How to not waste most of the public EV charging infrastructure

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Over 60,000 EV charging stations have been installed in the US. But a huge number of them see fairly light use because they are not in the right place for the current generation of electric cars, and not for the coming self-driving ones.

When we have cars that can go all day without a charge, and charging at home, we don't really have much demand for local charging around town. Superchargers for long trips (like Tesla makes) are the only other chargers needed most of the time. It changes again when the cars able able to drive themselves slowly on empty roads to charging at night (which happens before they can drive people around during the day.) But most thinking about charging infrastructure is stuck in the world of 90 mile range Leafs that need to charge any chance they can get.

I offer some analysis of this and how to think about in my new Forbes site article: Most EV charging infrastructure is wasted

Comments

I use them all the time with my 7 bar Leaf.

All these tens of thousands of Level 2 chargers were put in place looking for cars like your Leaf, where range anxiety is a frequent event, and so you will put up with inconvenience and expensive electricity to remedy that. 200 mile range cars eliminate that, and there is no wish to put up with inconvenience or high cost.

Sorry to disagree, but claiming Level-2 charging is no longer necessary for new model or second generation EVs is just ludicrous. This is a common misconception based on the ignorance of people who don't actually drive an EV on a regular basis. To begin with, forget thinking about Level-2 public charging in the same way you think about gas stations for locals. Public charging stations rarely, if ever get used by people who live near the charging station. Public charging's primary purpose is to make it convenient for people to drive an EV from somewhere else and charge while spending money in the local economy. The problem with most Level-2 chargers is they are not where people work, or at the mall or the theater, or stadium, or restaurants, or other places where users are actually likely to spend at least an hour or two charging. No, most Level-2 charging is at city hall, or the chamber of commerce, or behind the local auto repair shop, or the parking lot at the edge of town, etc. The other real reason Level-2 charging that IS conveniently located doesn't get used is because more often than not, those spaces are ICEd. Meaning they are blocked by cars (generally [I]nternal [C]ombustion [E]ngine vehicles) who can't use the charging stations. Unfortunately, very few States, cities and towns have laws or ordinances protecting those charging spaces for use by electric vehicles only. Many Level-2 public chargers are located in prime parking spaces because of the electrical needs and cost of installation. Non-EV drivers assume it's about privilege, when it's really about cable lengths. Don't get me started on vandalized or poorly maintained charging stations. NOT something ICE drivers are familiar with, nor would they tolerate. Imagine pulling into a gas station and half the pumps don't work.

So, to summarize convenient, protected Level-2 public charging gets used regularly. Unfortunately most Level-2 public charging isn't convenient or protected for EV use only. So this entire article is based on false assumptions of someone who doesn't drive a EV regularly.

As I said, most of the level 2 that's been put in is wasted. You seem to be agreeing. I say that charging at work gets used, but even that is not as good as you make it sound. It gets used more than it would be because of two attractions -- it's usually free, and it often comes with a premium parking spot. But here in California, the stations often are used because of that, and thus not reliably available. (At least employees are less likely to ICE them.) If you charged at home and drive your 300 mile range car to work on the typical commute, and had to pay for charging at the office and park further from the door you go in on, I think a lot of folks would not bother, except on days where they didn't charge at home or planned a big trip after.

For those who don't have charging at home, work charging is the 2nd best option, though it leaves you without charging on the weekend.

And I do own and drive an electric car. At first, I thought I would use these level 2 chargers. I discovered I don't, except in rare situations.

We agree that when Level-2 public charging is done right it's great and when it's done wrong it's useless. I'll also venture a guess the reason you see no need for L-2 chargers is because you probably drive a Tesla.

I started out in one of those 74 Mile Leafs way back in 2011 and we've had a 240v/50a Level-2 a home charger since day one. Sub 100 mile range EVs are still the majority of EVs on the road. Especially outside of California. I know it's crazy but there is this place called America where people actually drive electric cars without living in California. The problem I have with all the "nobody ever uses those things" press I see everywhere is it's just flat out wrong. Check out the "@ivebeeniced" twitter feed or "#iceholes" and "#evholes" groups on facebook (to mention a few). There are a lot of people who use Level-2 public charging and most of them are ticked-off most of the time because they can't for one reason or another. But unfortunately the "no one ever uses those things" mentality and the people like you perpetuating that myth is starting to get chargers removed from a lot of places. Places where they should be. Places where they need to be. But the ICE brains removing them don't know the difference or care.

Our current EV has over 200+ miles range. We often travel to nearby cities for events, or shopping or to visit friends. These places are on the edge of a 200 mile round-trip. close enough to not require a lot of charging, but still make charging necessary. Charging while shopping or eating on L-2 is a lot cheaper and more convenient than driving 10-20 miles out of the way, each way, on our return and paying the expensive L-3 fees.

The reason we need L-2 public charging is the alternative is waiting in line for L-3 charging somewhere with nothing to do. The problem with L-2 Public charging is it's rarely available or accessible when it's needed.

The problem is, it's very hard to do a Level 2 public charger "right" for a Tesla, Bolt, iPace, eTron, long-range Leaf and similar cars. In such a car -- which is what I have -- the drive to charge at L2 chargers in town is just quite weak. Doesn't mean I never do it, but that it doesn't take much to make me not do it. If the space is not convenient. If the space is ICEd, or, as also happens, taken by an EV that is probably full, it's not a big deal. If it's not free, then it's going to cost me 2-5 times as much to charge as at home, so I have to really want it. (It's never equal to my home price, it's always either free or much more.)

I have not heard of too much removal of chargers. Mostly the number is growing quickly. There are still a number of people in 74 mile Leafs, after all.

And sure, if on a round trip of >200 miles -- which is not a trip "around town" then I might make some more effort to grab a bit of L2 charge, even at that higher price, even with a little inconvenience. But DC Fast charging would probably be better. As you say, most of those have only 1-2 ports which can mean bad news. Tesla of course builds large superchargers and tells owners how many are in use. It's very rare to find what you really want -- the ability to reserve ahead and be assured of a charge, at least if it's not ICEd.

I would like chargers to have a camera, and if a car parks in front of them that isn't the car which reserved them, sound an alarm. For ICE cars mostly, but also EVs though they are not so likely to park because the thing would refuse to charge them. Of course, if you reserve, you have to pay before you get there.

But people don't want the uncertainty of hunting and all the other inconveniences. Which is why they don't really want L2 charging at all. If it ever got successful enough that the charging stations got heavy use, that would make it worse because of the uncertainty of whether you would charge.

Tesla figured it out, but the L2 station owners didn't.

I drive a Bolt and couldn't agree more with author. I need them at hotels or termini of long journeys. For local trips, I get all the charge I need right at home, overnight; I am never concerned about battery level when doing daytime commutes. I need to find them in the next major city or along I95.

I have a BMW i3 with the gasoline range extender. The battery gives me 80 miles, on a good day, but the gas doubles my range.
Do you understand the economics of driving an EV?
I have a level 2 charger at home that gives charges me from empty to full in 3 hours @ $.11/kW or $2.09/full charge.
DC chargers cost me about $.30/minute, but EV batteries don't charge linearly, they charge quickly up to 60% and then start slowing down quickly.
If takes 15 minutes to charge to about 75% for about $4.50. If I want to get to 100% if will cost be another 10-15 minutes!
So, if I want to travel a long distance, hoping to stop as little as possible, I would want to charge up to 100%, but that is 4.5 x the cost of charging at home and more expensive than using a car with a gas engine.
It's annoying that I have to pay for time when I'm trying to add energy to my batteries.
Why can't they just charge me for the kWh of energy that I need, even it if is double the cost of doing it at home. I'm not going anywhere, I have to wait at the stinking charger until it's done anyway.
I avoid the DC fast chargers because I feel like I'm being abused. I used level 2 chargers at supermarkets because it gives about a quarter of my battery capacity while I shop - free.
DC charger vendors are using a business model that looks good on a spreadsheet, but is awful in practice because they don't understand their customers.

The BMW I3 is one of those early vehicles with a sub-100 mile range. They use level 2 chargers because they have to. The I3 without REX is like the early Leaf and others, where you really have to and will go to serious inconvenience.

My car has over 250 miles of range. I don't have to use the local chargers. So I, and many others, find I don't if they are not extremely convenient. Sure, if where I park has a convenient, well priced or free spot, I'll plug in if I'm staying for over an hour. But not if the space is out of the way or more than 20 cents/kwh.

Trouble is, it's hard for commercial charging stations to charge a price that competes with the night price a my home. They are buying day electricity, and have to pay for all their infrastructure. And they want to make a profit. And then, when they find they get very low utilization, they have to charge a lot more to make a profit, and so only the desperate charge.

You forgot to mention wireless charging technology in your protracted section on charging infrastructure?

I don't think wireless charging is likely to catch on. First of all, it wastes around 10% of the power. Its main virtue is convenience for humans who want to park imprecisely and not plug in. It also, at least now, involves a fair bit of extra cost.

Robots can park precisely, so they don't need wireless for that.

OK, so most wireless charging being tested delivers at around 93-95% efficiency (it could improve)...and there must also be energy losses using cable...so the difference can't be that great...and it is much more convenient,is presumably more robust, reduces physical above ground infrastructure, doesn't require much human effort (always a winner) etc. etc. I think you are wrong...but jury is still out ;)

No, energy losses in a cable are not a factor -- the wireless charger has a cable too, after all, though it can be thicker.

But the main reason we don't see much wireless charging today is cost. Cost to put it in the car, cost to have it at the charging station. You still have to install the regular charging gear as well, so it's only added cost.

Let's say you built a fleet of 1,000 robotic taxis. You could charge them only at your own stations, eliminating the need for a regular charging port, though having that option remains useful. But do you want to put 1,000 inductive pads in all the cars, or would you rather just install 300 simple robotic plug-in units? Because you only that at the charging station, and the cars share the stations perfectly, leaving when done.

I have proposed a style of robotic plug in station which is very cheap and simple because it presumes the car positions itself with precision. If you can do that, you only need a couple of pins or pads that can rise out of a box on the ground, and a cover plate that can retract. Maybe with work you could even design a plug or the front or rear of the vehicle so that it plugs itself in by driving up to the charge port with precision, so no extra motors needed except in a cover plate.

5% loss is not too bad. But if a taxi will last 300,000 miles, that's 75,000 kwh or around 4,000 lost kwh. Depending on your cost of electricity that's $400 or so, as well as the cost of the inductive plates in station and car.

Not a big deal for a human in exchange for the convenience of having to plug in and out. (Plus human cars only last 200,000 miles.) But robots don't care about convenience.

I would love to hear a discussion about combining solar power generating centers that also provide shaded charging stations.

Shade is nice, though other than that there is no super great need to put the panels at the charging station unless it makes sense for other reasons. The main issue with solar charging, if you imagine it as being direct, is that it needs to happen during the day, with peak at noon. For private car owners, this mostly makes sense at workplaces. At home, they want to use their car during the day. Robotaxis also want to be in operation during they day, though to a greater degree at 3 peaks -- morning and evening rush, and a smaller peak at noon. Solar can provide power at the other times.

Since private car owners don't want to constantly plug and unplug they prefer to charge at night, while asleep -- zero inconvenience, and today the cheapest power.

In the long run, cars actually are nice with solar because cars can agree to stop charging when clouds cover the panels for a short time. The solar grid desperately needs loads that are that flexible -- that take all you can give when it's sunny and are happy to shut off for 20 minutes when the clouds come. But there's a problem with the rainy/cloudy days -- the owner does not want to forgo charging for a whole day.

The country I am in is steadily moving to renewable electricity. As it is variable it looks like future electricity prices may also be offered at variable rates and tied to wind and solar output. Currently there are times of high wind and solar when the open market spot price goes negative - ie they have so much surplus being generated they are giving it away. Yet at other times, often at night, renewable output is negligible and the cost of electricity. Some are hoping that wide scale use of EVs could be used for demand management to fix the variable nature of renewable energy - although this could create a large hassle factor for users. I am not sure how mobility on demand services would handle this?

The outcome of this may be to favor charges at work car parks rather than overnight home charging - if cost of electricity becomes an issue.

It's pretty rare for the day price to go negative, you need a very high percentage renewable grid for that, or lots of power that can't shut off quickly like CC Gas and nuke. But yes, it will happen. And electric cars are a very nice customer because they can respond quickly to load changes.

The country is Australia, although I should have have acknowledged that the spot price varies in different regions and I was not suggesting negative prices across the whole grid. In large sections (South Australia) the price does sometimes go negative as the interstate transmission is inadequate. In response many wind farms now curtail their output to prevent negative prices, which of course instead be used for charging EVs.

My main point was that times of cheap electricity, could be a consideration in charger location. Changing electricity generation (from coal to wind and solar) is moving the off-peak output from night time (suits home charging) to middle of the day (more suits workplace car park charging).

While robots don't care as much about convenience, people do. For example, while I do not currently commute, I use my car during the day in unpredictable ways, while at night it always sits in the same place when I sleep. So charging at night is the most convenient, even if it were no longer much cheaper. I would guess that only a modest fragment of cars (less than 25%) stay parked at a workplace all day. Workplace charging also has a problem for weekend use.

While I am not a big fan, wireless charging could be better for daytime use by humans. (Robots don't need it.) There would be fewer convenience issues. Today, I like that when I come home mid day I don't bother plugging/unplugging until the end of the day.

Very interesting piece. What's the source for the ev charger utilization data?

Just asking questions around the industry, and hearing numbers which seem to confirm by looking at chargers. Most chargers are either well placed (high usage parking lots with long stays) or foolishly placed (not any place people would want to park for several hours) and it's the latter that suffer.

It's so wasteful to drive around a huge battery that you don't need 95% of the time (especially when it's too small most of the other 5% of the time). High range EVs are a luxury item now, but to bring EVs to the masses, lower range makes sense. This is especially true once one can rent a high-range vehicle (an EV, or more likely a hybrid or other efficient gas powered vehicle) that drives itself to you on demand. Or take mass transit for most of your trip if you are even more cost conscious.

I wish Tesla would make a lower range EV that's about $10,000 cheaper. Would probably be a good buy today, though low range starts to really shine as robocars become ubiquitous.

For $10,000 (especially wisely invested) I could rent a car every time I need to drive more than 75 miles in a day. And that doesn't even factor in the reduced maintenance and repair costs.

It's broadly true that carrying the weight of battery capacity you rarely use is wasteful, but we aren't at the point where we can make that work optimally.

Note as well that because actual optimal charging is from 20% to 70% on a battery pack, optimal use of the battery only uses half of it, so the 240 mile Tesla SR+ is actually at the right range for many urban drivers. Around here a 120 mile day is just a trip from Silicon Valley to San Francisco and back, or shorter trips with diversions.

I debated whether or not to clarify this (I guessed wrongly that it was obvious), but the far bigger waste is all the resources that go into creating the large batteries, not the relatively small energy that goes into carrying around the extra weight.

Yes, some people drive a lot more than average. 120 miles is four times the average. Amazingly, some of those people think because they drive an electric car they're somehow harming society less than someone who drives only 10 miles a day in a 2005 Honda Civic.

(And 120 miles is the round trip distance. By charging at their destination, they could get away with half that distance between charges.)

It would be an enormous waste to have 200+ mile batteries in the majority of the 270+ million cars in the USA. Perhaps that means we should move away from the personally-owned vehicle. I'm skeptical of that solution, though. For short trips, which most trips for most people are, the personally-owned vehicle can be very efficient.

Yes, 120 is 4 times the average, but of course that's because many days you drive less than 40, and other days you drive much more. The car buyer cares mostly about what percentage of days the battery will handle. If they expect 2-3 100 mile days in a month, they will want that level of range. Charging at your destination is often inconvenient and unpredictable for most destinations, so people don't find that acceptable. Here it's the reverse. If you can charge at your destination most of the time, even 98% of the time, that's no good because you need a solution 100% of the time. There are ways to build such solutions, but as yet they don't exist.

So the battery size customers want is the one that says "major inconvenience will be extremely rare." Of course, one solution for that is superchargers which are plentiful, along all the long routes. Then you know if you are driving 150 miles roundtrip to a place which does not have reserved convenient charging, you have the fast charging as a backup. But superchargers still take time and are not directly on your route. So for now, 200 mile batteries are the only thing that give you the "it will always work" answer.

Yes, the minerals are an issue.

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Most people don't expect 2-3 100 mile days in a month. Apart from the occasional road trip (probably 2-3 times a year or less), commuting days tend to involve more driving than weekend days. But even people who do need 2-3 100-mile days month can do with a 120 mile range vehicle. And that's only necessary if they can't charge during those 100 miles.

Yes, charging at your destination is inconvenient right now. This is one of the things that can change in order to have a more sustainable, less wasteful future. And it's something that will change with self-driving vehicles that can simply drive to the charging station, charge up, and then return to the owner's location. It's unclear how long it's going to be to get to that future, though.

Renting a car for a day is somewhat of a major inconvenience now, though it's already starting to get more convenient, especially with services like Uber and Turo. I don't expect it will be inconvenient at all in the self-driving future. (It's not even necessary that the car you rent can drive itself; you can use a self-driving taxi to get to the rental, or the lessee could use a self-driving taxi to get home after dropping off your rental car.)

Huge batteries are just trading one problem for a host of others. There's no question that long ranges are what people want. But long ranges that are rarely used are incredibly wasteful. (Long ranges that are often used can be a symptom of wastefulness too.)

Another thing that people want is to own their own vehicle. If the choice is between owning a vehicle that meets 98% of your driving needs and renting the rest of the time, or owning no vehicle at all and relying on taxis for 100% of your driving needs, I think the vast majority of people would prefer the latter. Of course, people will want the best of both worlds. Maybe we'll figure out how to do that, in a way that works for more than just the wealthiest. If so, I doubt it'll involve lithium-ion batteries.

In unicentric cities, there are fewer longer trips, particularly for those who live in the center. In polycentric cities, such as the San Francisco Bay Area, 100 mile days are reasonably common. Around here in silicon valley, most people's commutes are 10-30 miles per day, but several times a month they will go to the other centers of the area like San Francisco, San Jose, East Bay etc. Not all cities are like that but many are.

But yes, if you live downtown in a non polycentric city, a short range car is a good choice.

I've always advocated that the early short range cars come with the ability to quickly grab a rental car, at zipcar speed, at a slightly subsidized price. So that you drive your electric to as far as you can and then quickly switch to another car (possibly another electric) at minimal cost. While that's possible without the subsidy it never really caught on as an idea.

New Yorkers follow the "don't own and then rent when you want to go out of town" approach but not the rest of Americans.

Yes, there are lots of patterns. Some are more wasteful than others.

The Zipcar thing didn't catch on in the way that you wanted it to, but I think that's largely because normal people don't own EVs. Even the low range ones are expensive, especially for the majority of individuals who don't pay enough in taxes to utilize the whole tax credit, and don't drive enough miles to get enough savings on fuel. If the Democrats win in 2020, and they fulfill even a small fraction of the promises on climate change that they've made over the last couple nights, that might change. Otherwise, cost-conscious people will probably stick to gasoline burning cars, for the most part.

Well, for those who do drive enough (which is to say, the average) the cost savings and the rebates made a Chevy Bolt very competitive with other ordinary priced cars. Should batteries continue on their price curve, they will soon become the low income person's (new) car. (Lower income people usually buy used cars of course.)

However, on this web site, we believe they'll also become the robotic taxi. For taxis, the energy cost savings are high and the amount of battery needed is even less, though until power becomes cheap mid-day, you may still want your taxi to have almost a day's worth of battery capacity.

[okay, I have absolutely no idea why this one was duplicated]

(As an aside, this site is unusable on mobile devices when threads get too deep.)

Which rebates are you referring to? 45% of Americans pay no federal income taxes, so the federal tax credit is completely to them. It's less than fully usable to many others. The federal tax credit is limited to a certain number of vehicles. As I said, if the Democrats win in 2020, and they fulfill even a small fraction of the promises on climate change that they've made over the last couple nights, that might change. Even if they don't win, there are talks in Congress about implementing a refundable electric vehicle credit, which would be usable by everyone and not just the wealthy. But as it stands now, BEVs rarely make economic sense compared to a hybrid or an ICE. There's nothing wrong with buying them for other reasons, but they're not cheap.

All the cost comparisons I've seen are either completely unrealistic or don't apply to the majority of people.

As far as robotaxis, I expect that most of the small robotaxis used for short distance commuting will have relatively small batteries. I don't think it makes sense for a robotaxi to carry around a big battery for making lots of short trips. I don't have time to run the numbers right now, but even if power is expensive mid-day, wouldn't it make more sense to have large batteries in fixed charging locations that the small battery fleets can stop at mid-day? I guess a big factor is whether the inefficiency of transferring charge from one battery to another is more or less than the inefficiency of carrying a battery around with you everywhere. Of course some taxis in the fleet will have large batteries in them. It's interesting to consider what a reasonable maximum range would be for a vehicle meant to carry passengers. Luggage and the like can always go in a separate vehicle (and can even be transferred between vehicles by robot if you want to ensure that your luggage arrives exactly when you do), so transferring from one vehicle to another will be quick and easy, and can be done at times and places where you want to stop anyway (to eat, to stretch, etc.).

I don't think robotaxis will be much cheaper for daily commuting than a personally owned vehicle with whatever range you happen to need. Quite possibly not at all cheaper, especially for families with children, due to the much more frequent cleaning that will need to be done in order to share a vehicle. But maybe they will. It's not really a huge difference, either way.

EVs are dropping in price, due to declines in battery prices, but also just maturity and higher volume manufacturing. Wait for the Chinese to start competing outside of China. BEVs made no financial sense for almost anybody a few years ago. Now they make sense for a growing group, and it will continue to grow.

As for mid-day charge, I don't think having battery banks for double stage charging makes a big difference. The price of energy mid day is what it is. The main thing batteries do is let you avoid high delivery charges at peak times -- which is not nothing. If you have batteries full of energy and the price is high, you should sell that energy, not put it in cars -- if you can. I think you lose about 7-10% cycling in and out IIRC. Debatable if the extra weight causes that level of loss. Would need to go do real research and the math.

However, the truth is, these prices are in flux. The operators of the future will look at their prices and decide the most efficient path, factoring in cost of the extra weight and size, cost of electricity in the day vs. the night and all the other factors.

Delivery costs will be the big factor, I suspect. Without delivery costs there is no reason to have your own panels or batteries, just buy from somebody else who has those. But with delivery costs, because you can drive the car up to the panels or batteries, it can be a win. Where I live, delivery is 2/3rds the cost of my electricity.

As for refundable rebates, those can help lower income people of course, the one of the realities of life is that new cars are not for lower income people. It is far more cost effective to purchase used cars. This will always be true, even when EVs are cheap. The fast rate at which new cars depreciate is a luxury not all should pay for.

The operators of the future might look at their prices and go out of business if they guessed wrong about what size batteries to use in their vehicles and their competitors guessed right. Smaller is more flexible; smaller is less wasteful.

Refundable rebates won't just help "lower income" people. Roughly half of Americans pay zero federal income taxes. The percentage of Americans who pay less than $7,500 in federal income taxes is harder to find, but it's safe to say that the average American doesn't benefit much, if at all, from a non-refundable electric vehicle credit.

Whether that means we should make the EV credit refundable, eliminate the non-refundable one, or keep things the same, I'm intentionally avoiding commenting about.

Yes, the fast rate at which new cars depreciate is a luxury not all should pay for. Or to put it another way, new cars, on average, are quite wasteful. But that's pretty far from the original topic.

While you make some great points you miss a crucial piece of the puzzle. Many early main stream adopters now and in the near future buy their first ev used. The price of new models are too high for the average driver. That means the unused infrastructure will get more users over time bc of more the EVs there made for on the road. I'm one of those people as I just bought a 2016 leaf sv and live in an apartment. Fortunately, there is a Nissan dealership near my house and trust me it gets plenty of use. Level 2 as well and I'm in NC a non ZEV state! Until a sub $20000 200 mi range EV arrives the infrastructure is very much needed for later generation adopters like me driving older models.

The strong price decline curve of the batteries has allowed the Model 3, Leaf Plus and Bolt to get into the price range of many drivers. And it will get even better.

You're willing to put up with a lot of inconvenience, charging at a car dealership near your house. Unless it's your next door neighbour, most people are not willing to put up with that. Which is what kept Leaf ownership to people with home charging and modest commutes -- and who also owned a gasoline car, or lived in a denser city.

It's why the more expensive Teslas are outselling the cheaper Leafs and Bolts.

Look into this revolutionary solution to finally charge at home and condo www.dcc.technology Electric regards

The basic idea of this box is a good one (I have described the same thing) but at $1000 it's a bit silly. The way to do this is to build an EVSE, not a box that goes to the EVSE. Have the EVSE able to know how much current is used by other devices in the house, and shut down or reduce the pilot wave accordingly. No need to have two boxes. By saving people the $500 they pay for an EVSE it's much more reasonable. While you can put the inductive coils on the main breaker box, in truth they can go on any high current load in the house like the oven, dryer or air conditioner.

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