Review of the ClipperCreek charging station for electric and plug-in hybrid cars

Car Tips, How-To | April 10th, 2017 by 0
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When it comes to electric vehicle charging equipment, there’s certainly no shortage of choices. Even though it’s a relatively new market, there are dozens of …

When it comes to electric vehicle charging equipment, there’s certainly no shortage of choices. Even though it’s a relatively new market, there are dozens of manufacturers selling products that allow owners to safely and conveniently charge their electric cars.

However there is one EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) manufacturer that has more experience than any other company, and their roots go back into the early 1990s, supplying the home charging equipment for the Tesla Roadster. ClipperCreek, has been making EV charging equipment for over twenty years now, and manufactures all of their products in the USA.

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I’ve been using ClipperCreek products to charge my electric cars since 2009, as BMW choose ClipperCreek as their partner to provide the charging equipment for the MINI-E Trial Lease Program. I’ve never had any problems with any of my ClipperCreek equipment and I still use my original CS-40 EVSE that came with my MINI-E.

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However, I also have a version of the latest generation of EVSEs from ClipperCreek, an HCS-40p. The HCS-40 and the HCS 40p can supply 32 amps at 240v, and deliver up to 7.7kW to the vehicle. The only EVs currently on sale that can accept more than 7.7kW at 240v are the Tesla Models S and X, and the Mercedes B250e (which uses a Tesla-made onboard charger). So the HCS-40 line of EVSEs is more than powerful enough for the vast majority of today’s electric vehicles.

For instance, the BMW i3 can accept up to 7.7kW, but the rest of BMW’s line of PHEVs, including the i8, the X5-40e, the 330e, the 530e and the 740e are all limited to a maximum of charging at 3.7kW. This is because plug in hybrid vehicles have smaller batteries than full electric cars to, and thus don’t require such high speed charging.

However if you do want more power, for instance to future-proof your garage, ClipperCreek has you covered. They also sell the HCS-50 and HCS-50p, which both deliver 40amps of power, which translates to a maximum of 9.6kW. The HCS-60 steps up the delivery to 48 amps and a full 11.5kW. For the ultimate in home EV charging, the CS-100 can deliver 80 amps to the vehicle, which is a whopping 19.2kW. This power delivery rivals the speed that some of the lower-powered DC Fast chargers, but currently only Tesla vehicles can accept such high a level of power from a level 2, 240v EVSE.

I received my HCS-40p about a year ago and it’s lived up to the reputation that past ClipperCreek products have earned. Made from airline-grade plastics they are probably the toughest EVSEs on the market. There’s even a video of ClipperCreek employees beating an HCS-40 with a baseball bat, and the bat broke before the station did.

The HCS line comes in both hard-wired and plug-in models. The plug-in offerings are distinguishable by the “p” at the end of the model name. If it has the “p”, than it’s the plug in version. You can order the plug-in versions with either a NEMA 14-50 or NEMA 6-50 plug. Therefore, you can have your electrician install the 240v you choose before you even buy the EVSE.

Personally I prefer having the plug in option, which is why I got the HCS-40p. It’s a little more expensive, ($589 compared to $565 for the HSC-40) but it offers the flexibility of easy installation – you simply screw it into the wall and plug it in. Having the plug also means it’s not permanently installed in one place. If the need arises, you can unplug it, remove the two screws and relocate it.

I test electric vehicle charging equipment and review new products, so you can see how the HCS-40 compares in size to many other EVSE options available today in the picture below. It is one of the larger packages available today, and the body of the unit is used for cable management, you simply wrap the cable around it. There is a separate connector holster included that you can locate where it’s most convenient, as well as a lock and key so you can deter someone from unplugging your car.

ClipperCreek has an extensive list of electric vehicle charging equipment and probably offer more options than any other company. All of their Level 2, 240v EVSEs come standard with a 25 foot cable, which is optional on the products of many of their competitors.

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