Hacking my Level 1 charger


Level 1 = 120 volts.

Level 2 = 240 volts.

The Chevy Volt comes with a Level 1 (120 volt) charger. This is the narrow black box pictured above. This can be plugged into any standard outlet, anywhere. The 2017 Volt with a 55 mile electric range takes 12 hours to charge using 120 volts. That’s kinda slow.

I have the option of burning gasoline if the Volt batteries are empty, but the electricity at my home comes from solar on my roof…. which is free, versus a gallon of gas which is NOT free, and never will be.

There are Level 2 chargers on the market that run off 240 volts, but they cost $400 to $600 bucks. They look cool, but WHAT IF there is a less expensive option?

There were a few videos online that showed Volt drivers running 240 volts on their Level 1 charger… so I had an electrician wire in a separate breaker and 240 volt outlet and with $10 in parts from Lowe’s I built a converter plug, crossed my fingers, and plugged it in….

It works folks. No problems, no overheating, no tripping of circuits.

WITHOUT buying a Level 2 charger I’m now charging my Volt in 4 hours vs. 12 hours!

My only costs were some parts from the electrical aisle at Lowe’s and $290 bucks to the electrician.

My previous 2013 Volt only got 30 miles per charge, so I spent about $20 per week on gas, with the longer range on my 2017 model combined with the fat charging I’ll use far less gasoline. I work for Tampa Bay Solar, and we are building a new headquarters in East Tampa with Level 2 chargers, so I’ll be able to charge my car at work for free when construction is complete in 2020.

Ben Alexander


December 2019


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