As I sit here typing this in the near suburbs of Chicago, the wind chill is -50 and the governor has declared a state of emergency. More than one of my Volvo PHEV and Nissan LEAF buddies have asked me about charging their cars in this cold, and I was reminded of a sponsored post over at our sister site, EVO, about choosing a winter-ready home charging station.
With temperatures outside dropping fast, it’s time to think about how the cold will affect your EV charging station. The FLO Home Level 2 charging station will ensure you leave each morning fully charged, so you can make the most of your range all winter.
1. Get a Level 2 Charging Station
Most electric vehicles come with a 120V Level 1 charging station that you can plug into a standard wall outlet. However, charging with a Level 1 is slow and can take more than a day to fully charge your battery, and even longer in the cold.
With winter’s temperatures, leaving home with a full battery is the best way to alleviate any range anxiety you might have. A full battery ensures you’ll always have enough charge to do your normal commute roundtrip, and any extra errands you might need to run.
FLO Home is a highly reliable Level 2 charging station, built to operate even in extreme temperatures. It will cut your charging time by more than four-fifths.
Especially important in winter conditions, all parts of the FLO Home are designed for continuous safe usage. The unit has an integrated ground continuity monitor (GCM) that protects the user from any electrical hazard. FLO Home meets all applicable UL safety standards and is certified by the CSA Group, a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).
2. Check the Station’s Certified Operating Temperature
An important factor when purchasing a home charging station is the unit’s certified temperature operating range. While not all charging stations are made to operate in colder temperatures, the FLO Home works between -40°F to 122°F (-40°C to 50°C). The unit is made in Canada, proven to work in the harshest weather conditions by thousands of Canadian customers.
Another important consideration for winter charging is the outer casing of the charging station. Units made of plastic or sheet metal may not be reliable in freezing temperatures, but the FLO Home is encased in 100% NEMA 4X aluminum, providing maximum durability. The casing is highly resistant to rust, ice, snow and rain. It’s certified to keep all foreign objects out of the unit, including dust and other particles that could otherwise affect the unit. In warmer temperatures, it’s safe enough to be hosed down for cleaning.
3. Choose the Right Location
There are many factors that will determine where you install your charging station. They could include garage access, space within your garage to actually park your vehicle or the location of the electrical source. However, winter weather shouldn’t be a limiting factor when choosing a home charging station. So, it’s important to choose a unit that is certified for both indoor and outdoor installation.
FLO Home can be installed either outdoors or indoors through the wall with a hardwired installation or with a NEMA 6-50 plug. It should be noted that if you decide to install outdoors, the hardwired setup is highly recommended to protect the electrical source.
However, if you choose to install outdoors with the plug option, we recommend installing a water-proof plug cover to ensure it remains dry. You’ll also need to place the plug high enough on the wall so that it’s protected from accumulated snow.
An outdoor installation also means the unit will be more visible than inside your garage. FLO Home’s refined design offers a clean look that will be a nice companion to your home and your EV.
4. Make Sure the Cable and Connector Have Proper Storage
When it comes to charging in cooler temperatures, choosing a unit with a high-quality cable is essential. Some cables will become stiff or even freeze in the winter, especially with outdoor installations. Additionally, the length of the cable is another key factor when choosing a charging station.
The longer the cable, the better. Plugging in your EV isn’t as simple as plugging in, for instance, an alarm clock on your nightstand. This is because the charging port is positioned in many different locations on the car depending on the EV model. You might have to pull the cable across storage in the garage, navigate stairs or around another vehicle. Snow or other obstacles might limit how close you can get to the charging station.
FLO Home comes standard with a 25-foot cable with a sturdy SAE J1772 connector that is compatible with all EVs on the road. It’s certified to last more than 10,000 charging cycles and it stays flexible even in the deepest cold. The cable will reach your car no matter what position you park in or the obstacles that may be in your parking area.
Storing the cable becomes especially important when it’s a longer length. FLO Home has a built-in cable holder to keep the cord neat and off the ground. If installing your unit outdoors, make sure it’s high enough that the cable doesn’t get stuck in ice.
Another important consideration for winter charging is where to store the connector. Without proper storage, the connector can get ice and snow inside of it. The FLO Home is designed with a space to hold the connector, angled down to drain any water. Once you plug it into your car, a water-tight seal is formed, protecting the connection. The connector’s storage space is illuminated by blue light, so you can always see where to replace the connector after charging.
5. Optimize Power Usage
Watching your home’s energy consumption in winter is key to avoiding surges and higher usage fees from your utility. Choosing a station with intelligent charging allows you to monitor your usage and offers user-friendly customization.
The FLO Home X5 model offers smart charging features so you can choose your power settings. Track your usage data and adjust your power output according to your home’s consumption needs in the FLO mobile app. You’ll also be able to charge on a schedule to limit power during peak period.
Other X5 smart charging features include real-time technical support, automatic software updates, the ability to add a second charger on the same breaker and the capability to participate in demand response programs with your utility company.
For users who prefer a charging station without smart capabilities but still wish to choose their power output, FLO also offers the standard FLO Home G5 model. The G5 maximum output current can be adjusted by a rotary switch to adapt to the available capacity of the existing electrical box.
Reliable Winter Charging
Not all charging stations are equipped to deliver a safe and reliable charging experience throughout winter. While there are many factors for choosing a charging station that you can depend on year-round, FLO Home is designed to always deliver a full charge in every condition, no matter what.
About the posts’ author — Bringing a thoughtful blend of creative innovation and industry knowledge, Holly Ammon is the Content Writer and Community Manager at FLO, where she broadcasts the growth and excitement of the EV industry to FLO’s 35,000 users. Ms. Ammon is passionate about sustainable technologies and the environment. Prior to joining FLO, she was a contributor to national environmental documentaries at PBS.
By Holly Ammon, originally published by EV Obsession.