With electric vehicles rapidly becoming more of a presence in the lives of the American consumer, the quest to try and create products that can better necessitate the unique demands and challenges that EV ownership brings can be a very daunting task for companies. One of these firms trying to improve things for EV buyers is Accell. The California based company has made a name for themselves when it comes to creating portable electric charging products for buyers looking to bring EV charging wherever they go. The company kindly invited us to try one of their newest products the AxFast 3202 32 amp electric charger. But can the AxFast truly succeed in its role as a portable EV charging solution? We were eager to find out.
Mind Your Outlet:
Before we get any further. we might as well address the white elephant that can sometimes be this particular model’s weakness (the plug.) Being a 32 amp charger, the 3202 requires a special 240 volt line and outlet in order for it to draw electricity safely. The outlet accommodates a NEMA 14-50 plug, and this setup is typically seen in heavy duty appliances such as a dryer. Our office did not have this setup in place in our garage, and with our Metro Detroit facility featuring a separated garage to boot, making it compatible with the AxFast is a challenge. We made some phone calls, with several local electricians that we consulted giving us estimates between $800 to $1000 to formally run the line from the house to the garage, and then install the outlets and connections needed to make the line work. When combined with the $549.99 asking price wielded by the charger, this is a formidable initial investment for the ability to bring portable electric charging to your home. Eventually, we managed to find the right setup in an alternate location, and this allowed us to formally get to know it better.
For starters, the charger does live up to its promise of being portable, with our 12 lb tester being very easy to lug around from place to place. The 26.4 foot long cable is easy to manage, and offers plenty of reach to help accommodate a wide range of parking scenarios. The durable plastic body of the charger is specially designed to help make wrapping the cord around it easier, and that is a welcome feature for buyers looking to quickly move from place to place with the AxFast. The layout of the charger itself is also very straightforward with centrally mounted charging and power lights. There is even a fault display to help alert you if something is wrong with the charger. While this does result in the AxFast having a function oriented design that does not embrace stylish frills, we do like how modern and cohesive it looks when viewed from multiple angles. Accell also offers other types of chargers including Level 1 chargers that offer the same portability, but enhanced go anywhere functionality with the ability to run off a wider range of electrical outlets.
A Charging Solution That Any EV Can Indulge In:
Adaptability as well as flexibility are a key defining trait that helped make our tester stand out from the rest of the field in this segment. While some charging systems only work with a handful of vehicles, Accell’s novel unit expands on this versatility and works with all kinds of EV vehicles including the Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Kona EV, Tesla’s current model lineup (with purchase of additional adapters), and other EV offerings. While our office did not have any EV vehicles arrive for duty during the AxFast’s stay with us, we chose to do the next best thing, and enlisted the services of a family friend who kindly offered the services of his older Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid during a visit to his house. This not only further demonstrated the portability of the AxFast system as a whole, but the charging gun also seamlessly connected to the Volt’s charging port which certainly helps give Accell’s claim some strong legs to stand upon.
As mentioned prior, our office did not have a readily available outlet that could handle the charger, but reaching out to a local business in town allowed us to formally charge in the AxFast, with the owner’s Toyota Prius Prime serving as a second test bed. Like before with the Volt, the charging gun of our test unit easily fitted into the Prime’s charging port, and it also managed to give the car a good amount of charge during the time it was hooked up to our tester.
So at the end of the day, is Accell’s newest offering certainly worth the price of admission? That ultimately depends on the state of your electrical system, with the initial investment and the installation of the specialized equipment perhaps being too big of a pill for them to swallow. Those buyers can rest easy knowing that the company offers other charging products that can work with more common electrical outlets, and that in turn can greatly enhance the usability and functionality of an Accell portable charger. But if your a buyer that either has the necessary equipment in place, or is willing to take the full plunge in order to make the AxFast 3202 EV Charger fully sync with your home, then you will be rewarded with a very valuable and handy tool that can help make charging your EV much easier and convenient.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.