We got our hands on an early build of the Grizzl-E Smart and tested it out for a few weeks before putting together our full charging stating review. The Grizzl-E Smart is a 40-amp WiFi-connected smart charger from United Chargers and is now available for purchase for $539.00.
We found the Grizzl-E Smart to be a very good value, as you could pay hundreds more for a similarly-equipped smart charger, and still not get the toughness of the Grizzl-E, or more importantly, its ability to connect with any OCPP-compliant EV charging station software.
Why OCPP matters
OCPP (Open Charge Point Protocol) is an open-source communication protocol for networked electric vehicle charging stations and can be used for both residential and commercial applications. The OCPP was created to allow any electric vehicle charging station to communicate seamlessly with any EV charging station management software.
The way smart chargers work today is the same company that sells the charging station also develops an app to which you connect the charging station and use to control it. However, what happens if you really like a particular charging station, but hate the app that comes with it, or visa-versa? Basically, you're stuck with the app that the charging station maker provides.
There are some charging stations today that are OCPP compliant, but they must be provisioned with the server details during the firmware load. The Grizzl-E is the first EVSE with OCPP which is "soft provisioned", meaning that during charger set up you enter the OCPP server details.
You can then reset the station and change the server to utilize software from another company. You're never tethered to a single app; you can try out as many as you'd like until you find the one you like best. That allows the customer to choose the app that offers the features they find most useful.
It also means the Grizzl-E Smart is not only suited for residential use but is capable of becoming a commercial charging station that collects payments with a QR code. It can be implemented in multi-family dwellings like apartment buildings and condominium complexes. It will also work perfectly for workplace charging and even strictly commercial use like public parking garages and shopping center parking lots.
The Grizzl-E smart can now connect with AmpUp or ChargeLab software, and United Chargers is working on getting many of the more than 400 EV charging station software providers to also enable Grizzl-E Smart connectivity. Soon, you'll have dozens of choices to choose from and will be able to select the app that you like most.
Not just smart, it's tough and full of features
The Grizzl-E Smart retains all of the great qualities that have made the Grizzl-E Classic one of the most popular EV charging stations available today, and our pick for the best non-smart charging station in the InsideEVs 2020 charging station buyers guide.
It's a 40-amp EVSE that can deliver up to 10 kW to the vehicle. That will add on average between 25 and 35 miles to an EV, depending on how efficient the vehicle is. However, if you cannot supply the necessary 50-amp dedicated circuit needed for a 40-amp EVSE, you can easily de-rate the power to either 32-amps, 24-amps, or 16-amps with internal dip switches. United Chargers will even set the switches for you when you place your order.
It has a NEMA-4 rated enclosure and can stand up to extreme weather - after all, it is made in Canada so it has to be able to hold up to the challenging Canadian winters. United Chargers even posted videos of the Grizzl-E being run over by an SUV and then an Argo all-terrain vehicle to demonstrate just how tough the unit is.
It comes standard with a 24-foot premium cable, a rubber cover for the J1772 connector, and is capable of OTA updates. The supplied easy-EV Plug connector holster is designed to allow for hassle-free connector holstering. The Grizzl-E Smart comes in two color choices, black and white, as does the easy-EV Plug.
Tesla owners can get an easy-EV Plug so that it will holster the connector with the J1772 to Tesla adapter attached, so you won't have to disconnect the adapter every time you finish charging. You can simply leave the adapter connected to the Grizzl-E's J1772 connector and holster it as is. It's currently the only charging station that offers that option.
The Grizzl-E Smart is safety certified (UL listed) and is Energy Star rated for high efficiency. It comes standard with a 3-year warranty but a 5-year warranty is available for only $70.00 extra. Heavy users might want to consider paying the extra $35 per year for two more years of worry-free use.
All that added up to us giving the Grizzl-E Smart a 4.7 star rating, the highest rating we've given a charging station as of yet. There are units from other manufacturers that have some better features than the Grizzl-E smart, but the cost and value factor in heavily when we rate charging stations.
That's because we don't think people should have to pay $700 or more for a smart home charging station, and the $539.00 price of the Grizzl-E Smart gives it an advantage over some of its chief competitors, like the ChargePoint Home Flex, Enel X JuiceBox, and WallBox Pulsar Plus.
You can now order your Grizzl-E Smart directly from the United Chargers website. For only $539.00 you have a powerful, tough EVSE that's safety certified and Full of features. So check out the review and decide for yourself if the Grizzl-E Smart is the right choice for your EV charging needs.