It’s become a common refrain by now that “last year was the best year yet for electric vehicle sales,” and even after a downturn for the industry as a whole, EV adoption continues to rise as more and more consumers see a bright future in going electric.
As advancements in EV tech continue to push driving ranges higher, even the holdouts are quickly becoming converts as electrified models become increasingly realistic options for many drivers. The only problem, though – besides choosing which to buy – is that while vehicle range is steadily growing, the Level 1 charging systems that come standard with your brand-new shiny EV have been lagging behind.
In many cases, using the charger included with your electric vehicle will require you to have the car plugged in at home for upwards of 12 hours. When compared to dedicated Level 2 EV charging stations though, those standard home charging cords begin to feel brutally slow. Think of it like the difference between dial-up and a broadband connection.
The obvious choice, then, is to buy a Level 2 charging station for your home, but there are a few key factors to consider first. Investing in a Level 2 charging station can sometimes mean a high cost of purchase coupled with a complicated set up process. Luckily, there’s an answer to both of those problems: the Enel X JuiceBox. Offered in three different outputs with pricing starting in the low $600s, the JuiceBox is easy to use and just as simple to install. Provided you have the proper 240V outlet, you just plug in and start charging. (And if you don’t already have the outlet, it’s an easy fix for any licensed electrician, same as installing a new plug for a clothes dryer.)
We’ve partnered with Enel X for a closer look at everything consumers need to know about JuiceBox, from charging times to Tesla compatibility and more.
Which JuiceBox Model is Right for You?
Here’s a good stat to illustrate just how slow standard chargers can be: an hour charge on Level 1 is literally slower than just walking the distance it adds.
Enel X currently offers three home charging stations: the JuiceBox 32, the JuiceBox 40 and the JuiceBox 48. (The number in their names corresponds to the output amperage.) And no matter which you pick, you’re getting a serious upgrade over Level 1. The JuiceBox 48, in particular, is a whopping 9 times faster than your standard Level 1 charger. But when deciding which unit is right for you, it’s best to look at the demands of your specific EV – i.e. how many kilowatts the vehicle can accept – and make sure to choose a charging station with sufficient amperage. This will help ensure you’re getting the fastest possible charging times.
Here are a few real-world examples: the Nissan Leaf requires a 32-amp charger, which generates about 25 miles of range per hour. Own a Chevy Bolt? You’ll need the 40-amp version, which will deliver 30 miles of range in an hour of charging. For you Tesla Model 3 owners, you’d be looking at the JuiceBox 48, which tops out at about 35 miles of range/hour. Of course, you can always go bigger – especially if you’re looking to future-proof your garage – since both the JuiceBox and your EV will adjust accordingly.
Regardless of output, each JuiceBox unit includes a stylish polycarbonate case that is both weatherproof and dust-proof, meaning you don’t need to worry about rain, snow or dirt damaging the internal workings if you don’t have a garage and need to mount the unit outside. (You also won’t have to worry about security, since each unit includes a locking mechanism to prevent would-be thieves from taking off with your charger.)
A Smart(er) Charging Station
Another key feature of the JuiceBox? WiFi connectivity and the mobile app. The app allows users to monitor battery status and schedule charging sessions during times when electric demand – and, in turn, electric prices – are lower, saving you money. It also includes a notification system that alerts you when scheduled charging has begun and when your EV is fully charged, eliminating any guesswork.
And for those of you who suffer from low-battery anxiety when it comes to your devices (it’s a real thing, we swear), the JuiceBox will even remind you to plug in when you’re nearing a scheduled charging session. It can also be integrated with Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices to enable voice commands, for added ease of use.
The JuiceBox Advantage for Tesla Owners
Tesla remains the world’s leading electric vehicle company, and the automaker does sell its own charger, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right choice for Tesla owners. That’s because the mighty JuiceBox 48 offers the same charging capabilities as the Tesla station—only the Enel X unit does far more.
Both systems boast an output of 48 amps and 11.5 kWh, with Wi-Fi connectivity, over-the-air firmware updates and a built-in cable management system. But the JuiceBox 48 outshines the Tesla charger in every other category, starting with the cable. The JuiceBox cable is 25 feet long (compared to Tesla’s 18-foot cable), and includes the built-in locking mechanism mentioned earlier, which isn’t found on the Tesla unit. Plus, for those expecting EV-owning guests, Tesla’s charger is only designed to charge Tesla vehicles, whereas the JuiceBox is built to charge all EVs, so no one’s left out.
Add in Alexa-enabled voice commands, the ability to automatically charge when electricity is greenest (and cheapest), ENERGY STAR certification, plus a variety of financial incentive programs – including eligibility for rebates that can cover 100% of the unit cost – and the JuiceBox 48 has the clear edge. (Sorry, Elon.)
Charge Cleaner with JuiceNet Green and JuiceEco
Just by driving an electric vehicle, you’re already making a positive impact on the environment, but if you’re looking to go even greener, you’ll want to know about JuiceNet Green. This optional software add-on (available for just $50) helps users better take advantage of clean energy sources like wind and solar, leveraging power grid data to automatically charge your EV during periods where renewable energy is more readily available.
How does it work exactly? The predictive engine reacts to your local energy market, adjusting your charging times based on how “clean” or “dirty” the energy is in your area at a given time. That means you end up getting more of your battery power from wind and solar energy and less from dirty sources, such as coal and natural gas, enabling to you charge with cleaner, greener energy.
Looking to reduce your carbon footprint even further while helping support the renewable energy market? For a small annual fee, JuiceEco allows drivers to purchase Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), so you can match the electricity you use to charge your EV with zero-emission, 100% renewable energy—even when it’s not currently available on your local grid.
Go Pro with JuiceBox Pro
We’ve covered residential options, but for those looking to EV charging as a potential investment, Enel X offers a commercial application as well: JuiceBox Pro. The Pro is similar to the at-home version in terms of set up, durability and ease of use, but includes a QR code on the front that allows users to access the charging station via mobile app payments. (The Pro system can also be programmed to work with RFID cards, or to offer free public charging periods during the designated days and times of your choosing.) And JuiceBox Pro comes with JuiceNet Enterprise, a smart charging asset management software that lets station owners control access, cap electricity consumption, monitor charging sessions and set up pricing.
So if you’re a savvy business owner looking to monetize a parking lot, provide a valuable perk to customers, employees or tenants, or simply do your part to help reduce greenhouse emissions, the JuiceBox Pro is the easiest way to add EV charging to your property, offering all the convenience and benefits of Enel X’s at-home Level 2 station at a fraction of the cost of other commercial charging options.
For more on Enel X and JuiceBox, click here.
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