AeroVironment: Finance the Charger with the EV
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 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.
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