Is Your Charging Station Ready For Winter?

NOV 20 2018 BY TOM MOLOUGHNEY

Some chargers handle the bitter cold better than the rest.

Just a few short years ago, there were very little options with regards to electric cars. Luckily that’s changing, and we’re seeing more and more established brands jump on the EV bandwagon and bring an electric vehicle with their nameplate to market.

That’s good because there’s no one-size-fits-all car. Consumers need options to choose from like all-electric sedans, coupes, hatchbacks, SUVs, CUVs, and hopefully soon, pick-up trucks. The same goes for electric vehicle charging stations. Not long ago there were only a couple different units available, with very little difference in features. Today there are many choices, and each with their own specific advantages and disadvantages. Consumers need to look at the features that each charging station offers to determine which suits their needs best.

When choosing a home charging station, it’s important to consider the durability of a charging station, especially if you mount it outside, or live in an area that has harsh weather conditions. With winter approaching, this can be especially pertinent if you live in a northern region, particularly if you have to mount the station outdoors.

The good news is there are charging stations that are specially designed to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. One such example is the FLO Home charging station. FLO Home comes in two models, the X5 network-connected charging station, and G5, which in non-networked.

Flo Home in Carbon

The FLO Home is designed and manufactured in Canada, so they really know how tough winters can be on outdoor equipment. That’s why the FLO Home has a heavy-duty 100% aluminum outer casing. Most charging stations have a plastic outer casing, which can become brittle and crack in extreme weather, unlike FLO Home. The casing is NEMA 4 rated, which protects against windblown or splashed dust & rain, snow, sleet & ice, corrosion and even a directly-sprayed hose.

That’s important because while other charging stations may be “outdoor rated”, they may not be NEMA 4-compliant. For instance, the ChargePoint Home and AeroVironment EVSE-RS are only NEMA 3 rated, which provides less protection from the elements. If you live in an area that frequently gets driving rain or snow, you should make sure your charging station has a NEMA 4 rating.

FLO Home X5 offers power-sharing so two charging stations can share one circuit

Another feature that makes the FLO Home user-friendly in cold weather is the long, 25-foot industrial-grade cable that is certified for temperatures ranging from -40 degrees F to 125 degrees F and stays flexible in all conditions. A frozen-stiff cable is not very user-friendly, but that won’t happen with the FLO Home.

FLO Home also has a convenient built-in cable holder and connector holster. These features are elegantly incorporated into the sleek design and allow for quick access and storing when not in use. The FLO Home X5 is available in two high-resistance coatings, Carbon and Tungsten, while the G5 is available only with the Carbon finish.

FLO Home PLC setup

However, the FLO Home isn’t just tough, it’s smart, also. The FLO Home X5 is network-connected via FLO’s “HomePlug” Power Line Communication module. Power Line Communication (PLC) is more stable than WiFi, no matter where the unit is installed. As such, it ensures a reliable service and allows FLO to provide remote monitoring and real-time technical support. The PLC module is a simple plug-and-play device that’s easy to install.

The connected X5 also has the ability to schedule charging, and limit or shut down output during peak periods. This allows the user to avoid peak demand surcharges from their utility. It also allows power-sharing, which is a great feature for multi-EV families. This allows two FLO X5 Home charging stations to be installed on the same circuit without overloading it. Perfect for the two-EV family, and also future-proofs those that have one EV now, but plan to have two in the future.

FLO Home is easy to install inside or outside any home, and FLO produced a helpful installation video to help with that. The power supply can be fed from either the rear or the bottom of the unit. As an added value, FLO has teamed up with Qmerit to provide hassle-free installation. This partnership offers installation services by certified installers that specialize in EV charging stations. Customers can receive up to 3 competitive bids from professional electricians anywhere in the US.

Other Notable FLO Home Features

  • 5-year limited warranty (most other charging stations offer only 3 years)
  • Adjustable output current (6-amps to 30-amps)
  • Integrated GFCI circuit breaker that protects your vehicle and your home against fluctuations in the power grid
  • Meets all applicable UL requirements. CSA certified for Canada and the US
  • Can be used for utility demand response programs.
  • Purchase online at flo.com. Free express shipping anywhere in the US
  • MSRP: $1,095 (X5 with Tungsten casing) / $995 (X5 with Carbon casing) / $795 (G5 model)

There are a lot of reasons to like the FLO Home charging stations. There’s a basic non-connected option (the G5) and the smart X5, which has connected charging station features that few others on the market do. Plus, they are arguably the most durable charging stations available today, and backed by the best warranty in the business. So make sure to check out FLO if you’re shopping for a home charging station, and make sure you’re ready to charge in any weather condition.

***FLO is an advertiser on InsideEVs, but we received no direct compensation for this article.

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