PLC: A Secure Connection For Your Electric Car Charger
DEC 18 2018 BY STAFF
As more and more electric vehicle charging stations offer network-connected features and smart-charging options, it’s important to know your smart EVSE won’t lose its connection when you most need it.
Most smart home electric vehicle charging stations today rely on a Wi-Fi for their network connection. We rely on the EVSE to deliver power to our EVs when we need it, and it’s crucial that the vehicle be charged and ready to go in the morning. Wi-Fi may not be ideal to rely on, that’s because we all know our devices can frequently lose their Wi-Fi connections, rendering them useless. Also, we must take into consideration that electric vehicle charging stations are typically located in garages, or attached outside the home along the driveway. Those locations are not ideal for Wi-Fi, unless the owner invests in a repeater to extend the network, and even then it may not always remain connected.
The good news is the FLO Home X5 doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi. FLO is one of the few EVSE manufacturers that uses a Power-Line Connection (PLC), which provides a more stable communication signal than Wi-Fi, no matter where the unit is installed. But that’s not all, take a look at some more advantages of PLC over Wi-Fi:
- It offers a reduced risk of connection interference when there are multiple Wi-Fi devices at home.
- PLC gives an extended range of 900’ for the EVSE installation location, whereas Wi-Fi only reaches 150’ for an indoor installation and 300’ for an outdoor installation.
- This communication provides FLO with a continuous connection to the charging station, allowing for remote monitoring and real-time technical support.
- Demand Response Events can be triggered in an efficient manner as utilities will have continuous access to charging stations.
- PLC module is a simple, plug-and-play device that is simple to install (See illustration below).
- PLC model IEEE P901 from the HomePlug PowerLine Alliance
- No need for extra wiring as PLC runs through existing electrical wires
The FLO Home X5 offers smart-charger features that few other charging stations do and you can access these features from a secure online portal or from the FLO mobile app. This allows easy access to FLO Home X5 features like:
- Charging Schedule: Limit or shut down output current during peak periods. Can also be used to prevent usage while away or avoid peak demand surcharges when using other appliances.
- Power Sharing: Allows two FLO Home X5 to be installed on the same breaker. Future-proofs the owner’s house for the purchase of a second electric vehicle.
- No extra rewiring is required as Power Sharing is automatically configured via stations’ PLCs.
- Access to usage data online or on mobile app.
- Automatic software updates so that new features are added over time.
However, being a smart charging station isn’t enough, it also needs to be durable, and that may be FLOs best attribute. All FLO Home charging stations have an industrial-strength outer casing that can stand up to any environment. Here at InsideEVs we’ve tested just about every charging station on the market, and the FLO Home is probably the strongest, most durable unit we’ve encountered.
- Suited for indoor or outdoor installation
- Aluminum is a sturdy and durable material, ensuring longevity of the product and offering the best protection for the unit’s electronic parts
- Casing is NEMA 4X certified, meaning it protects against foreign objects entering the unit, as well as water and damage caused by the formation of ice on the enclosure, offering a superior level of protection from corrosion and extreme environments.
- NEMA 4X protects against:
- Windblown dust and rain
- Splashing rain
- Hose directed water
- Snow, sleet, ice
And it’s not just a superior outer casing, FLO offers an industry-best standard 25’ industrial-grade cable that:
- Is certified for temperatures ranging from -40 °F to 125 °F and stays flexible in all conditions. This isn’t true for all charging stations. Many become frozen and stiff in the winter months.
- The long 25′ cable length is optimized to provide easy access to the vehicle’s charging port, no matter where the station is installed.
- Comes with a high-quality universal J1772 connector designed to withstand 10,000+ charging cycles.
Sleek and Practical Design
Flo Home is designed with a built-in connector holster and cable management. That allows quick and easy storage after each use and prevents the cable from laying on the ground. It’s also very important to have the connector properly holstered when not in use. This protects the connector’s contacts from contaminants like dust, dirt and water.
The aluminum outer casing is not only sturdy, but also has a high-end, refined look and is available in two high-resistance coatings – Carbon or Tungsten. (FLO Home G5 is only available with Carbon finish)
FLO also took installation into consideration when designing the Home charging stations. The power supply cable can be inserted from either the rear or underneath the station. This allows for a neat installation whether you’re installing the FLO inside a garage or outside a house. There’s also plenty of space inside the unit to attach the power and ground wires without hassle.
FLO is also helping to take the hassle out of the installation process. Through its partnership with QMerit, FLO 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 Key Features Of The FLO Home
- Adjustable output current (6 to 30 A- FLO Home G5 model only)
- 5-year limited warranty (industry average: 3 years)
- Integrated GFCI circuit breaker that protects your vehicle against fluctuations in the power grid
- NEMA 6-50 plug included (Your electrician can hard-wire or connect the plug at your choice)
- Meets all applicable UL requirements. CSA certified for Canada and the US
- Made in Canada
- Can be used for utility demand response programs.
- Purchase online at flo.com or on amazon.com. Free express shipping anywhere in the US
The FLO Home line of EVSEs are a welcome addition to the electric vehicle charging market in the US. They are priced at the higher-end of the market, but they are high-quality, durable units that offer a 5-year warranty, which is the longest warranty we’ve come across so far. With PLC technology, the smart-charger Home X5 will offer a reliable network connection, ensuring your EV is ready to go when you need it. All FLO Home EVSEs are safety certified, have a long 25′ cable standard are NEMA-4 rated and have cables specifically designed to remain flexible in the coldest environments. If you’re looking for a long-lasting, high-quality charging station, definitely include FLO products in your consideration.
MSRP: $1,095 (X5 w/ Tungsten casing) / $995 (X5 w/ Carbon casing) / $795 (G5 model)
***FLO is an advertiser on InsideEVs, but we received no direct compensation for this article.