EV drivers can now roam freely across North America under the new roaming agreement that was just announced between ChargePoint and FLO*.
Much like roaming on a cell phone network, ChargePoint and FLO members can roam effortlessly between the two networks across North America. There is no need for multiple memberships and no additional fees are charged to roam.
The announcement comes just on the heels of FLO’s home charging station launch in the US. To introduce the company and its EV charging station, we interviewed Foued Barouni, head of residential products at FLO.
Q: Could you give us a brief overview of the company?
A: The FLO Family of Companies has been manufacturing charging stations for about 10 years, and we today operate the largest EV charging network across Canada. FLO is dedicated to supporting the EV movement, and has experience helping utilities, municipalities, businesses, and employers deploy charging projects of all sizes. We give drivers a seamless charging experience, with access to charging at home, at work, and on the go.
Q: Tell us more about your home charging station.
A: The FLO Home is a Level 2 charging station. For EV drivers used to charging with a Level 1 outlet, FLO Home offers a great charging experience and protects your family, your home, and your EV.
Our home charging offers a lot of benefits, one of the primary being that it charges five times faster than a standard Level 1 station plugged in a regular wall outlet and gives a full charge in four to five hours. It’s compatible with all electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road. There are two versions of FLO Home.
Q: Could you explain the differences between the two versions?
A: We currently offer the FLO G5 and the FLO X5. The main difference is that the G5 is the basic version and the X5 is the smart version.
The smart X5 can be controlled through the FLO mobile app or our secure online portal. It gives you access to smart charging features including setting a charging schedule, real-time technical support, and live session progress. You can track your energy consumption, and the X5 also gives you the ability to participate in demand response programs with your utility company.
Q: What’s different about your home charging stations?
A: FLO is focused on quality and durability. Every detail of the charging station is elegantly crafted from the highest quality materials, and it’s made to last more than 10 years (and it comes with a five-year warranty, whereas the industry average is three years).
While most charging stations are made of plastic or sheet metal, FLO Home is encased in 100% NEMA 4X aluminum. This translates into a corrosion, dust, rain, and ice-resistant casing that is certified to operate between −40°F to 122°F. It can be installed indoors or outdoors and can even be safely hosed down for cleaning. The refined design is both sleek and practical; the X5 casing comes in Tungsten (gray) or Carbon (black), but the G5 only comes in Carbon.
Q: Tell us about the cable and connector it comes with.
A: They come standard with a 25-foot heavy-duty cable that stays flexible in all weather conditions. The cable length makes the charging port easily accessible, no matter where the station is installed.
FLO Home comes with a high-quality universal J1772 connector that will last 10,000+ charging sessions. It also has a built-in cable holder and connector socket for quick and easy storage, which prevents the cable from laying on the ground.
Q: How complicated is it to install?
A: It’s simple and very safe. It can be installed with a hardwire set-up or with a NEMA 6-50 plug. It works with the existing electrical panel, so you won’t need to install a junction box. The interior of the station has lots of space for clean, uncluttered and safer electrical connections.
Q: If an EV owner decides to buy a second EV, will they have to overhaul their home’s electrical system to install a second FLO Home?
A: Actually, no. The X5 has power sharing. Power sharing means that two X5 charging stations can be connected to the same electrical circuit breaker, eliminating the need to upgrade the home’s electrical box, which can be really expensive. And whether connected to one or two charging stations, FLO Home is designed to provide continued safe and reliable operation. It is CSA certified and meets all applicable UL requirements.
Q: How does the X5 connect to the app?
A: The X5 version is connected using IEEE 1901 Power Line Communications (PLC) technology, often called broadband over power lines (BPL). The PLC connection provides a more reliable data exchange between systems and appliances connected to the home electrical system than Wi-Fi. PLC is a simple set-up and can easily reach the distance required to connect the charging station in a larger home or detached garage.
Q: Where can readers get FLO Home and what is the cost?
A: Chargers can be purchased on the FLO website or through an official distributor, easy to identify on the website. The G5 model is available for $795. The X5 with Carbon casing is $995, and the X5 with Tungsten casing is $1,095.
*This interview was sponsored by FLO; images from the company.