AeroVironment Introduces TurboCord – An Easy and Convenient Dual-Voltage Cordset

3 years ago by Mark Kane 24

AeroVironment TurboCord

AeroVironment TurboCord

AeroVironment TurboCord

AeroVironment TurboCord

AeroVironment recently introduced a rather trick new product: TurboCord.

TurboCord enables one to charge electric vehicles from electrical sockets (both 120 or 240 volts) at higher currents than the EVSE cable typically attached to EVs.

It’s portable, very small, weighs less than five pounds and has a 20-foot cord.

According to AeroVironment, TurboCord has many safety features, but there’s no buttons, just an LED status indicator.

“Its miniaturized electronics and safety features are housed in a compact package that also incorporates the plug. Safety is built into every TurboCord, which is UL (Underwriters Laboratory) listed and incorporates patent-pending technology that monitors the internal temperature of the unit as well as the wall outlet connection, to ensure safe and reliable charging. It is outdoor-rated, watertight with the highest waterproof NEMA 6P rating and durability tested.”

Wahid Nawabi, senior vice president and general manager of AeroVironment’s Efficient Energy Systems business segment, stated:

“TurboCord is very compact, light, powerful and delivers unmatched charging versatility. It will empower drivers to make the transition easily from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles because it simplifies the charging process and can reduce costs significantly”

AeroVironment TurboCord

AeroVironment TurboCord – 120 or 240 V

Depending on the version it’s MSRP is $649 (TurboCord Dual with 120 and 240 V capability) or $599 for only 240 V.

At 120 V , TurboCord can provide up to 12 A. At 240 V, 16 A is possible, enough for basic 3.3 kW on-board chargers.

According to the press release, AeroVironment expects that TurboCord will be especially appealing to plug-in hybrid owners. Nawabi remarked:

“Research shows that plug-in hybrid owners are charging wherever they can to squeeze out more electric miles to avoid using gasoline. TurboCord’s portability and power are perfect for these drivers because they now have the option to charge faster with our dual-voltage cordset.”

But one of TurboCord’s main applications could probably be as standard equipment in new EVs:

“TurboCord will deliver that extra convenience many people are looking for before deciding to drive home from a dealer in an EV, especially when automakers include it in the trunks of new cars. A salesperson can open the trunk on the lot and tell the prospective buyer they can go home and start charging that same night if they have a 120-volt or 240-volt outlet at their home. A similar outlet at their workplace can allow them to drive their EV even farther.”

Nawabi said that AeroVironment’s design eliminated the “pigtail” that comes with other cordsets:

“On one end of the cord there is a small and rugged module that contains all of the miniaturized electronics, which plugs directly into the wall outlet. On the other end of the cord is the coupler that plugs into the car. With TurboCord, an EV driver does not have to contend with the clunky and heavy box on the cord between the vehicle and the wall socket that is found on other cordsets, which can pose safety hazards.”

TurboCord can be ordered at Amazon.com or at the AeroVironment TurboCord website.

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24 responses to "AeroVironment Introduces TurboCord – An Easy and Convenient Dual-Voltage Cordset"

  1. Mike I says:

    “TurboCord enables one to charge electric vehicles from electrical sockets (both 120 or 240 volts) at higher currents than the EVSE cable typically attached to EVs.”

    This is misleading. Most EVs only come with a 120VAC EVSE charge cord. They almost all use a NEMA 5-15P plug which allows the unit to draw 12A. That is the same as this unit. The more accurate statement is that this very portable unit allows higher power than the EVSE cable typically provided with an EV.

    The fact remains that the NEMA 6-20 plug that this unit uses for 240VAC connection is very rare in the wild. To use this at “Grandma’s house” you would need to carry adapters to NEMA 10-30 and/or NEMA 14-30 to get 240V.

    1. Anderlan says:

      So…….what? You mean the adapters are rare and expensive. Aren’t the adapters just passthroughs?

      1. Anderlan says:

        I’d be more excited if it was rated up to 30A. A step in the right direction, anyway.

      2. Mike I says:

        My point is that it’s not so plug-and-play as one might think because out of the box it doesn’t fit the 240V sockets that you’re likely to find. Adapters are simple and inexpensive, especially since they only pass 16A for this thing. I would think EVSEadapters.com should add 6-20R to their options now.

      3. Mike I says:

        Just read the Owner’s Manual for this unit.
        * Never use the charger with an extension cord.
        * Never use the charger with any AC adapter.

        There you have it. This thing is useless as a 240V “travel charger” since you’re not allowed to adapt it to outlets that are already common. Perfectly fine for use at home where you install the matching outlet, but good luck finding a NEMA 6-20R in the wild.

        This is somewhat tongue in cheek because, seriously, who reads manuals and what is the real danger in a 12″ cable that allows you to plug into a dryer outlet.

  2. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    If it fits inside a ChargePoint L1 locking cubby, I’d be fairly interested..

    1. Foo says:

      Meh.

      I (and probably you) can securely make us use of ChargePoint L1 cubbies with my car’s OEM unit already… I just plug a normal cord into the ChargePoint and lock the valuable part of the EVSE under the hood of the car where it can’t be stolen.

  3. James says:

    Cool idea, but too little juice. 3.3kW is too slow unless you have a slow onboard charger.

    1. Bloggin says:

      So it will work well for the Ford C-MAX/Fusion Energi models, Chevy Spark EV and Leaf S that all come with the slower 3.3kWh onboard charger.

    2. io says:

      Huh? 240V 16A is effectively almost 3x as fast as L1, enough to charge any EV except a Tesla from 0 to 100% overnight or during a normal workday.

      As others have noted, the only potential minus I see here is the 6-20 plug. I’ve seen such outlets for air conditioners, which typically don’t sit in the garage… Given the modular design, AV could easily produce adapters for other outlets though (e.g. dryer), and maybe that’s exactly what we’ll see next.

  4. Bill Howland says:

    Looks like Dan finally got the “overpriced Extension Cord” he wanted. Too high priced for what you get, especially since EVSE’s are much lower cost than this unit. Most people would select the 240 volt only unit since it is cheaper and they already have the 120 volt unit with the car. I can do better than $600 and everybody esle can too. That 16 amp bosch thing is what? Weatherproof and $450?. Just put a cord and plug on it and make it portable if you’re gonna plug your volt into grandma’s garage air conditioning outlet.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Or wait for CC or SunCountryHighway.Ca to put that 20 amp ‘brick’ on sale again. It already has the pigtail. Just put on your own plug.

      1. miimura says:

        ClipperCreek LCS-25P, the 240V 20A unit from ClipperCreek that already has a plug provided, is only $549 regular web price. Already less than the $599 of the 240V-only TurboCord and you can choose L6-30, 14-30, 6-50, or 14-50 plugs. Only $495 without input cord or plug.

    2. Dan Frederiksen says:

      Bill, this isn’t what I wanted. This is what I told you it always was.
      J1772 is a glorified extension cord while pretending to be something significant and it greatly hurts the cause and all responsible should be put to death.

      This product is how it could always have been done of course and indeed it can be done much better still, even if we ignore the ridiculous price.
      The obvious way is to have the simple relay electronics in the ridiculously oversized J1772 handle and then the rest is just a normal 2 wire cord and a normal wall socket plug.
      And then the price should match the simplicity that it is. No more than 100$

      1. Bill Howland says:

        I’ve always suggested a hot tub GGCI and a twist lock, but that would depend on the driver hooking up the car end first.

        I was being a bit tongue in cheek.

        I’d save the capital punishment for the more serious crimes, but I’ll advise when its time to ‘Tale of 2 cities – esque’ , invest in Shrouds.

  5. Loboc says:

    I have wanted something like this for a while. I make several trips to relative’s homes in a year.

    Two problems:
    1. Price. Needs to be < $500 with adapters.
    2. Adapter is incorrect for most field 240v. Needs common adapters (I can think of at least 4) included.

    Try again.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      And Now!! A word from our Sponser:

  6. Our JESLA portable 40 amp J1772 charging solution costs a lot more, but is far more versatile. Based solely on the Tesla Model S UMC, when you attach the respective $45 plug, the JESLA will automatically provide the following amperage:

    …………………………………………..VOLTS / AMPS…….kW
    NEMA 5-15 …….Standard Outlet.. 120 V / 12 A…… 1.4 kW
    NEMA 5-20 …… Motel air conditioner 120/16A……. 1.9 kW
    NEMA 10-30……Older Dryers…… 240 V / 24 A…… 5.8 kW
    NEMA 14-30……Newer Dryers….. 240 V / 24 A…… 5.8 kW
    NEMA 6-50 …….Welding Equip…. 240 V / 40 A…… 9.6 kW
    NEMA 14-50……RVs and Camps.. 240 V / 40 A…… 9.6 kW

    1. Nate says:

      That thing is pretty cool.

    2. Scott says:

      Thaqt thing is so overpriced it took my breath away. $1,000 for a glorified extension cord? We shouldn’t have to pay that much for leftover charging cords from Tesla roadsters. Pretty sure that’s what they are.

  7. Steve N66167 says:

    There is little benefit to using this device when all is said. The power consumption from plugging into a residential outlet still affects your domestic power bill. The only way to deviate from this is to install a second power meter acquiring a TOU-EV-1 off peak rate from your service utility provider. Otherwise, a conventional plug-in charging method will most likely increase to a lever 4 tier, bad news if your charging your EV over 6hrs @ 240 v. @ 16amp =23040wh. You might as well buy a gas vehicle instead. Most second meter installation will run between 2,000-2,500 dollars. The money you save in power would offset the investment in one year. A EVSE that has a charging rate of 240 v. @ 30amp will produce 7,200watts of power, over double what the Turbo Cord will produce. New technology in battery systems will soon increase batter capacity in Hybrid and EV. There is no way you are passing that much current through a 20amp standard household outlet.

    1. >>>> There is no way you are passing that much current through a 20amp standard household outlet. <<<<

      You can safely run the 16 amps that the Turbo cord thing is designed to use, since you do not want to exceed 80% of the circuit for a continuous load. 80% of a 20 amp circuit is 16 amps.

      If your talking about the 40 amp JESLA that I mentioned, no, you of course don't pull 40 amps from a 20 amp circuit. You do that from a 50 amp circuit, since 80% of 50 amps is 40 amps.

      30 amp "dryer circuits" can take 24 amps continuous.
      20 amp "motel air conditioners" can take 16 amps continuous.

      The remainder of your comments are mostly just wrong. A second electric meter on your house doesn't have to cost $2500 (my utility installed it for free), nor is a second meter required at all to charge an electric car.

      Your specific issues to Time Of Use (TOU) and Tiers obviously only applies on specific rate plans in specific markets. Folks in Washington state who enjoy 6 cent per kWh of hydro power aren't worrying about TOU !!!

      Just buying a gasoline car because you pay more than the 12 cent average for electricity is extremely knee jerk and short sighted.

      1. Nate says:

        Yeah I agree Tony, so many things didn’t add up in that comment I didn’t know where to start.

        Second meter install saves $2 – $5k a year? I don’t pay even $2k for over the course of 2 years for my entire home, let alone my car. My utility offers TOU rates with no charge for a second meter. Actually, even if I was on a TOU program and charged at the worst possible time instead of the best, it is still less than buying gas.

  8. Nate says:

    Surprised about all the negative responses.

    I recently added an L2 charger to a garage which had no 240 V power. I ended up going with a hard wired Clipper Creek model, but was thinking about the plug in Clipper Creek LCS-25P model. I see some things I like about the dual unit compared to the LCS-25P. Unlike the LCS-25P, this one would also give you the flexibility to work on 110V. Also, unlike the LCS-25P this one is rated for outdoor use. Next, it is extremely compact. I don’t know about you but not needing to take up extra wallspace on your garage wall seems like a decent benefit.

    The $100 difference in price is pretty small, especially if you have any state credit for a % of the cost (or if the Fed incentive were to come back).