AeroVironment: Finance the Charger with the EV

By · February 07, 2013

Installing an AeroVironment Charger

Doin' it right: AeroVironment says you want a licensed electrician putting in that EVSE. (AeroVironment photo)

California-based AeroVironment, which has deployed more than 10,000 residential electric car chargers in North America, just made it easier to put one in your garage. At the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) meeting in Florida Thursday, the company announced a new program that bundles the charger and installation in with the EV purchase, so the consumer doesn’t have the headache of arranging separate financing.

AeroVironment's EVSE-RS

AeroVironment's EVSE-RS. (AeroVironment photo)

AeroVironment has existing partnerships with Nissan, Mitsubishi and BMW that already enable ordering a charger through the dealership, but now there’s only one transaction. A charger bought through the Nissan connection averages $1,800, Gitlin said. The company says this is the first program of its kind.

The dealer offering is available immediately, said Steve Gitlin, an AeroVironment vice president. “Our approach is all about making it easy for drivers who want to switch to electric vehicles,” Gitlin said. “With this program, they don’t have to take another step to identify a charger and arrange installation—it can all happen right there at the dealership.”

The package includes the EVSE-RS 240-volt Level II charger, a turnkey installation, a warranty, and 24/7 support with one business day response, Gitlin said. Pricing and warranty terms will vary, though the company said the MSRP for a charger with three-year warranty and installation is $1,999.

Although consumers can buy residential chargers through outlets such as Amazon.com, AeroVironment’s package includes installation from its network of certified electricians, and Gitlin discourages do-it-yourselfers. “We strongly suggest using electric contractors,” he said. “This process should be entrusted to a licensed professional.”

Some battery and charging providers have been affected by the slow pace of electric vehicle adoption. Gitlin declined to predict how AeroVironment’s business might grow in 2013. “If we see the EV adoption rate increase, we’ll also see an increase in demand for proven, dependable chargers,” he said, adding that a proliferation of plug-in models should lead to a sales spike. But the company is doing fine, in part because of its other business making military drones.

Comments

· · 1 year ago

The 30 amp Aerovironment unit is attractive and from what I've used it, reliable and cool running, but the insistance on a "Licensed Professional" puzzles me, and in the past, I've had a master electrician's license in one of the local municipalities around here. I only mention that to prove in my case its not a case of sour grapes.

I'm not trying to put electricians out of work, but my point is this:

Too many brands are in my view overheating, and its nothing to do with non professional wiring.

The Schneider unit overheats the contactor/ flexible cord at 30 amps. A "proper licensed installation" will not overcome that.

And the Blink, from pictures seen on this blog, WILL in my professional judgement burn down wood garages. I can't believe this thing passed a UL listing. But, as I've mentioned several times, all those aluminum romex wired houses in the '60's and '70s that burned down must have been an "Act of God" since no one is stepping up to the plate and taking the blame. Rather like the 20 year old Pex plumbing that cracks and leaks. Supposedly its no one's fault.

Anyone reasonably mechanically inclined who is comfortable working on wiring, has a healthy respect for the power levels involved, and who knows what a tight connection is should be able to install one of these things competantly. If someone is honest with oneself and doesn't feel comfortable working on any aspect of the job, then they really should get professional advice. But to reiterate, if a garage with an EV in it burned down, the person wiring it would be far down on my list of suspects.

· · 1 year ago

I had an Aerovironment subcontractor (local electrician) come out to assess my garage for a charger for my Nissan Leaf. Long story short, the Aerovironment charger required a dedicated 40A circuit though the car would never pull more than 16A and so the dedicated 30A circuit I had in the garage would have been fine. The electricians would have had to run new wires underground to my detached garage to install their charger, costing thousands. I said heck with that and simply sent my stock 120V Panasonic EVSE into EVSEUpgrade.com and had them modify it so that it could be used with either a 120V or a 240V receptacle. The service cost $300 and the EVSE works perfectly at 240V on my dedicated 30A circuit.

· · 1 year ago

$2000 is a rip off.

You could have bought the Clipper Creek LCS-25 for less ($900) and wired yourself or hiring somebody to wire it for something no different than an electric dryer socket... It is a 4.8KW charger, more than enough for most of the 3.3KW cars...

· · 1 year ago

@Bill Howland, well said. On the idea of using a licensed professionals, it's a good idea. I use a fellow named William Korthof for my customers. I recently got him hooked up with AV, so now I can use the AV program and have William do the installs.

I think this program will be very good for some people, and others will do what @Jiminy did with the EVSE Upgrade. I did that myself and recommend it to customers who want to lowest cost method of L2 charging.

@Jiminy, at some point, you'll probably want to upgrade to 40 amps anyway since all the future EVs will charge at 6.6 kW.

· · 1 year ago

15' Cable $949 on Amazon, 25' Cable $999 and the Plug in RS version is $1049 off amazon. At times I wish I would of purcahsed the AV vs. Recieving my free BLINK unit (not one issue to day need I remind you) But the smaller compact size and ability to make the $949 with a long 8Gauge pig-tail for a plug in...makes it super portable. I agree its not work a 2k installed price. Its a very basic unit with minimal wireing. Anyone comfortable with running electrical wireing, and doing basic panel work would be able to install this with out an issue. If not, Buy it off the web, then get a private electrican to come in (save the cost pushed by AV)

· · 1 year ago

I for one think this is a good thing. They didn't change the price, but made it easier for the average car buyer (none of whom are likely reading this website). Those of us who are more inclined to do a lot of research will easily see that you can buy a unit from Amazon and install it yourself for half the price. But there's a time/skill requirement there.

@Jiminy,

While your current Leaf would have worked, In the future, you likely would have regretted wiring the AV charger on a 30A circuit. If you eventually replace your Leaf with another BEV, it will likely charge at 30-32A. The AV charger would have told the car that was fine, and the car would start charging and pretty much immediately trip that breaker. Every time. I'm glad you found a solution that works for you.

· · 1 year ago

I upgraded my level 1 charging station to a combination level 1/level 2 charging station. It can be used as 120V, 12 Amp or 240V, 16 Amp charging station. Total cost including shipping and a 10 foot, 30 Amp cord that plugs into my dryer outlet was about $400. On top of all that, it's portable.

http://evseupgrade.com/

· · 1 year ago

@Brian Schwerdt,

The electricians quoted $8000 to put in a 40A circuit due to the existing wiring run to the garage being undersized. (I didn't shop around.) I'll stick with my 3.3kw Leaf until I sell this house. I do know that a car with a bigger onboard charger would trip the breaker. I just told my story so that others in similar situations might bypass a big upfront cost if they don't need a 40A circuit to charge their car. I certainly don't need a car with a faster charger since I charge for an average of 3 hours in the middle of the night.

· · 1 year ago

Also, I had already decided to have my stock evse upgraded by EVSEUpgrade.com when I had Aeronvironment subcontractor come out. I was curious what their quote would come in at so I had them do an assessment.Cost me $100. I was disheartened when the bid came in that high since I knew others with mid century modern houses might face similar situations with garage subpanels not up to current code for 40A circuits.That said, I think my solution is perfect and perfectly safe for 3.3kW charging. I just don't know why Nissan hasn't offered a 240V capable stock EVSE.They could get even more people into Leafs if they did. Not everyone knows about the simple upgrade solution.

· · 1 year ago

The upgraded charging station has a Nema L6-20 twist lock connector, I put a Nema L6-20 female connector on one end of the dryer cord. The upgraded charging station plus a 10 foot dryer cord is just long enough to reach from my garage to the dryer outlet in the laundry room but if I needed more length I'd use this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/L6-20-Extension-Cable-12-3-AWG-Wire-20A-250V-50-...

· · 1 year ago

@Jiminy

$8,000 for an 8/2 circuit? Is your garage 1000 feet from your house or something that they would run 4/2 instead? Man that's alot of money.

One time I had a customer have a problem like that and to save on wiring I put a step up transformer in the house up to 600 volts, then put a step down transformer in a very remote garage to save on the otherwise ridiculous voltage drop, but it still didn't amount to anywhere near that amount of cash.

· · 1 year ago

@Jiminy

Just to fill in the details of the last post, maybe some would find this entertaining... Years ago I was given the problem of "How do you run a 115 volt , 2 Horsepower motorized machine 1000 feet from the house?".

I actually didn't do the whole job, I just made it work. The owner already had someone run 10/2 w/ground UF (special order 1000 foot spool so no splices needed, and there was something like 20 feet left after the cable was installed so for sake of argument I'm going to call it 1000 feet.

The reason this is a problem is that the machine couldn't be wired for 230 volts, it was a strictly 115 volt deal. So the problem is how do u get sufficient electrical pressure at that distance with 2 ohms of cable (1000 feet out and 1000 feet back).

Here's the characteristics of the motor, running current 18.9 amps, LRA (locked rotor amps 98.5) so lets say 20 running, 100 starting..

You can see that even if you put 240 on the cable at the house, you'd still have 200 volts drop in the cable, and with only 40 volts on the 115 volt motor it would never start.

What to do? I put a step up 5 KVA 240 to 600 volt transfomer in the house, and put a 600 to 120 volt 5 kva step down transformer at the machine. I put in a 30 amp 2 pole 600 volt nonfusable safety switch at the outbuilding to keep things legal. So now the voltage drop problem in the 10/2 UF 1000 foot run became 4 amps running, 20 amps starting... so the starting voltage at the end of the cable went from 600 to 560 volts, or on a 120 volt basis 120 to 112 (it actually went to 108 due to the impedance drop from the 2 transformers and also the 50 amp starting load at 240 back at the house). But 108 volts was enough at this 2 horsepower 115 volt machine to start it under load.

Yes, I realize I could have dug up the cable and run 350,000 circular mil cables, but then it really would have been over an $8000 job.

· · 1 year ago

I too had a 20A circuit already run to my garage. I knew about the EVSE Upgrade, but for me it solved the wrong problem; I didn't need faster charger, I needed more convenient charging (without leaving the L1 cable at home). So I for $650 (total), I bought and installed a 15A Voltec charger. In the future, when I upgrade to BEV with a 6.6kW (or greater) charger, it will still charge at home at 3.3kW, because it is limited by the EVSE - no need to worry about tripping the breaker. This is true for any future owner of my home, too. Older homes have enough incorrectly installed "upgrades" in them already. They are at best a hassle, at worst a hazard.

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