on August 26, 2012
Most comparable L2 EVSEs are $1000 or more. The SPX Voltec is the only L2 EVSE that's cheaper at $490, but it can only charge at half the speed of the Power Xpress (16A vs. 32A). The Power Xpress has one of the smallest form factors of any L2 EVSE and is one of the few rated for plug-in installation (indoors only) rather than hardwire. Plus it easily slides on and off a mounting bracket for easy transportation - most other L2 EVSEs have to be permanently screwed to the wall.
It can charge at 24A out of the box. You can also upgrade it to 32A for $250 by buying a 70A J1772 cable/connector from tucsonev. I've used my Power Xpress with my Volt for about a year now problem free. I thoroughly researched all L2 EVSEs on the market and this one offers the best value in my opinion.
on February 26, 2013
10 months old and it's dead. No lights nothing!
I'm writting this after trying to get it serviced. No one services it in my area.
It is mount inside in the garage, but they want to inspect the installtion
site and if it fails inspection, I have to pay for the inspection. They
can't tell me how much the inspection fee is. When I purchased there was no
mention of installation site voiding the warranty.
I see the reviews are mostly about a year old, hopefully others will start to report on how long there device is working.
on August 27, 2012
*** Updated 12-11-2012 ***
I just downgraded my rating from 4 to 2 stars . . . Firstly, this product turns out to be incompatible with the new Toyota RAV4 EV, and secondly because of the price increase without any additional new features than before. It was a fairly cost effective unit "as is" at $779, but not nearly as much so at $949! Also, SPX sold me what I believed to be a cable holder bracket, orderable separately directly from SPX. It was only $29.95, but what I received was just another "mounting bracket" for the charging unit itself. SPX shows a picture of a logo matching cable holder on their website, but in reality this does not exist. For such a simple, but essential additon, this is inexcusible for nearly a $1000 product!
This was my original review:
Like the last reviewer, I did a lot of research and this product appears to be the best choice at this time for most EV owners. In my case, a 2012 Chevy Volt owner, I wanted the most versatile and economical EVSE L2 (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, Level 2) charger, and this product meets that criteria.
First the things I don't like . . . 1) the input power cord must enter from the top of the unit. A bottom entry would have been more versatile so both attached cords exit from the bottom, especially useful for most wall mount installations. 2) The prewired (but detached) 240V AC input pigtail cord is only 1' long and the supplied plug end is incompatible with older style electric drier outlets (NEMA 10-30R). SPX should allow exchanging of the input cord, at no cost, to a different style plug end. 3) No cable storage craddle is provided. For the relatively high cost of this product, a craddle should definitely be included in the installation kit. 4) An enhanced model with a built-in power meter (similar to a Kill-A-Watt) with LCD display readout should be offered as an option.
There is at least one competing product, specially designed for a Chevy Volt "fast charging rate" application, which is a few hundred dollars cheaper. But unlike this product, it is not future proof, somewhat bulkier, and only intended for fixed, wall mount applications. Units of that nature generally require a licensed electrician to perform the installation at substantially more (hidden) cost.
For someone with the electrical know-how, this unit enables the consumer to avoid any extra cost and lends itself quite nicely to a Saturday afternoon "DIY" project. I installed mine in about 8 hours, but I'm sure someone with more experience with electrical projects could have done it in much less time.
By simply changing the selected position of a 4-way switch, the unit's 240V output power can be limited from as low as 12A to as much as 32A. The default is 24A. However, a Chevy Volt can only utilize 15A maximum at 240V (3.3kW). This is to prevent the battery from overcharging to provide a longer life expectancy. This is acceptable because most 240Vac appliance outlets such as used for an older type of electric clothes drier, are protected up to maximum of 30A, perfect for this charging application. The highest setting of 32A, is not recommended as would require a costly modification to the unit's cabling and J1772 charge port connector to prevent overheating.
This is one of only a few 240V chargers small enough to be easily taken with you in an electric vehicle essentially as a "portable" battery charger. Because this unit is "pluggable", via its AC power cord, it also can be easily relocated. Although, most users will probably opt to have it hard wired and semi-permanently wall mounted.
The Power Express is still costly for what it does. However, it is one of the most versatile and best values currently on the market for homeowners to use in their own garage. Because of its design for portability, it must be used indoors only, but still enables green car owners to reduce (by at least half) the time to fully recharge their battery.
on January 3, 2013
All positive reviews are for those who own and drive a Chevy Volt, which is great. I, however, have a Leaf and this charger has a major problem and only intermittently works with a Leaf. I am able to successfully charge only about one out of every 10 times I try to use it. It's been several months now and SPX has still been unable to solve the problem. I'll be demanding a full refund very soon and buying the AeroVironment unit instead.
Follow-up (3/3/2013) : SPX eventually did a firmware upgrade to my charger and it now works flawlessly (hence my rating going from 1 star to 5). While it took about 3 months for the fix, which was frustrating, I am now extremely pleased with it. So, provided you make sure you get the firmware upgrade, I can now confidently recommend this unit.
on November 24, 2012
I was pleasantly surprised. This is an excellent product, very well made, with everything you need included (no kidding). Very easy to install, and well worth the money. We were using the standard Chevy Volt charger, which takes overnight to charge the car. With the Xpress charger, we were able to charge the car soooooooo much quicker, which enabled us to use the car more in electric mode. Even a brief charge will give you more than you might expect. We are so pleased with this product, we would recommend it to anyone. It seems expensive, but in my opinion worth it. Because we regularly use the rapid charger, we have only gone to the gas station twice in almost 4,000 miles.
on April 5, 2013
I purchased this for use with my 2013 Chevy Volt and have had zero issues with it. I use the power plug and throw it in the back when I go to my friends house who lives almost 40 miles away so i can charge on his 240V power. Its quit a bit bulky for that purpose (hence why I took a star away), but gets the job done.
FYI doesn't have the hook in the picture...i use a wall mount broom holder to hold the cable and charger plug up in the garage.
on May 19, 2014
Avoid this charger. If you read EV forums, they're littered with stories like mine. Dead in just over a year. Actually, less than one year. I had it for a few months before I got an electrician to install it...so I only got about 9 months of use...SPX/Bosch is no help. They offered to let me have the privilege of buying another.
Fool me once...
on June 30, 2013
We've had this SPX charger for about 2 months and share it between a Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt. We have it plugged into a 220 clothes dryer outlet on a dedicated circuit in the garage (we have a gas dryer). Instead of using the short 1-foot power cord that comes with the SPX, we had an electrician add a 25' power cord which allows us to snake the cord from the power outlet along the ceiling to the back (opposite the door) of the garage where the unit is mounted. The approx. 18' charge cable can now reach the Leaf which we pull in head first and the Volt which we park tail first. We have to park this way so our cars are as far toward the outside walls of the garage as possible making a wide enough space between them to easily open the driver's door of each car and for maneuvering larger things (trash cans, bikes, etc.) out of the garage without having to move a car.
Note that the electrician also had to replace the type of outlet on the wall to match the type on the charger. Total cost for the electrical work was $300. But without the 220 SPX charger, we could not have both cars charged to the max at all times.
My wife drives the Volt to work about 100 miles round trip so she usually is on gas for the ride home. We have both cars set to charge midnight to 6am (super-off peak per SoCal Edison schedule). Since I work close to home, I trickle charge (110 outlet) the Leaf because I usually don't deplete the battery more than about 30%. With this strategy, we start each work day with both cars at 100%.
As far the failure mentioned in the title of this review, I went into the garage on Friday morning and found the Volt didn't charge. The SPX had a red "fail" light on. It's a dummy light so it's not possible to figure out what went wrong. I reset the power at the breaker and it's worked fine since. I'll keep an eye on it and update this review and the number of stars if it continues to happen. But before and after that one incident, no problem. It's a simple device that you can take with you if you move and was a deciding factor for me to go with it. That and the number of charging amps available compared to other chargers.
Bottom line: I recommend it and would give it 4.5 stars if I could.
on May 26, 2013
Notified by Chevy Volt advisor that update was available to solve issue with SPX charger in delayed mode. Went to dealer about 3 weeks ago and have not had problem since. Not sure who was more at fault for compatibility issue but can now safely recommend this SPX EVSE. Although I still wish I hadn't bought this due to past experience, I am upgrading from 3 stars to 5 stars because with update and Chevy Volt you shouldn't have any problems now.
Original post 5/26/13: Have owned 2013 Chevy Volt for 7 months and the SPX EL-50600 for 5 months.
6 times I have went to start car and had no charge taken. Each time the Service Engine Soon light comes on. After the fourth time took car to dealer. My chevy volt advisor says to stop using the Power X-press charger until they can come up with a software update. I thought this was a better product and more future proof than the Voltec charger but now I kind of wish I had saved the money. Lucky for me I can just use gas when it doesn't charge. Hopefully, this occasional problem doesn't affect someone with a Leaf or other pure electric.