Emporia Energy Smart EV Charger review: More energy telemetry for less

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Emporia Energy Emporia EV charger

Pros and Cons


  • Great aesthetics and build quality
  • Detailed power telemetry down to the second
  • Integration with VUE Whole Home Energy Monitoring Module
  • Excellent application

  • There is no option for a white cable with a white unit
  • No integration with 3rd party DC charging services

Other options to purchase

Over the past year, I’ve purchased two EVs: a Polestar 2 and a Kia EV6. I’ve also had a chance to look at several different Level 2 AC fast chargers – in particular, those from the “smart” group, which are connected to Wi-Fi and the app and can give you a calculation on energy usage (in kWh etc.). dollar equivalent) and can also be used to smartly schedule with your power supply for off-peak charging.

With the exception of the Tesla home charger, I’ve tested all of the major contenders The best home EV charger In the smart category – ChargePoint, Electrify America, Grizzle-E Smart and Emporia Energy.

While I love them for various reasons, the Emporia Energy unit is my favorite. why? Price, level of detail, energy consumption telemetry, application quality, and whole-home energy monitoring.

also: The best home EV chargers

Aesthetics and build quality

With a price tag between $100 and $200 less than its main competitors, you might expect the Emporia EV Charger to sacrifice industrial design and build quality and be limited in features, but that’s not the case.

also: I tried charging my Tesla with an Anker PowerHouse 767

I found the build quality to be excellent. And the Emporia has a clean, flat, streamlined design (in a choice of white or black) that fades into the colors of most garages and home exteriors.

I’d like an option for a white wire instead of a black wire on a future model, but that’s tricky. I have my unit installed outside my garage and when the wire is coiled you can’t tell it’s there.

Techniques and installation

The rectangular device with a rounded corner is covered with weather-resistant plastic. It has four LED lights on the front with indicators for system power (green), Wi-Fi connectivity (multi-colored), charging (multi-colored), and error (orange). Comes with a 24-foot heavy-duty charging cord and a heavy-duty, plastic-coated SAE J1772 connector for electric vehicle – if you have it. TeslaYou will need a J1772 adapter, sold by Tesla and third parties.

Shipping data graph

Emporia main screen in graph view.

Jason Perlo/ZDNET

The unit comes with a mounting bracket and uses eight drywall anchors to hold it in position (See installation and use guide) (PDF). You will need different drill bits and anchors when drilling into solid concrete.

Before installing the Emporia, or any EV charger, for that matter, you’ll need a 240V 14-50 NEMA outlet (you can also use a 6-50 NEMA outlet, as I do, and use an adapter cable) and a max speed accommodating breaker to charge your home. In my case, I can fit a 50 amp breaker, which produces a max charging power of 39 amps/40 amps because the NEMA standard only allows 80 percent of the circuit to be used.

The Emporia has a maximum charging power of 48 amps but requires a dedicated circuit (no NEMA receptacle) and a 60 amp or higher breaker to do so; Any product that advertises 48A/50A output needs a dedicated circuit, such as the popular ChargePoint. You will need to consult an electrician to determine if your accommodation can handle 60K or higher service.

The unit can also be shorted to 15/20/25/40/45 amp breakers during initial configuration, which also reduces your charging power.

also: This NASA space technology can make charging your EV faster, too

Keep in mind that if you’re charging overnight, you won’t see much difference between a 32-amp, 40-amp, and 48-amp power output, especially if you’re partial/top-charging versus charging from, say, 10 or 20 percent of the battery . In the latter case, you may need to start a few hours earlier; Whether it takes 4 hours or 6 hours to fully charge is of no concern to most families.

After installing and connecting to power, installation is a breeze. You download the Emporia Energy app (iOS and Android), choose “Add Device,” then connect to the unit via Bluetooth and set it to your Wi-Fi network.

The unit only supports 2.4GHz networks, which seems equivalent to a smart EV charger. We had no problems connecting to our home Wi-Fi despite our area being crowded with 2.4GHz SSIDs.

Emporia application

The Emporia Energy unit differs from other smart EV chargers because its product is Whole home power center. While you can buy the charger just to charge your EV for $399, the company also sells it as an integrated package With 16 circuit sensors, Emporia Vue energy monitor, which It integrates with your circuit board (PDF), and four smart plugs, for $564.

I haven’t had a chance to test Vue or smart plugs, but the idea of ​​a whole-home energy management and monitoring solution is very appealing. Vue can also set your EV charger to automatically charge your car to take in excess power generated by a solar power system—I don’t have a solar power system, but I’d definitely look into that solution if I did.

also: How Schneider Electric plans to help you control your energy bills

The Emporia app also integrates with Ecobee, Emerson Sensi, and Honeywell Total Connect smart thermostats (sorry, no Nest or Amazon), Bluetooth-connected home backup batteries from Emporia Energy, and electric vehicles with smart car API data network connection.

I haven’t had a chance to test the SmartCar feature, but it looks interesting because it will know remotely if your car is charging anywhere, not just from an Emporia.

The main screen of the app shows you the devices you have integrated for monitoring (charger, SmartCar connected EVs, thermostats, smart plugs, batteries, circuits), and there View the main graph showing your energy usage down to the secondif necessary.

So, for example, you can view the charger’s live rate as it goes up from just a few amps to a full 48 amps, if your circuit supports it, and it reduces the charging speed at the end of the charge cycle. The graph view will also show you energy consumption views by minute, hour, day, week, month, and year, measured in kWh, amps, gallons of gasoline, vehicle miles, CO2 offset, and even trees. If you set your own power supply – in my case, fpl – It can also show you how much energy you have consumed in dollars, on a per charge basis, in daily logs and graph displays.

The device can also set charging schedules based on whether you’re on a “time of use” type of billing or if your utility provider bills on a peak or off-peak cycle, so you can optimize your car’s charging time. In my case, due to my power usage, FPL doesn’t recommend it Use time plan Or he cares if I’m on peak power or off peak times, so scheduling isn’t triggered in the app. However, if I lived somewhere else where this energy usage affected my bills, I would enable it and investigate these programs.

Since Emporia Energy doesn’t own a charging network, you won’t get consolidated billing reports like you do from the Tesla, ChargePoint, or Electrify America apps when using them with home chargers—that’s probably the only negative I see about this device. However, I’m not someone who uses these networks a lot, as most of my charging takes place at home.


The Emporia EV Charger is a powerful and promising device that can help you manage your vehicle’s energy consumption with whole-house monitoring if you purchase it as an integrated solution with Emporia Energy’s Vue module and accompanying sensors, which is useful for solar users looking to charge their vehicles with surplus power.

However, even if you don’t buy the smart EV charger as an all-in-one solution, the unit has other features, like scheduling options to optimize charging times based on peak or off-peak cycles, helping you save on your electric bills. With all these features packed into one device, the Emporia Smart EV Charger is worth considering if you want an efficient way to manage your home’s power system and monitor your car’s energy consumption.

Alternatives to consider

The ChargePoint Flex is probably the most unique charger on the market available today and integrates with ChargePoint’s EV charging network, so you have a complete understanding of energy consumption in dollars and cents at home and at ChargePoint locations.

Made in Canada and made of stainless steel, the Grizzle-E is a “rugged” weatherproof EV charger that comes in “dumb” smart versions that are also connected to apps. This would be my choice if you live in an extremely cold or hot environment and need to mount the box outdoors.

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