Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

Which of these charger (plus their corresponding apps) options would you recommend?

  • ChargeMaster

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • PodPoint

    Votes: 1 20.0%
  • Zappi v2

    Votes: 3 60.0%
  • EO

    Votes: 1 20.0%
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
2021 BMW 530e
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I'm new to the forum, waiting for the imminent delivery of a first PHEV (I can't quite bring myself to make the leap to a full EV just yet - maybe my next car...).

While my PHEV is limited to 3.6kW charge rate (12kWh capacity), I'm 'future proofing' and making use of the OLEV grant while it still exists, to get a 7,2kW charger installed. But there is obviously quite a choice, and I really don't know how to choose between them. How do I choose the 'best'?

I think I've narrowed it down to 4 options; PodPoint, ChargeMaster, Zappi v2 and EO.

I need at least an 8m cable, so I think that rules out tethered chargers. I like the idea of a curved box that allows the cable to be stored around it when not in use, although the EO is small enough that I could add a separate 'hose pipe' hook next to it, instead.

The car offers a 'departure time' setting which I assume will hold-off charging for a while, but I am looking for a electricity supply tariff (I'm with Octopus already) for advantageous off-peak pricing, so I guess I need the charger to take care of actual charging times for me. I'm thinking that all of these options can do this, probably via a smartphone app, but I've no idea well these actually work.

Any well known issues with any of these chargers that I should be aware of? Or huge benefits?

Finally, I was intending to get a 32A 10m cable for future-proofing, even though I know the car will only need a 16A cable. The prices look very similar. Is this acceptable, or should I stick to a cable exactly matched to the car? I'm planning on leaving it at the house, so the weight of the cable won't be a problem.

Sorry for the ramble! All opinions welcome! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
Hi,

Welcome to the forum.

A reply to 2 parts of your question - presuming 530e is similar to 330e.
I'm calling the wall box an EVSE to clarify as the charger in the car manages everything.

Off-peak charging - this is all done by the car so no need for any intelligence in the EVSE.
Charging starts at the off-peak start time as long as it can get to 100% by the departure time. Off-peak end is ignored - so the car will continue charging using peak until 100% - 4hrs on GO should cover most of the charge. You can change these settings via the Idrive in car or the app.
If you do public charging you need to switch car to immediate, then back to timed when you are at home as there is no 'one time' override - the charging socket shows a solid blue ( timed ) or flashing blue ( immediate ) after handshaking.
Don't bother with the on-line BMW charging website, the car manages the charging and sends the data to the website for reporting which I sometimes found to be wrong.

Cable - 32A cable is fine, I use a 32A 5m one.
Edit - As far as I understand the EVSE/Cable combination sets the maximum current available ( 32A with a 7KW EVSE ) but your car only draws 16A that is all it will take.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Zappi is prob best, followed by the EO and Podpoint. Ultimately they all do the basic same job, provide juice for the car. The Zappi has extra functionality if you have solar etc.

I went for a pod point as i managed to snag one cheap, its the model that doesnt need the earth rod. I tried to go down the grant route, but the prices i was getting quoted for a fairly simple install were way more than I was prepared to pay, as im not going to get real gains with a PHEV. I went down the used PP route and did alot of the work myself and got a spark in to do the final testing and hook up. That cost me £350 vs the £750 i was being quoted by the EVSE specialist.
 

·
Registered
2021 BMW 530e
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies...

A reply to 2 parts of your question - presuming 530e is similar to 330e.
I'm calling the wall box an EVSE to clarify as the charger in the car manages everything.
OK, so the car's scheduling capabilities are at least on a par with the chargers. That's good to know I don't need to worry too much about the charger's capabilities.

Off-peak charging - this is all done by the car so no need for any intelligence in the EVSE.
Charging starts at the off-peak start time as long as it can get to 100% by the departure time. Off-peak end is ignored - so the car will continue charging using peak until 100% - 4hrs on GO should cover most of the charge. You can change these settings via the Idrive in car or the app.
Excellent. That explains how the pre-warming, etc, will still work without breaking the scheduling. I was thinking if I set a departure time if 9am, say, that it might not start charging until after the off-peak tariff had already finished. I guess I really need the car to play with to see how it all actually works!

If you do public charging you need to switch car to immediate, then back to timed when you are at home as there is no 'one time' override - the charging socket shows a solid blue ( timed ) or flashing blue ( immediate ) after handshaking.
Not really expecting to be doing a lot of public charging (I'll leave the chargers free for the pure EVs who really need them!), although occasional at-work charging might be useful. Thanks for the advice. Maybe a 'one-shot override' will be a future feature...

Cable - 32A cable is fine, I use a 32A 5m one.
Edit - As far as I understand the EVSE/Cable combination sets the maximum current available ( 32A with a 7KW EVSE ) but your car only draws 16A that is all it will take.
Thanks for confirming. That makes sense, and of course there's no physical reason why a larger cable isn't capable of carrying less current, but I wasn't sure whether the handshaking insisted cables were exactly matched for some $$$-making reason. :)
 

·
Registered
2021 BMW 530e
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Zappi is prob best, followed by the EO and Podpoint. Ultimately they all do the basic same job, provide juice for the car. The Zappi has extra functionality if you have solar etc.
I notice ChargeMaster is missing from your list... Ironically, BP are the only installer that's actually come back to be with a proposed installation date so far, but I'm in two minds about finding a huge company like BP, or an smaller company. If I'm not losing out on any significant capability by ignoring BP, then I'm all for that.

I don't (yet) have PVs, but that is a possible reason to opt for the Zappi. I also like the idea of the status display. The charge port on my car will be out of sight, so being able to check this on the charger might be useful, although I guess the car and/or charger app will let me check this too.

As a matter of interest, I see the ChargeMaster base has a key switch on it. How do other chargers avoid unauthorised users from plugging in and stealing your juice (or removing an untethered cable)? I assume it's managed via the app or something? Not really a problem for me as the charger is behind a locked gate, but I'm curious as it must be a problem for some.

I went for a pod point as i managed to snag one cheap, its the model that doesnt need the earth rod. I tried to go down the grant route, but the prices i was getting quoted for a fairly simple install were way more than I was prepared to pay, as im not going to get real gains with a PHEV. I went down the used PP route and did alot of the work myself and got a spark in to do the final testing and hook up. That cost me £350 vs the £750 i was being quoted by the EVSE specialist.
Hmmm, interesting thought. Tempting to take a similar approach... £750 is quite a lot higher than I've seen banded around for even the more expensive Zappi box. Am I missing some hidden fees?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Chargemaster are fine, but they do need a earthrod to be installed, which adds to the install cost.

Cheapest quote i got was for a Wallbox e, that was £700, my install was fairly straightforward, 10m cable run into a seperate small consumer unit. Im fairly handy, so i did the donkey work of mounting the point and running the cable to the CU. I think ev chargers are far to expensive for what they do in reality, and installers are cashing in, the constant changing regs dont help either!
 

·
Registered
Zoe GT Line 2020
Joined
·
88 Posts
My Chargemaster, installed a week or so ago, hasn't got an Earth Rod.

There's an "Earth Rods" thread here somewhere,,,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,250 Posts
As a matter of interest, I see the ChargeMaster base has a key switch on it. How do other chargers avoid unauthorised users from plugging in and stealing your juice (or removing an untethered cable)? I assume it's managed via the app or something? Not really a problem for me as the charger is behind a locked gate, but I'm curious as it must be a problem for some.
Realistically this is a non-issue, albeit one that pops up now and then by new owners. The parking spot is very likely far more valuable than the stealable electricity in the vast majority of cases. Its very unlikely someones going to steal your drive way, and sit there for many hours, slowly charging up their EV from your wallbox which dispenses about 50p worth of electricity per hour...

Some scrotes stealing the cable is a potential issue in some areas, the usual approach i've seen for that is for people to install a metal D ring on the wall and padlock the cable to it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Good idea to go future proof, especially as you think you might get an full EV in the future. I can't see many new models being limited to 3.3kW as battery capacity increases.

Go for a 32A cable with a 32A charger. The unit detects the cable rating and then engages the right protection for the cable. Most 32A chargers only come with one protection device and one contactor so won't shouldn't work with a 16A cable.
 

·
Registered
2021 BMW 530e
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
My Chargemaster, installed a week or so ago, hasn't got an Earth Rod.
Yeah, they didn't say anything about needing an earth rod when they spoke to me and quoted their standard price, so I'd be a bit miffed if they suddenly sprung an extra few quid on the install for it. Maybe ChargeMaster have adopted some built-in PEN fault detection trickery recently.
 

·
Registered
2021 BMW 530e
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Realistically this is a non-issue, albeit one that pops up now and then by new owners. The parking spot is very likely far more valuable than the stealable electricity in the vast majority of cases. Its very unlikely someones going to steal your drive way, and sit there for many hours, slowly charging up their EV from your wallbox which dispenses about 50p worth of electricity per hour...
Fair point! I'd probably notice a car parked on my driveway,..

Some scrotes stealing the cable is a potential issue in some areas, the usual approach i've seen for that is for people to install a metal D ring on the wall and padlock the cable to it.
OK, but I need to do that myself. I believe the car locks the other end of the cable in place when in use, so I wondered if the chargers offered a similar locking mechanism. I guess not.
 

·
Registered
2021 BMW 530e
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Go for a 32A cable with a 32A charger. The unit detects the cable rating and then engages the right protection for the cable. Most 32A chargers only come with one protection device and one contactor so won't shouldn't work with a 16A cable.
I assumed it would work with a 16A cable, but only as a 3.6kW charger. I definitely wouldn't expect it to try and squirt 32A down a 16A cable. But as long as things work OK with the bigger cable charging my car at 3.6kW, then I'm happy. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
Excellent. That explains how the pre-warming, etc, will still work without breaking the scheduling. I was thinking if I set a departure time if 9am, say, that it might not start charging until after the off-peak tariff had already finished. I guess I really need the car to play with to see how it all actually works!
Yes - you need to play! I found the scheduled climate control wasted energy in the morning by kicking in too early for pre-heating, so disabled that and did it manually via the key fob 10 minutes before I left - still managed to defrost the windscreen on the cold winter mornings. Also can be started via the app to run the air-con if heading back to the car when parked in the summer. The remote pre-conditioning will work without the car being plugged in but obviously that will run down the battery.

I have had a quirk which only happened when the car had been sitting in a car park for 2 weeks when on holiday - as soon as I came home, and lugged it in, it started charging immediately although set for off-peak.

Thanks for confirming. That makes sense, and of course there's no physical reason why a larger cable isn't capable of carrying less current, but I wasn't sure whether the handshaking insisted cables were exactly matched for some $$$-making reason. :)
The system is designed to work out the weakest link in the system and throttle the current down to match - so no problem plugging a 16A cable into a 32A EVSE, or a 32A cable into a 16A EVSE, or even a single phase cable into a 3 phase public 22KW EVSE, it will all figure itself out.

Maybe a 'one-shot override' will be a future feature...
Your car is newer than mine so they may already have done something. I think the Leaf has a button by the charger port to demand an immediate charge, and the Mitsubishi Outlander uses GPS to determine if the car is at home and only use off-peak charging schedule at that location.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
I assumed it would work with a 16A cable, but only as a 3.6kW charger. I definitely wouldn't expect it to try and squirt 32A down a 16A cable. But as long as things work OK with the bigger cable charging my car at 3.6kW, then I'm happy. Thanks.
It will. There are three things a play:
  • Capacity of the charger to supply power;
  • Capacity of the cable to carry power; and
  • Capacity of the car to consume power.
The charger notifies the car how much power it can supply.
The cable tells the charger how much power it can carry. The charger then connects its socket to the right overcurrent device. This is done by the controller inside the charger having two separate feeds for two separate contractors. As most 32A chargers only have one contractor and one protection device, if the controller detects a 16A cable, it will try to operate the absent contractor and nothing will happen.
Finally the car will only draw as much current as it is offered by the charger.

32A cable is a good future proof but the latest cars are coming with Type 2 connectors so if your PHEV has a type 1, you’d likely have to get the connector replaced for a future EV.
 

·
Registered
2021 BMW 530e
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
That makes sense.

32A cable is a good future proof but the latest cars are coming with Type 2 connectors so if your PHEV has a type 1, you’d likely have to get the connector replaced for a future EV.
Type 2's all around (car and wall box), so I should be OK, there.

And thanks for the votes, guys. The Zappi looks like the most capable and recommended one, but the quote I've received is going to cost me nearly twice the price of the ChargeMaster. And as I don't have PVs, and I'm already with Octopus, I've decided to take them up on their deal to get the EO box at a few quid even cheaper than the ChargeMaster. That seems to work out quite nicely for a neat little box. But I do now need to find a tidy 'hose pipe' hook to store the cable when not in use. Amazon seem to have a few...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
As most 32A chargers only have one contractor and one protection device, if the controller detects a 16A cable, it will try to operate the absent contractor and nothing will happen.
Ah - is this a difference between home 32A chargers and public 32A chargers as a public charger should still work with a 16A cable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Ah - is this a difference between home 32A chargers and public 32A chargers as a public charger should still work with a 16A cable.
It should be. You’d be annoyed if you couldn’t use your 16A cable at a 32A public whereas at home, I guess most people have a cable to match the charger and so it doesn’t become a problem.
Good news of the Type 2s both ends, with that set up, you should be set for a good few years to come.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,222 Posts
Good idea to go future proof, especially as you think you might get an full EV in the future. I can't see many new models being limited to 3.3kW as battery capacity increases.

Go for a 32A cable with a 32A charger. The unit detects the cable rating and then engages the right protection for the cable. Most 32A chargers only come with one protection device and one contactor so won't shouldn't work with a 16A cable.
Dear Poster, are you just "making this up" or are quoting from an IEC or other specification. I have specified and installed many public charges and have never come across what you are describing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
It's in the IEC spec. I haven't checked but I think its 61851-1 clause 11. Unless I'm mistaken, that is why controllers have multiple feeds do drive multiple contactors. As shared previously on this forum, the Mainepine manual shows how this is used. Do you have an alternative explanation for why the Mainepine, in-tech smart charging and Rolec units can all drive more than one contactor? I've only seen one application in the manuals, have you seen another?

I have specified and installed many public charges and have never come across what you are describing.
How did you specification ensure compliance with regulation 433.2.1? That's standard electrical engineering practice, not even anything to do with EV charging.

Unless you are specifying the internal design of the charger (don't know why that would be necessary), you wouldn't necessarily see this. A compliant charger would have it and all you would need to do is specify that it is compliant.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top