Siemens has more than 165 years of experience as a leading manufacturer of electronic components and devices both for home and for industrial use. The company is heavily focused on modern, renewable energy sources and their application for the practical benefit of all people in the world. Their VersiCharge EVSE (Electric Vehicle Service Equipment) offers fast Level 2 (240 VAC) charging with many advanced features that you would expect from a company of this size and technical prowess.
These chargers blend advanced safety features and energy management with excellent usability and sleek design. Owners of electric vehicles can cut down their charging times by up to 70% versus standard Level 1 charging cords that often come included with many electric vehicles. That’s largely because the VersiCharge chargers use full 30A, instead of only 16A used by some competing manufacturers.
Probably the most attractive thing about Siemens is that they think outside the box and integrate their chargers into a much wider ecosystem. That way, customers can get a tremendous value out of their purchase and even save a lot of money in the long-run. This article covers everything you need to know about charging stations by Siemens, so you can see for yourself all the advantages of their charging solutions.
The Siemens VersiCharge is designed to be used in 4 different configurations: 2 hardwired and 2 plug-ins. There’s no need to purchase a separate version just because you’ve decided that it would be best to wire the charger in a hardwire configuration; just detach the plug and cord assembly from the unit and you are good to go. However, there is a hardwire-only model, which costs a bit less than the plug-in version. If you know that you are going to be installing the charger indoors and are sure that you won’t be moving it to another place in the future, that’s the model you should go with.
The hardwired VersiCharge station can be installed either via bottom fed conduit or from behind. The same is also true for the plug-in version, except that the bottom fed option doesn’t connect directly to the circuit but, instead, ends with a 240V plug.
The VersiCharge by Siemens has 3 main accessories available for purchase: extra mounting brackets, an automation suit, and key locks. The brackets are handy if you need to sometimes move the charger from place to place, as you can just slide it off one bracket and mount it in another one. Car mechanics who have to service the occasional EV vehicle will surely appreciate this option.
The automation solution works in conjunction with the Siemens S7-1200 PLC line and PAC energy meters to allow the charger to automatically turn off depending on how much energy is used. Property owners can simplify the management of their chargers and decrease electricity spending.
Last but not least, key locks are designed to be wired to the remote control port of VersiCharge charger and securely lock the station.
Siemens has designed their electric vehicle charger to be easily expandable to facilitate all needs of modern EV owners. Mainly, the desire to integrate individual products into a larger cloud network for remote metering and communication. Users are getting increasingly more used to managing their home appliances via smartphones and tablets, and the VersiCharge Smart Grid solution is the way how to take any EVSE by Siemens to the next level.
It allows the charger to connect to your home network via Wi-Fi, exposing settings, metering tools, and statistics. Owners can remotely adjust the charging rate based on their current needs, plan their charging schedule to take advantage of discounted electricity prices during certain times of the day, receive push notifications in case something unexpected happens, and, of course, conveniently monitor the charging progress. It’s even possible to share certain information on social media, which might be a clever marketing trick first and a truly useful feature second, but, hey, you can just ignore it if you want to.
Solar Charging Solution
Siemens has partnered with Sunrun, a United States-based provider of residential solar electricity, to offer their customers a solar charging solution for VersiCharge. It allows EV owners to charge their car with clean, renewable energy and save a lot of money each month on electricity.
The best thing about the solar charging solution from Siemens is that Sunrun takes care of absolutely everything, so you don’t have to. They cooperate with local electricians, who visit your house, assess the situation, and, upon consulting with Sunrun, install the solar hardware itself and connect it to the station.
The Envoy Ethernet gateway and Enlighten monitoring service extend the solar charging to the cloud, making it possible to see a real-time power output, uptime, efficiency and other important measures of each solar module. The system is compatible with most smartphones, which means that you can just sit back and watch as the power of the sun helps you charge your electric vehicle for virtually nothing at all. And with $0 installation costs, there’s really no reason not to give this modern, eco-friendly solution a try.
VersiCharge Commercial Solutions
The Siemens VersiCharge line of chargers is also available for commercial use and workplace charging. The unit can either be mounted on the wall or in the pedestal configuration using the VersiCharge Post accessory. The standing mount makes it easy to place the charger just about anywhere you might wish, without being an eyesore for the whole neighborhood.
There’s no need to worry about the charger getting stolen, as the post includes a special loop design using which owners can lock the Siemens VersiCharge to the post. Neither nature nor harsh use will shorten the life of the unit, because of the NEMA 4R protective enclosure designed to withstand things that would render many other chargers useless.
If you are planning on placing the pedestal charger in a busy area, you will be pleased to know that you can fully customize how the unit looks with company stickers or personalized logos.
What We Like
- Size and weight: The promotional pictures don’t really do the justice to the real size of this charging station. The station is relatively compact and its rounded shape makes it fit neatly on the wall. Furthermore, the VersiCharge weights just 14 pounds, making it very easy to pick up, carry, and install without any help at all.
- Amperage adjustment: The Siemens VersiCharge can be adjusted anywhere from its maximum power setting of 7.2 kW down to 1.8 kW. When set at the maximum power output, the charger operates on 30A. This can be a problem for many houses not equipped with an adequate circuit breaker. When that happens, EV owners traditionally have to pay for a costly upgrade before can they use the charger – not with the VersiCharge. Simply set it as high as you can, and keep it there until you upgrade the rest of your electric circuit.
- Long warranty: The charger comes with a surprisingly long 3-year manufacturer’s warranty that applies even if customers install the charging station without the help of an electrician. We always praise manufacturers who stand behind their products, and Siemens is among the best. They even have a dedicated non-stop phone support that customers can turn to with any problem or question they may have.
- Delay charging button: To make better use of charging during off-peak hours, the Siemens VersiCharge has a dedicated button that you can press to configure for how long you would like to wait before the charging process actually starts. Once you connect the plug to your car, the countdown will start, so you can avoid paying more for electricity than you really need to. Along with the solar charging option, this feature goes to show how Siemens is committed to reducing pollution by providing truly energy efficient solutions.
- Clean, modern design: With its pulsating bar on the top, the Siemens VersiCharge is pleasant to look at and more compact than you might think based solely on the pictures. The rounded shape looks modern and the minimalistic look will fit well into every garage. Customers can choose between white and black version to match their taste and design preference.
- Weatherproof enclosure: Most chargers come with the older NEMA 3R enclosure, but the Siemens VersiCharge uses the NEMA 4 enclosure to ensure maximum protection for indoor and outdoor use. NEMA 4 enclosures are constructed for either indoor or outdoor use and provide a degree of protection against dirt, dust, water, and the external formation of ice on the enclosure.
- Charging cord: The plug-in version of the Siemens VersiCharge electric vehicle charging station comes with 20-foot long charging cord and the hardwire version comes with 14-foot cord. Both cords are long enough to comfortably charge your car no matter how you park in your garage. The cable is stored in a simple but effective fashion: simply wrap it around the enclosure and connect the plug to the provided receptacle. The cable will stay around the enclosure thanks to the small guard added to the top front part.
- Status indicator LED: Part of the modern design of this EVSE is a status indicating LED light that pulsates during charging to indicate progress. Siemens calls it “LED Halo” and we call it “nice little detail.”
- Affordable price: Let’s face it: price is and always will be one of the most important factors when purchasing just about anything. This particular charger retails for around $500, and that’s a really good price for something so well designed.
- Quiet operation: Some charging stations are known for making a lot of loud noises and preventing their owners from enjoying a restful night of good sleep even when mounted in a completely different part of the house. The biggest culprit is usually a relay or some coil. You won’t be bothered by any of this with the Siemens VersiCharge. The only thing you can hear is a slight hum, when you place your ear very near the unit.
What We Don’t Like
- Plastic connector: The biggest problem with that you stumble upon during your day-to-day use of the charger is the somewhat weak charging plug. Those who have experience with plugs from other manufacturers will immediately notice that the one that comes with VersiCharge is somewhat weaker in its construction and difficult to remove from the holder in the charger. Even when connected, the plug has the tendency to shift from side to side, and it just never really feels as solid as it should for a piece of equipment designed to carry high voltage current to charge a very expensive battery.
A handful of owners has reported problems with the plug breaking and subsequently failing to connect to their car. We suspect that such cases are not going to be a frequent occurrence, but Siemens should still look into the matter and fix it in some future revision. It’s a real shame that such a high-quality charger would be held back by a minor construction problem like this one.
- Wall mounting bracket: The wall mounting bracket used to attach the charger to the wall is made entirely out of plastic. What’s more, the bracket is designed in such a way that the charger wobbles, due to the way the lag bolts go into the bracket. While there’s no reason to suspect that it would fall down, the bracket simply doesn’t inspire enough confidence.
The Siemens VersiCharge is a modern, highly-integrated charging solution from a reliable company that knows how to design an amazing product and build an entire infrastructure around it to give their customers maximum value for their money. The station itself leaves only a very little to be desired, and those few little quirks here and there can be easily ignored if you consider the overall package and everything you are getting. The deal is made even sweeter when you consider the fantastic 3-year warranty and the ability to connect the charging station to solar panels. All in all, Siemens did a tremendous job and VersiCharge receives our full recommendation.