If you’re an electric car driver, the chances are you use an electric vehicle charging station — or Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) to give it its proper name — nearly every day to refuel your car. In some countries, you can even get a government grant to have one installed at your house for free, enabling you to refuel your car far more quickly than you can from a domestic outlet.
But what goes inside an EVSE unit? And could you build one yourself?
As those with an enquiring mind will be relieved to know, it’s possible to build your own electric car charging station, provided you’ve got some spare time, a basic knowledge of electronics, and a willingness to learn. And for many years, EV owners and fans have done just that, building EVSE units out of everything ranging from discrete electronics components through to Arduino micro controller boards and even miniature PC hardware.
Now, thanks to UK Charity Zero Caron World, it’s possible for any competent DIY enthusiast to buy the major electrical components they need to build their own portable charging station, turning any Commando-style power outlet into a fully-fledged charging station when they’re out on the road.
Devoted to encouraging a zero carbon lifestyle, which includes the promotion of electric cars, Zero Carbon World was frustrated by how costly many electric car charging stations were, and set out to illustrate how simple and easy it could be to build your own. The result is a set of modular charging station components which have been designed with the hobbyist in mind.
To illustrate how easy it is to build a charging station from the components, Zero Carbon World patron and founder Kevin Sharpe, along with EV owners Grant Thomas, David Peilow and Richard Goldsmith got together to hold an EVSE building day, where they filmed the process of building and using the portable charging station from start to finish. The video covers every aspect of the build, including how to test the circuitry to make sure it works correctly.
Of course, not everyone wants — or needs — to build their own portable charging station, but for those with the inclination, the video is an excellent primer into what goes on when you plug your EV into a public charging station. And of course, it goes without saying that as with anything involving electrical wiring, you should only consider building your own portable charging station if you feel comfortable with your wiring capabilities.
Are you tempted to build your own charging station? Do you think you’d have the skill to do it? Let us know in the Comments below.
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