It’s fairly well known in the Bolt EV community that you can plug the included 120V charger into a 240V outlet and double the charging rate. I was wondering if the PHEV Pacifica could do the same thing 🤔 I did some research and found a Pacifica forum post that says you can.

We recently got a 240V outlet installed in the garage so we could buy a Level 2 charger, so I decided to make an adapter to test it out. The adapter instructions from the Bolt site recommends 14 gauge wire or bigger. I had some 12 gauge wire leftover from another project so I used that. All I needed to buy were the plug ends. I got a convertible 14-50 / 14-30 power plug and a female 5-20 end.

Pro-tip:

If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have 14+ gauge electrical cable laying around, you could just pilfer a short 14+ gauge extension cord.

I carefully cut the outer sheath off of the cable and left about 2″ of wire for the 240V plug and 1″ for the “normal outlet” side.

Normal Outlet Side

I stripped the ends of the wires and wired up the normal outlet side first. Green is ground. White goes to the larger port of the outlet, indicated here with a silver screw. Black goes to the narrower outlet blade, indicated with a brass screw.

240V Plug

I removed the bottom pin that is used to differentiate the 14-50 (50-amp) and 14-30 (30 amp) plugs. This gives maximum compatibility to use at a 30 or 50-amp outlet. The mopar charger will only draw 12 amps, so it’s safe to use with either style outlet.

I wired up the 240V plug starting with green for ground. Black goes clockwise from ground if you’re looking at the prongs (CCW when you’re looking from the back as shown here). White goes on the other side.

Because the 240V plug is made to have thick wires coming out for a big 50-amp draw, the comparatively thin 12-gauge wire just dangles loose coming out of the plug. To provide some actual strain relief for the wires, I used some pipe insulation foam that I had laying around from another project. I cut it to fit the wire diameter and used CA glue to affix it to the wire sheath.

Now when I fasten down the strain relief bridge, it actually grips the foam and wire.

This last bit is optional, but extremely important. I put a label on the plug that says 240V EV ONLY! Just so no one tries to plug something else in and winds up letting out the magic smoke.

Testing

Even though it was stated from another PacHy owner that it works, I was still nervous trying it out as the included charger only indicates 120V – and it’s $350 to replace from the dealer.

An EV owner that lives nearby me remarked that the Level 1 and Level 2 chargers are really just fancy extension cords – the charging circuitry is located in the vehicle itself. So I crossed my fingers 🤞 plugged it in, and got all green lights on the charger.

Then, I plugged the charger back into 120V power to do some testing. With 41% charge it was going to take 8 1/2 hours to charge using the normal wall receptacle.

When I plugged it into 240V power, the van thinks it’s hooked up to a full Level 2 charger because it sees the high voltage, but hadn’t drawn any amps. This was because I set the van to charge from 9PM-9AM during off-peak times.

Pro-tip: if you want to skip the charging schedule and charge immediately can you do a double plug. Plug the charger into the vehicle and then unplug immediately, then plug it back in within 10 seconds.

Once the van was actually charging and drawing amps, it updated the charge time and settled in at 3 1/2 hours.

Verdict

Not bad at all! Switching to 240V doesn’t get you a full charge in 2 hours like a 30-amp Level 2 charger will, but I estimate it could do a full charge in less than 6 hours.

I said it before, the 30-mile electric range doesn’t necessitate a Level-2 charger at home because it can do a full charge on 120V in 12 hours overnight. But this is an incredibly cheap way to double your charge rate if you have a 240V outlet available. It’s also a great portable solution if you find yourself somewhere with an RV-style outlet – like a campground ⛺

It cost me less than $30 to make! If you’re thinking about a Level 2 charger and don’t want to shell out a bunch of cash for an electrician to install a 240V outlet and spend a bunch on a Level 2 charger itself – this is a great bridge. Call the electrician first and make this cable. You’ll be ready for Level 2 and can charge fast(er) in the meanwhile ⚡

One thought on “(Almost) Free Level 1.5 EV Charger

  1. Want to add that this is potentially a great solution for EVs that need to be parked in the street. We recently had our driveway redone and had to park in the street for a week. This adapter, combined with a quality 14 gauge (or less) extension cord (without any built-in lights), allowed us to charge in the street.

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