Autel's MaxiCharger line of EVSE has quickly become one of the top-rated EV chargers on the market today. With a wide array of options, power levels and colors, there's a MaxiCharger to suit the wants and needs of most EV owners.
Last year I reviewed a 40-amp MaxiCharger Elite and was impressed with its specifications, construction, and smart charging features. It did, however, have one serious flaw: it was equipped with the worst-performing cold-weather cable that I've ever tested.
Autel MaxiCharger Lite Key Features
When I perform our comprehensive EV charger reviews, one of the tests I conduct is a cold-weather cable test. The test is designed to test how well the cable will perform if it is mounted outside in very cold weather. I deep freeze the unit in sub-zero temperature for twenty-four hours and then see how flexible the cable is, as well as how easy it is to coil up and store after charging.
The cable on the MaxiCharger we tested last year performed so badly that I was forced to say I wouldn't recommend the unit for anyone who lives in a cold weather climate, particularly if they needed to install the charger outdoors.
Autel reached out to me immediately after the review and said they weren't aware of the cable's cold temperature problem, but would immediately begin the search for a better cable and once they have one, they will ship me another test unit to review.
The Autel MaxiCharger's cold weather cable test
I also spoke to John Thomas, the then COO of Autel at the New York Auto Show this year and John told me they had sourced a new cable and would send me a review unit as soon as they had them, which he did.
Since I reviewed a 40-amp MaxiCharger Elite model last time, for this review I requested a 50-amp MaxiCharger Lite. The MaxiCharger Lite is a slightly less expensive version and doesn't have the glass panel on the top of the charger. However, the features are all the same as the Elite.
The Elite used to offer a few advantages over the Lite, but Autel informed me that they now include all the same features in the Lite, and the difference is only the glass panel on the front, which isn't a functional touchscreen, it's just for appearance.
Autel does sell a commercial version of the MaxiCharger Elite which does have a working touchscreen, but that's aimed at business use and retails for $989.00.
The MaxiCharger Lite performed well in my extreme heat test and automatic restart test and I was looking forward to seeing how well the new cable fared in the deep freeze test. Unfortunately, the new cable still failed the test and was difficult to manipulate when frozen.
Autel MaxiCharger Lite 50-A ChargerRater score
It was definitely better than the cable it replaced, but I believe it's still not good enough to recommend for use in cold weather climates. That's unfortunate because other than that, the MaxiCharger is an exceptionally good unit.
It has a nice connector, the enclosure is NEMA-4 rated, so it's suitable for outdoor installations in any climate. It is Energy Star-certified and CSA approved and when hardwired can deliver up to 50-amps (12 kW) to an EV. Most EVs are limited to accepting 48 amps so a 50 amp charger is just about as powerful as an EV needs.
There are a few EVs with very large batteries that can accept 80 amps (F-150 Lightning, Lucid Air, and some of the new Ultium-based EVs from GM) but the vast majority of EVs are limited to 48 amps on AC power.
All Autel MaxiChargers are smart chargers that can connect to the Autel app via wifi, Bluetooth, and ethernet cable. They have access control through the app and customers can also order RFID cards for those who want access without using the app. The units can power share with up to 6 MaxiChargers, which makes them a great choice for multifamily installations where there aren't enough circuits to offer full power to each charger.
The MaxiCharger Lite 50-amp that I reviewed has a retail price of $569.00 and is available with an integrated or remote connector holster. The 40-amp version that comes with a NEMA 14-50 plug sells for $459.00, but as of today is on sale on Amazon for only $399.00.