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Electric Car Charging Just Got Cheaper

By Bill Moore

Two-part EV World Dialogues interview with Aerovironment's Wahid Nawabi on the company's new, small, more affordable and very portable smart electric car charging cord.

Buy or lease one of several electric cars in the United States and chances are the dealer is going to recommend you install an AeroVironment EVSE: electric vehicle service equipment; basically a smart plug with a long charging cord. A handful of other companies, some big names, some lesser known, also offer these home charge stations. Most cost at least a $1000 and up, plus the cost of the installation.

That's what makes AV's recent product release interesting. Long leaders in electric car charging systems, especially fast chargers, their engineers have come up with a way to eliminate the need for that big box on the wall, integrating all the necessary controls and safeguards into a piece of electronics you can hold in your hand.

We spoke with AV's general manager for their Efficient Energy Systems division, Wahid Nawabi, about what the company is calling their Turbocord. Attached to the other end of 20 feet of electric cord is a standard SAE J1772 plug. The whole thing weighs just a few pounds and not only eliminates the need for wall-mounted charge boxes, but can be rolled up, tossed in the trunk/boot and used anywhere either 110V or 240V electric power is available.

Mindful of the problem that compelled Tesla to send all its Model S owners a new portable charge cable to replace the original one that came with the car after several cables got hot and could have caused a fire, AV's engineers have integrated sensors into Turbocord to detect potentially damaging temperature anomalies. The sensors will automatically reduce the current flowing into the battery, preventing the cable or the power outlet into which it is plugged from overheating.

Another innovation is the snap-on adapter that allows Turbocord to be plugged into either a standard 110V outlet or 240V outlet. In the case of the latter, however, it needs to be a NEMA 6-20R 240-volt outlet, which is the type of plug often used by motels to power their room air conditioners.

The dual voltage Turbocord runs $649, while the single 240V model costs $599. They can be purchased either directly from AeroVironment or through Amazon, as well as through supporting car dealerships.

The interview with Nawabi is just over 24-minutes and divided into two parts.

Video Part 1

Video Part 2

Times Article Viewed: 8476
Originally published: 11 Feb 2014

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