prime includes a 3.3 kWh unit as does the first gen 74-mile AER Leaf and first gen 38-mile AER Volt’s with home L2 charging taking up to 2.5 hours for the Prime, 3.3 hours for the first gen Volt, and 7.25 hours for the first gen Leaf. The Prius PHEV communicated with the charging cable box that it can only take 2.2 kW so that is what was supplied. Back to the review… So what does EVSE stand for? Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment and its function is to supply electric energy to recharge PHEVs and BEVs. EVSEs are also known as EV charging stations. EVSE is a protocol that keeps your PHEV/BEV and your home/person safe from overcharging with higher than rated current, voltage, power, and provides auto disconnect from the initial plug-in communication to the completed charging... The built-in auto disconnect protocol prevents current from flowing when the charger is not connected or improperly connected to your PHEV/BEV. L2 Home Charing Requirement Details But first, what do you need in your home for a L2 charging cable or dedicated wallbox? Just because you have a 240V outlet to your dryer or oven does not mean you can buy a high current charging cable, plug it in, and you are good to go. Most home 240V outlets are based on 30-Amps and thus are run off a 10-gauge 3-wire Romex or wire through conduit back to an individual 30A circuit breaker in your home’s breaker box or load center. Most plug-in type charging cables use the NEMA 14-50P plug which is the most used standard for L2 home Charging. If for example your home was equipped with a NEMA 10-30R Dryer outlet as mine was, you may have to swap out that plug for the NEMA 14-50R that is compatible with your charging cable and box. NEMA 10-30R (left) vs NEMA 14-50R (right) home receptacles. If the 3-wire bundle running from the plug to the breaker is 10-Gauge, the “system” including plug, copper wire, and breaker, is only rated for up to 30A, 7.2 kW charging. I was also lucky that the 3-wire back to the breaker was 8-gauge copper. 8-gauge copper wiring allows the “system” to support 40A, 9.6 kW charging. That is the limit of the NEMA 14-50R receptacle as running 50 Amps though the NEMA 14-50R is at its current handling limit. This is where we are all at currently with a maximum of 9.6 kW charging from a standard 240V wall receptacle. MUSTART L2 40A EV Charger w/ 25ft of Cable and NEMA 14-50 Plug and Receptacle Freshly mounted and ready for first use. Hardwiring with a dedicated and mounted high power charger/wall box with 4 or 6-gauge copper wiring (75A or 55A) allows charging at 16.8 kW and 13.2 kW. I do not know if anyone has run 2-gauge 3-wire into some special type of 95A dedicated charging box for 22.8 kW beyond J1772 L2 charging spec into a Tesla but I am sure it has been tried. Moving back to reality, if any of you have ever run 8-gauge 3-wire, it is like running and bending metal pipe! 4 and 6-gauge wiring needs special tools just to bend, cut and strip the damn stuff as it is so thick and heavy! In the future, I can almost guarantee dedicated and hardwired charging boxes will be connected with 2-gauge wiring and 100-A breakers for sky high charging rates. What does 2.2 to 19.6 kW L2 charging mean? Let us assume your future EV can be charged from an SAE J1772 L2 plug. If your PHEV/BEV is rated at between 3 and 4-miles/kWh, charging rates can be related to miles of range per hour like this. At an efficiency of 3 to 4 miles/kWh, the following charging power yields the following miles of range added per hour. Level 1 120V – 3 to 4 miles of range/hour Level 2 240V Charging at various kW and miles per hour 2.2 kW – 6.6 to 8.8 miles of range/hour 3.3 kW – 9.9 to 13.2 miles of range/hour 6.6 kW – 19.8 to 26.4 miles of range/hour 7.2 kW – 21.6 to 28.8 miles of range/hour 9.6 kW – 28.8 to 38.4 miles of range/hour Do you see why if your BEV has an onboard 9.6 kWh charger that you would want to plug it into a 9.6 kW L2 home charging cable vs a 3.3 kW one? MUSTART My first use of the MUSTART 40A charging cable on my son’s Prius PHEV-11 proved to be excellent! Initial plug-in to the wall, 37-sec after plugging into the car, and fully charged w/ 2.308 kWh in 1 hr, 19-min, and 34 sec, < 1/2 the time of a 120V L1 charge! To reset the display back to 0, you will have to un-plug in which case, all memory is lost. I left it plugged in over the past 24-hours and the display continues to show the last readings as shown directly above. The MUSTART L2 40A Charging cable and control box came from Amazon for $359.00. With Electrical code stating that a 240V receptacles Neutral must be oriented up – I am not sure why; I mounted the control box upside down with the cabling running straight from the receptacle outlet to the control box vs an S-Loop mounting configuration. It allows the full 25’ of cabling to be used for reaching a variety of vehicles charge ports from the wall. We plan to have a number of PHEVs and BEVs here for review and the MUSTART EVSE cable will allow that to occur with little additional effort other than parking inside my garage to orient a given vehicles charge port close to the charge port itself. Competitors 40A L2 charging cable products currently cost anywhere from $330 to $699. The less expensive units provide little in the way of charging details and what appears to be sub-standard construction vs the MUSTART 40A L2 2nd version. More expensive units include Wi-Fi comms in order to remotely monitor charging kW, Amperage, energy throughput from plug-in to review, and when charging is complete in real time. The details I am interested in are held within the MUSTART display as shown from initial charging to completion and the $140 to $340 in my pocket vs remotely monitoring was a plus in my book. So yes, I am very happy that this 40A EVSE mounted on my wall performed exactly as advertised and you will see it in numerous reviews going forward.