GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm considering buying a 2018 Volt, versus trying to get a 2019. My main motivation to consider the 2019 is the faster new 7.2 kW on-board charger in the 2019. As I understand it, the new charger could reduce the charging time, maybe even by half. Will this new on-board charger reduce the Level 1 (120 V) charging time, or is the improvement limited to Level 2 (240 V) charging? Thanks.

--Chris
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,582 Posts
No, no it wont. It's Level 2 not level 1. Assuming you have a 240V EVSE capable of 7.2kW charging, it needs a dedicated 240V circuit with a 40A breaker
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
The same on-board charger is used for Level 1 and Level 2 charging. Level 1 charging is limited to a maximum of 12 amps as this is the maximum load for a 15 amp circuit. That has not changed in the 2019 Volt. In the 2019 Volt with the 7.2kW charger the charger and the EVSE negotiate the maximum charging rate, this can be up to 32 amps (7.2kW) for 230/240V level 2 charging at home. Using a public Level 2 charger where the voltage is typically supplied by 3-phase power the voltage will be less (208V) than when using Level 2 charging at home and the maximum power is reduced to ~6.6kW although I have seen public Level 2 chargers where the output was just 6.2kW (this was when charging a Tesla Model X, not a Volt.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
My question would be "Do you really need faster charging?" For me it certainly would be a want but not a need as most of the time I don't require faster charging than overnight. Is it worth the extra cost to you? I was trying to justify trading in for the 2019 Premier with all the bells and whistles along with the faster charging but it is not a need as my wife explained to me :) Apparently a trip to Bali is a NEED!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Yes, thanks, that is exactly our issue (minus the trip to Bali)---is it worth the cost, and the extra wait, with the end of the federal tax credit looming.

We will mostly use the car for around town commuting, probably less than 30 miles a day on weekdays, and it will spend pretty much every night in our driveway, at least 8 hours, probably 10. Weekends with errands and such there might be multiple trips around town, with brief charging opportunities in between.

We have a 2014 Honda Insight parallel hybrid (great car!) that gets 50 mpg on the highway except in really cold temps, which will serve for most over-the-road trips. On rare long trips in the Volt, 2.5 hour charging is better than 4.5, but still probably not sufficiently short to make a dedicated stop to recharge worth the time. And if we stop for a meal, the probability of finding a Level 2 charging station at the establishment is still low.

I'd welcome any other opinions on the decision.

Thanks.

--Chris

My question would be "Do you really need faster charging?" For me it certainly would be a want but not a need as most of the time I don't require faster charging than overnight. Is it worth the extra cost to you? I was trying to justify trading in for the 2019 Premier with all the bells and whistles along with the faster charging but it is not a need as my wife explained to me :) Apparently a trip to Bali is a NEED!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Yes, thanks, that is exactly our issue (minus the trip to Bali)---is it worth the cost, and the extra wait, with the end of the federal tax credit looming.

We will mostly use the car for around town commuting, probably less than 30 miles a day on weekdays, and it will spend pretty much every night in our driveway, at least 8 hours, probably 10. Weekends with errands and such there might be multiple trips around town, with brief charging opportunities in between.

We have a 2014 Honda Insight parallel hybrid (great car!) that gets 50 mpg on the highway except in really cold temps, which will serve for most over-the-road trips. On rare long trips in the Volt, 2.5 hour charging is better than 4.5, but still probably not sufficiently short to make a dedicated stop to recharge worth the time. And if we stop for a meal, the probability of finding a Level 2 charging station at the establishment is still low.

I'd welcome any other opinions on the decision.

Thanks.

--Chris
Driving 30 miles per day you could easily get by with Level 1 charging at the 12 amp setting (~4 miles range per hour of charging.) Level 2 charging at 3.6kW would be faster (~12 miles range per hour of charging.) If you have decided to purchase a 2019 Volt Premier for the power driver's seat, DC1 and were adding DC2 and ACC then the 7.2kW charger would be part of the Premier package. Otherwise the 7.2kW on-board charger is not needed, probably best used with a commercial Level 2 charger when charging away from home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,680 Posts
It is really nice to have some form of 240v charging at home - though many seem to get by with 120v. For example, pre-conditioning in the winter works a lot better with 240v. With the 3.6 kW charging, pre-conditioning can draw a little more power than the charger can provide. So the battery charge can drop a little bit. With 7.2 kW charging, the charger could easily keep up.

The 7.2 kW charger is also quite helpful when charging at public spots. Some of them charge by time rather than how much energy was transferred. So the more you can draw per unit of time the better. Same with workplace charging where sometimes you get a limited time slot, so again want to draw as much as you can during the allocated time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,488 Posts
Its just a matter of time when the 7.2 KWH charging will be standard on the Volt. GM probably just wanted to use all the remaining 3.6 KWH charging units first, so they were standard on all LT's 2019 Volts. Of course than GM offered a 7.2 Unit for the LT for $750.00 more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
I would think that for 7.2KW of charging power you would actually need a 36 (or 40) amp breaker if they even make a 36. That would give you 20% overhead, I assume these numbers have been thrown around 5000 times on this forum already though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
485 Posts
No, it will not affect Level 1 charge times at all.

For Level 2, assuming the proper equipment is installed, your charge time will decrease from 4.5 hours to about 2.5 hours.

To give you an idea of how this will work in "the real world" my driving patterns sound similar to yours. I generally get a full charge, even at Level 1-8 amps, if I plug in by 8pm and leave at 8am the next day, as I usually get home with around 25 miles of range left. If I get home empty, I switch to 12 amps and might be 4 miles short of a full charge the next morning. It doesn't typically make a difference, as it's more than enough to cover my next day's driving and I catch up on the last 4 miles the next night.

You should have no issue getting by with Level 1 charging.

For Level 2 charging, I always say the difference is whether my car is done charging by 10:30 at night or 1 in the morning, which I really don't care about.

In my opinion, 7.2 charging is a nice throw-in if you have your heart set on a 2019 Premier for some other identifiable reason (you love blue seats, you must have a power driver's seat, or you prefer one of the new colors). But on its own, it's not a reason to turn down a much better deal on a 2018, or to spend $750 on to add to an LT.

I'll throw in the caveat that it may be worth it if you often depend on commercial charging stations with time limitations or which charge by the hour rather than the kWh. But this applies to very few people who are looking at a Volt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
True - You're not going to get 7,200 watts through a 30 amp breaker

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the great input; very helpful.

It sounds like 120 V level 1 charging would suffice for our needs. Now a couple other questions, if I may. Our Volt would be outside all the time, in the driveway when charging. I've read that the stock level 1 charger is weatherproof. True? I will also need to hire an electrician to install a 110 V outlet on a dedicated circuit. Should I have this be on the outside of the house? Or install it inside the garage and then run the cord to the outside? To say it another way, is there a need to be able to see the box that is part of the cord, when starting or finishing a charge? Can I leave it plugged in when not charging the car? I've also given some thought to installing a switch associated with the new outlet, so I can turn off the power to it when not actively charging, just as a safety feature. Thoughts? Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
Thanks for all the great input; very helpful.

It sounds like 120 V level 1 charging would suffice for our needs. Now a couple other questions, if I may. Our Volt would be outside all the time, in the driveway when charging. I've read that the stock level 1 charger is weatherproof. True? I will also need to hire an electrician to install a 110 V outlet on a dedicated circuit. Should I have this be on the outside of the house? Or install it inside the garage and then run the cord to the outside? To say it another way, is there a need to be able to see the box that is part of the cord, when starting or finishing a charge? Can I leave it plugged in when not charging the car? I've also given some thought to installing a switch associated with the new outlet, so I can turn off the power to it when not actively charging, just as a safety feature. Thoughts? Thanks.
If you are going to have to pay an electrician to install a new dedicated circuit for charging the Volt go ahead and have the electrician install a 230V circuit. It won't cost much more than a 110V circuit (4 wire bundle instead of 3 wire bundle, double pole breaker instead of single pole breaker.) The labor cost would be the same. This should be a 20 amp circuit minimum. If you can park the Volt close to the house/garage then the charging cord would reach the Volt, the outlet would be inside the garage and not exposed to the elements. If you are going to install a 230V circuit, particularly for an outdoor installation, consider hard wiring the EVSE (you would need an EVSE specifically made for hard-wired installation), there would be no outlet/plug where water could infiltrate the receptacle and corrode the connection over time. The EVSE would be wired directly to a weather-rated junction box. Consult with your electrician about your options when installing a Level 2 230V hard-wired EVSE, they should know the applicable electrical codes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
485 Posts
Agreed that if you're going to get a dedicated circuit installed anyway, you might as well install a Level 2 capable circuit. You could even install it via a standard dryer outlet and get a level 2 charger so that you can easily take the charger with you if you move, or use other appliances in the garage if you ever go away from EVs. The largest cost component for level 2 charging is the labor for the electrician, which won't change much from L1-L2. Maybe $50 or so extra for heavier guage wire, but admittedly I haven't done this so I don't know the part costs. Level 2 chargers can be had for around $200 now, and you won't need a pricier/faster one with the Volt's smaller battery.

I am an avid supporter of using the Volt on Level 1, as I have found it to be very useable, and I think Volt detractors often talk about the need for expensive renovations as a downside to Volt and other EVs. I think some people are reluctant to even look at a car if they believe (wrongly) that it will require costly investments elsewhere in their life. Disabusing them of this notion helps sell the car. All that said, if you're going to get work done anyway, you might as well go L2. It is marginally more efficient with charging losses, and the charging time improvement (while in my view largely not strictly necessary on a PHEV like the Volt) is a nice side benefit.

I'd also note that you may not need to install a new standard outlet in the garage if you've already got one. If everything else on the circuit is pretty low draw, with up to code copper wiring, you should be okay. I wouldn't plug a Volt into anything that was wired in the 70s or earlier, or which you know uses aluminum wiring.

You're correct that the EVSE is waterproof, but the plug connection to the outlet is not, so if you decide on an outside install, you should add a cover like this onto your outlet: https://www.amazon.com/Made-While-W...keywords=greenfield+weatherproof+outlet+cover

I have this cover on my home (no garage), and I leave the EVSE plugged in all the time, coming out the bottom hole, with the bottom of the box locked. I've had no issues so far.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,763 Posts
In my case I'm using my 240V 20a circuit I installed for my air compressor (that isn't used that often) since my used Volt came with an L2 EVSE. The plug is inside protected from weather and will come in handy when the resto of my 4x4 Tercel is done so the Volt can park inside. Currently I charge it out side and leave the garage door up for the couple hours needed to charge it as it doesn't get cold here (West Coast). Even if it did (couple day cold snap where it might fall below freezing) I could lower the garage door with just enough space for cord under the door protected by some boards (door lowering is adjustable). When not charging, everything is inside. I use a 20a 240v double pole rocker switch (about $25 I think) to cut juice to EVSE when not in use for power surge protection during wind storms (no lightning here). I just hang the cord on the hooks with the compressor air hose.

05 240V Level 2 Charger.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
I fully agree - put in the 220V circuit, especially if you're going to pay somebody for install. But I would strongly recommend against hardwiring anything.
I got my Duosida charger from some random guy on ebay for between $200 -$250 and it has worked fine for almost 2 years so far. I need a full charge every night and my $0.049/kwh rate is only good for 11pm -7am, so trickle charging is out for me. My outlet only has 2 hots and a ground (no neutral), so regular 12-2 wire works fine, if you wire both ends correctly. I have my outlet inside and the charger inside and then run the cord under the door, which wasn't very smart because now I've damaged the cord with the door. There are various pass through ports you could get that would allow equipment inside but charging outside. There are "in use" covers for outlet boxes that you could get - that would add about $10 (look for them where GFI's are in stores) that would allow everything outside. My charger is fully sealed against the elements, but you could always put in under a bucket or something. If the car is charging outside, you will get snow and ice around the charging port and have to clean it out before you can shut the port and leave in the morning.
I will also point out that if your charger is plugged in outside and not padlocked somehow, one day it may disappear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
OK, I'm beginning to understand. Sorry for another naive question--something is going to have to run from inside the garage to outside.

If I put the level 2 EVSE inside, then the long charging cord will have to run to the outside. I'd rather not run it under the garage door, so that means drilling a hole in the garage wall, which is fine, but how does one run the long charging cord through the whole? The boxy EVSE is on one end, and the nozzle is on the other. Can the cord be temporarily disconnected from the EVSE? That would probably mean opening the box and working with some wires. I wonder if that would void the warranty?

Alternatively, I get could an outdoor rated EVSE and mount it on the exterior wall. But they all seem to have very short cords from the box to the wall outlet--perhaps that is a design or code requirement? The cord with the plug on the end seems pretty short to reach in through the wall to a new, interior, 240 V outlet.

Perhaps that leaves the exterior hard-wired approach as the most feasible option?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,838 Posts
OK, I'm beginning to understand. Sorry for another naive question--something is going to have to run from inside the garage to outside.

If I put the level 2 EVSE inside, then the long charging cord will have to run to the outside. I'd rather not run it under the garage door, so that means drilling a hole in the garage wall, which is fine, but how does one run the long charging cord through the whole? The boxy EVSE is on one end, and the nozzle is on the other. Can the cord be temporarily disconnected from the EVSE? That would probably mean opening the box and working with some wires. I wonder if that would void the warranty?

Alternatively, I get could an outdoor rated EVSE and mount it on the exterior wall. But they all seem to have very short cords from the box to the wall outlet--perhaps that is a design or code requirement? The cord with the plug on the end seems pretty short to reach in through the wall to a new, interior, 240 V outlet.

Perhaps that leaves the exterior hard-wired approach as the most feasible option?
The EVSE power plug is limited to 12 inches length by code. Unless you made up a piece of exterior trim that was in two halves, with a hole in the middle for the charging cord to pass through there is no easy way to disassemble the charging cord from the EVSE. The outdoor EVSE may be the way to go. You can purchase an EVSE that is designed to be hard wired into a junction box with no plug. Unlike a plug-in EVSE that can be readily relocated the hard-wired EVSE should be considered a semi-permanent installation. Just to get an idea, see the Clippercreek website, the EVSEs are available with and without a plug for hard wiring to the power source.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,521 Posts
I have a Duosida EVSE plugged into an outlet in the garage and I lower the garage door down on top of the cable with absolutely no problems. It's a new aluminum garage door with a nice rubber gasket along the bottom, and the cable exits at one of the corners. The Duosida cable is very rugged compared to the EVSE that came with the Volt. After all the door is not a guillotine and it exerts very little pressure on the cable--probably a lot less than stepping on it.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top