Occasional Use Charger, Trickle Charger, Emergency Charger or Portable EV charger, these names all refer to the same thing, a small portable charging cable for your electric vehicle, which can be plugged into any domestic 10amp/240 volt household PowerPoint.
Given its low charging ability, a portable EV charger is classed as Level 1 Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) – a generic term for any type EV charging equipment.
As the name suggests this charger is a portable solution to make sure you are never caught short of a charge, it is literally impossible to not be able to plug into a 10amp socket somewhere. The downside of this portability is the charging speed is not particularly fast.
This is often a standard accessory on most electric vehicles such as the BMW i3 and BMW i8 and Nissan Leaf, taking the prized position in the trunk or frunk (front trunk) of most EVs.
On one end lives a standard mains power cord, which has a three pin plug which will plug into any household wall socket. On the other is a thicker cable attached to either a J1772 (Type 1) or Mennekes (Type 2) Plug that connects into your EV. In between the two cables is the charging box itself, which contains a comprehensive protection system and short circuit protection designed to allow for safe portable EV charging. The overall length of the Portable EV Charger is 5.5m which is enough in most cases to get you a charge almost anywhere.
No, this is not recommended given the cord could be damaged, may not be weatherproof and generally may not be able to withstand the close to the maximal draw of the Portable EV charger over several hours without compromising safety.
*Please note these advanced safety features are not found in portable EV chargers on the market.
Type 1 (J1772) – BMW i3, BMW 330e, BMW X5 xDrive40e, Holden Volt, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Volvo XC90 T8, Audi A3 e-tron, Mercedes Benz C-Class 350 e Sedan, E 350 e, GLE 500 e, S500 e.
Type 2 (Mennekes) - Tesla Model S, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model X, Renault Zoe ZE, Hyundai Ioniq (Pending)
For some vehicles, it could be possible such as plug-in hybrids (PHEV) with a low EV range, but generally speaking, we would advise most drivers to install a hardwired EV charger such as the Keba P30 or EO Charger into their home garage or parking space. Not only is this more convenient, between 3-10 times faster, it is also a far safer option. If you do persist with a portable charger as your primary EV charger, then we always recommend you have an electrician check the outlet and circuit to ensure its safe operation and follow the manufactures instructions.
A portable EVSE is an essential item for all EV drivers to have and keep in their boot of their EV to ensure they are never caught short of a Charge.
A BMW i3 being charged up by a Keba P30 22kW Home EV Charger