United Chargers is about to release its latest EVSE offering, the Alpha, and they asked us if we'd like to be one of 20 beta testers before its widespread release, and we accepted. The Alpha just arrived so we put together this unboxing, installation, and first impressions video.
The Alpha is a 40-amp, wifi-connected smart charger that promises to have features and functions that are currently unavailable on any other home charging equipment. That's because there's a 7" touchscreen that displays pre-loaded applications and United Chargers promises monthly OTA updates that will add more apps. Alpha owners will also be able to visit an app store that will host 3rd-party applications in the near future.
However, for now, the Alpha is in beta form, and its features are very limited. We'll use the Alpha to charge the various electric vehicles we get on press loan, as well as the 2021 Tesla Model 3 I recently took delivery of, and test out the new features as they become enabled.
You can jump to the following timestamps if you prefer not to watch the entire video:
- @3:45 Interactive 7” touchscreen
- @4:30 Dedicated app store with 3rd party apps available
- @4:50 Can deliver 40-amps (10kW)
- @5:10 Warranty discussion
- @6:05 25-foot cable
- @8:05 Installation
- @17:02 Set 4-digit PIN for unlock
- @17:13 Energy meter
- @17:25 Scheduling
- @17:40 Reports
- @18:00 User accounts
- @19:10 Software updates
- @19:21 Amperage settings
- @19:57 Date & time
- @20:02 Settings
- @22:14 Charging a Tesla Model 3
United Chargers also sells the very popular Grizzl-E charger, which was our Top Choice for a non-smart charger in our The Best Home EV Chargers Guide For 2020. However, the Alpha will sit at the top of the United Chargers product pyramid, as it will be the most dynamic EVSE offered by the company.
In the video, we explain how to install the Alpha, power it up, and go over its basic touchscreen features. We then plug in a Tesla Model 3 to make sure it charges at the full, promised rate of 40-amps.
One thing we should also point out that's discussed in the video is the Alpha's warranty. United Chargers had stated on its website that the warranty would be 5-years and 5 MWh, whichever comes first. When I reached out to them for an installation question I expanded the conversation to include the warranty, which I thought was limited by the 5 MWH cap.
It actually led to a long discussion and when it was concluded, United Chargers agreed to consider upping the warranty to 5-years, or 10 MWh of energy delivered to the EV, whichever comes first. They will let us know the final decision very soon, and we'll make sure to include it in our next Alpha post.
They also may offer an option to allow the customer to purchase a longer warranty with more energy delivered for an additional fee. We think that's much fairer than the original plan, especially for the high-mileage users, and appreciate that United Chargers valued our opinion on this enough to consider changing its position.
Overall, we like what we see with the Alpha. Once it's fully feature-enabled we'll have a better understanding of its capabilities. In our opinion, the Alpha has the opportunity to be one of the best home charging solutions on the North American market, but we obviously need to see it in fully-functional consumer form first.
The Alpha is available for pre-order on the AlphaEVCharger website. If you pre-order one now for $599.00 you'll save $100 off of the full retail price of $699.00. Customer deliveries are currently scheduled to begin this April.