flash is a leading manufacturer of charging products for commercial charging stations and private users of electric vehicles. at At CES we caught five of their new commercial products. But on the residential side, we had the opportunity to unpack and install the new Blink HQ 200 Smart EV Home Charger in my garage. Here’s how it went:
(Editor’s note: I wasn’t able to verify Blink’s charger at my family’s home, but luckily my brother Jared wrote this down with some slight modifications by me.)
From the box
The Blink charger was delivered to our home in NE Ohio by FedEx a few days later than expected due to the winter storm Eliot. The 20-pound package includes the charger, a 23-foot black NEMA J1772 plug, and a small hex bit for removing the faceplate. I took the box outside with my drill and iPhone to get started.
Already in October of this year We had a Qmerit electrician install a 240 volt 14-50 plug. With a quick look at the owner’s manual, I learned that this home charger will charge up to 50 amps, but only if it’s hardwired to the switch box and has a 60 amp breaker. Here we have a 50A breaker and a dedicated 40A circuit for the 240V garage outlet. That’s still a lot of level 2 power for our 2023 Chevy Bolt and about 20% more than Chevy’s 32A charger.
Mounting on the wall
This is really the only difficult part of the whole process and was made even more difficult by the decision to make the Nema 14-50 connector cable so short. For some reason, Blink only gives you less than a foot of cord from the outlet to the charger, meaning you have to mount the whole thing near, or indeed just above, your outlet.
The problem with this is that outdoor outlets often have a top hinged door, making it almost impossible to plug this thing in without removing the door and getting rid of some of the weather protection.
Luckily our outlet is inside and we were able to bend the thick cable enough to mount it very close to the outlet. But that’s far from ideal. chargers like that Enel juice box gives you much more space between the plug and the box.
The 23ft charging cable is quite thick but very flexible even in cold weather. The J1772 connector is super premium and feels like it will last years of plugging and unplugging, drops, weather, etc. The length means we can park the car inside or outside the garage and still reach the charging slot. In addition, it can reach several parked cars.
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about Chevy’s included charger is the design of the holster. Where we previously just left the Chevy J1772’s handle on the ground or hanging, it now securely attaches to the cargo box when not in use. That should add to longevity and it looks a lot nicer too.
Speaking of good looks, I think the Blink HQ200 is one of the best looking chargers out there, but I’m wondering if wrapping the cable around the device makes the most sense here. I would love to see a retractable cord on one of these home chargers.
If we ever decide we need the extra amperage, we can hardwire the same charger for up to 50A of power. That’s 12 kW of power.
In addition, it has enough intelligence to add a second charger on the same circuit. I obviously haven’t had a chance to test this.
After downloading the official one Blink loading app, the initial setup was a bit frustrating. Let me explain: First you’ll be prompted to connect your phone to the charger’s built-in Wi-Fi, but when you try to enter the password for that, the default password is a long string of numbers separated by dashes followed by the text @Blink_GEN2. That’s 10 minutes I’ll never get back. Luckily, this is a one-time setup thing.
Once set up, the app lets you set charging plans for off-peak times, manually turn charging on and off, and even have smart speaker controls (Alexa, Siri, and Google). The app also lets you review some analytics, including how much energy your EVs use over time.
The big benefit for me here is that Blink has taken its learnings from using commercial EV chargers and put that into the robustness of its home chargers. That means this will last a lot longer than the generic chargers you find on Amazon.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.