My “Charged” magazine arrived today, with an alarming article. Charged (https://goo.gl/K7ppEX
) is a wonderful Electric Vehicles Magazine, available for industry folks at no charge (https://chargedevs.com/free-subscription/
). Each cover promotes the articles inside, and I always peel off my mailing label to see the pertinent headlines. Under my mailing label was an announcement of “Amazon is selling EVSE without safety certifications.” A quick trip to page 72 showed and article written in early January 2017 (a remarkably short lead time for a print article to appear), Clipper Creek, a major, reputable manufacturer had produced a video showing the Amazon results, and showing how many of the offered EVSE are not certified.
OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) ( responsible for workplace safety and more) has produced a list of NRTLs (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories) who can test and certify products as safe. You can find a list of these testing laboratories on the OHSA website at: https://goo.gl/6PvfgC
Each laboratory has a certification symbol; many you won’t recognize, but some you will, among those Underwriter’s Laboratories. NRLT don’t just test the product once on a pass/fail basis, they have ongoing inspections of factories to determine the products are being constucted in the same manner as they were during initial testing. Without a mark of certification from one of these NRLTs, you have no right to assume that a product is safe for use. Some companies say their products have passed rigorous testing, but without the seal of one of the NRLTs, you have no assurances at all.
Based on this, I looked at the Amazon pages for EVSE (EV Service Equipment) or vehicle chargers. I sorted for price, and the first one listed was a Siemen’s charger, a Versicharge 30 Amp. With a L2 (Level 2) J-1772 plug. https://goo.gl/Fy4udZ
Amazon says, “Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed for quality standards.”
The next charger listed was a Siemens that was very similar to the one above, but with a longer cord. https://goo.gl/V3RTnY
This also was UL listed.
The next charger was a Leviton 32 amp charging station with an 18 foot cord. https://goo.gl/EqOBjL
Leviton is a preferred supplier for Honda plug in vehicles, and Leviton states this charger “is compatible with all Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Standards and Recommended Practices, including SAE J1772, NEC 625, UL 2231 and UL 2594.” I did not have individual UL standards available to me, but I believe this qualifies as UL listed.
But, I did not have to go far down the list to find a Leviton Evr-Green 160 Home charging unit https://goo.gl/Vyt3Be
that makes absolutely no mention of any UL or other NRLT certification. Leviton does say it is “Compatible with all Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) standards and recommended practices.” but that does not say it was tested by any of the NRLTs.
Delving farther down Amazon’s list, Charged found EVSE that operated “very hot, worked for a while before acting up, and even burst into flames.”
Please, please, please, if you are purchasing a home charging station, make sure it has a certification from one of the NRLTs and is made by a high quality manufacturer. Next make sure the electrician who puts it in knows about EVSE and it’s characteristics.