When ChargePoint dropped the ChargePoint Home EVSE into the world back in 2015, it was pretty much a “Holy Hannah, can you do that?” moment.
There were very few home chargers for electric vehicles that had the kind of bells and whistles of the ChargePoint Home. Smart charging was more or less an emerging notion and still relatively clunky.
The ChargePoint Home straightened out quite a few clunks, bringing Wi-Fi-connected smart-charging into the here and now as a realistic option.
What’s more, it was not only the smartest charger on the block, it also didn’t take up the whole room. It had sleek looks like a German-made home appliance rather than the slightly clucky cyberpunk look of something that belonged in a mad professor’s garage – a feature of some of the other leading charging stations at the time.
It was more or less the iMac of EV chargers, dropped into a steam-powered, crank-handled world.
It… erm… it went on to do rather well.
In fact, it went on to largely dominate the market as people realized it was something they could own and use and cut down the hassle of charging the electric vehicles significantly, and that, while sleek, it was also robust enough to do the things they needed it to do, relentlessly, month after month.
Which is all fine and dandy – but what do you do to top something like that? If you tinker too much, you risk losing the appeal that gave you a market-smashing product.
If you stay too still with your next product evolution, you can look uninspired and like old news compared to the competition.
Enter the ChargePoint Home Flex.
And what can it do that its venerable ancestor can’t?
One major thing. When ChargePoint launched the Home, 32 amps was about the limit of home charging because the electric vehicles of the time couldn’t take more than that.
Then the likes of the Enel JuiceBox 40 arrived – another smart-connected, app-happy EV charger that could deliver 40 amps, and the cars started appearing that could take what it dished out.
In fairness, the JuiceBox 40 is probably the only real contender against which it’s fair to compare the ChargePoint Home. Still, by arriving later, it was able to steal a march on the JuiceBox Home, by upping the amperage and achieving a power advantage over ChargePoint.
Now though, there are electric cars that can take even more power than the JuiceBox 40 can deliver. The Tesla Model 3, among others, looks at 40 amps and sniffs haughtily, taking up to 48 amps.
Boom! The ChargePoint Home Flex can charge vehicles at up to 50 amps, which gives it a new “How d’ya like them apples?” advantage over its nearest rival in the charge-speed war.
It’s more than that, though. By delivering 50 amps, the ChargePoint Home Flex can offer maximum speed charging to any electric vehicle on the US market today.
If you want the fastest charger out there, it has an “accept no substitutes” vibe right now. And the important thing is that the 50 amp threshold will likely be in place for a long while.
Many OEMs have already said they’re unlikely to supply chargers beyond the 40-48 amp range.
Because number 1, it’s hard to do, and number 2, domestic properties are unlikely to have the capacity for a dedicated 100-amp circuit – which you’d need to deliver something like an 80 amp charger.
You could technically get there, but it would involve a major rewiring job right now, and the cars that need that level of commitment aren’t yet around. It’s a home charger.
It works while the car sits there – unless you have imminent turn-around plans, the likelihood of you needing that much power in that much of a hurry is pretty slim.
So the ChargePoint Home Flex will likely remain in a position of dominance for the foreseeable future. Of course, there could be a JuiceBox 50 to equalize the game. But for now, it feels like ChargePoint is at the threshold for a good long while.
Bring any electric vehicle on the market to the ChargePoint Home Flex, and you’re getting as good as it gets.
Playing Well With Others
What if your car can’t handle the best it can get? Heck, what if your house has supply issues and can’t give you a circuit that will deliver that amount of power?
With the Home Flex, there’s a neat new feature – available on its app for ease and remote charging – that allows you to de-rate its power demand to the maximum available.
Tap a few points on a screen, and you turn down the roar of the Home Flex’s potential, so it plays well with other circuits, whatever their maximum output is.
That sounds highly technical, but it translates to a valuable bonus because most home charging stations have to be installed on a circuit that can deliver the maximum potential output of the charger – which can severely limit, or even curtail altogether, the usefulness of the charger.
The Home Flex has been designed to be able to play at the highest power level but also to be polite enough to play with whatever is actually available.
That’s a pretty classy add-on as the rise of electric cars keeps changing the world and the road ahead.
A New Suit
When you’ve made a thing this classy, you don’t need to look like the brash new kid on the block, so the Home Flex has had a style down from a shiny black casing to sleek, sophisticated matte gray.
It’s almost as though it’s grown its own tailored suit, secure in the knowledge of its power supremacy.
Apps and Options
And then, of course, there are all the groovy connectivity options.
The app contains all your favorite elements from the ChargePoint Home.
- Reminders to plug in and make the most of off-peak electricity pricing.
- Charge monitoring so you can see how much your vehicle takes in at each charging session.
- The ability to set your cost per kWh, so you’ll only charge at the juicy, cheaper rates.
If you want to be particularly smug, that’s a great tool because it allows you to know precisely how much money you’re saving over paying fluctuating gas prices.
A new little element of joy, though is the ability to link the app to your Alexa So not only can you ask it what you’ve spent, how your charging is going, and what your account balance is. But you can start or stop your charge, via Alexa, from your couch, bed, or even bathroom if you want.
The cuteness and practicality of this make for an intoxicating mix in what could otherwise be a relatively mundane piece of home equipment.
Guardians of Safety
Being at the top of the tree also means ChargePoint gets the opportunity to establish itself as a guardian of safety standards. If you think that’s not important, be aware that there are lots of new companies coming into the charging market.
more determined to make their mark in the charge-speed game than they are to ensure the safety of their products. Let’s not forget the dangers involving sucking electrical charge from a circuit in the house and directing it to a single focused point.
ChargePoint has ensured all its products, including the Home Flex, are UL listed, meaning independent assessors have rigorously tested them. That’s a mark of reassurance for anyone paying out the significant wad of cash you need to spend for the fastest-charging charger in the west.
In addition, the Home Flex stands out in the market by coming with an Energy Star listing for energy efficiency.
While we’d always recommend getting a licensed electrician to install any EV charging equipment unless you are a licensed electrician, the Home Flex gives you options.
It’s available as a hardwired version or a straightforward plug-in with either a NEMA 6-50 or NEMA 14-50 plug, so it can match whatever outlets you have.
If you’re going to use the Home Flex at the maximum of its potential, though, we’d suggest getting it hardwired. If not, you can get your friendly local electrician to install the appropriate plug, and you should be good to go.
With the 23-feet connecting cable, you should be able to charge indoors or out, depending on where you either hardwire your unit or set up your plug-in.
The Home Flex gives you the flexibility of charging alongside the maximum power delivery speed on the market, a stylish new look, and safety testing up the wazoo.
With the Home Flex, ChargePoint has recaptured the pre-eminence it established with the original Home, taking the fight back to the likes of the JuiceBox.
And while it’s possible – not to say inevitable – that the next move for Juicebox will be to match it with something like a JuiceBox 50. It isn’t easy to see how the charge-speed race can advance beyond the threshold of 50 amps for at least several years to come.
That means the ChargePoint HomeFlex will be about as good as home charging for your electric vehicle gets for the foreseeable future.
It costs a hefty chunk of change, but right now, it’s one of the most future-proof investments in the electric vehicle world.