Best Buy to Provide Ford Focus Electric Charging Stations At Lower Prices Than Competition

By · January 07, 2011

The 2012 Ford Focus Electric as it looks when plugged in.

Highlighting their increasing push into selling electric car accessories—and supporting their nationwide rollout—Best Buy will team up with Ford to help new Ford Focus Electric owners wade through the installation of charging equipment. Earlier this year Best Buy announced they would be playing host to publicly-available charging stations as part of the EV Project, and at the end of last year Best Buy also partnered with Mitsubishi and Eaton to sell Eaton's charging stations to future owners of Mitsubishi's upcoming i-MiEV.

The Ford Focus Electric charging station, built by Leviton and sold/installed by the Best Buy Geek Squad.

The announcement of the partnership with Best Buy came at the same time as the unveil of the Ford Focus Electric at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas today. Best Buy's deal with Ford is much the same as the relationship Best Buy worked out with Mitsubishi: Best Buy will sell the charging station, as well as offer consultation and installation services through its Geek Squad—although the members of the Geek Squad who do the installation will not be the regular ones that you see at most Best Buys. Looks like Best Buy is quickly solidifying its lead in the electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) arena.

It seems that being a little late to the electric car market has provided Ford with some advantages. By listening to early customer complaints from Volt and LEAF owners, Ford has tailored their charging equipment purchase and installation services to deal with some of the loudest of those complaints.

For one, Ford is going with a unit manufactured by Leviton that allows for a "non-permanent" installation. The "Level 2" 240V unit mounts on a bracket and plugs into an outlet on the wall below it. The Level 2 stations offered with both the LEAF and the Volt require hardwiring into a circuit breaker. There is some controversy surrounding the non-permanent EVSE installations right now, and whether or not they are allowable under code, but it appears that Ford is confident in Leviton's reading of the code. For an EV owner a non-permanent installation presents some huge pluses.

In addition to the non-permanent installation, Ford says the total package of equipment purchase and installation will cost the average consumer approximately $1,499. Compare that to the roughly $2,000-2,500 that both Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt owners are being quoted from their chosen installation companies (AeroVironment and SPX, respectively) and you begin to see how much of a deal Ford's price is. Of course, many Nissan LEAF owners—including the world's first, Olivier Chalouhi—have chosen to bypass the "official" installation procedure and use their own electricians to install the station for just that reason. Chalouhi's installation cost him about $1,300—very close to what Ford is offering.


· · 7 years ago

I believe that's the first time I've ever seen "Best Buy" and "Lower Prices" in the same sentence. Just wait until Monster starts making "high quality" charging cables! (with gold plated connectors of course)

From the numbers, it seems they'll be able to get the lower price for installation because they don't have such a tight lock on the market. AV and SPX seem suspiciously expensive perhaps because they figure they're the "official" installers and customers might be wary of going it alone. Geek Squad does not employ licensed electricians so they would subcontract anyway, just like you would if you bought the EVSE cash-and-carry.

· Starletta Watson (not verified) · 7 years ago

I don't see much of a difference in price between chargers sold at Best Buy and chargers from competitors, unless I'm doing my figuring wrong...

· · 7 years ago

Starletta, don't quite follow. Best Buy's charging station purchase price plus installation is $1,499. Nissan LEAF's deal with AeroVironment is about $2,200, more like $2,400 from what I've seen. Chevy Volt's deal with SPX is about $2,000-$2,200. How is $1,499 not a better deal, by far, than $2,200?

· · 7 years ago

For the more DIY minded among us.. why couldn't we simply buy the j connector and plug into a 240v outlet ourselves?? It would cost a couple hundred bucks. The connector has already been hacked to make it work on home-brewed EVs. If you don't have tiered electric rates, you really just need 240v coming out of the plug right?

· · 7 years ago

Because Nissan Leaf is afraid of the cold and only going into the fleets in the hundreds in Toronto, a city much warmer than the not too global warmed Nation's Capital, Ottawa, we may have to wait for a battery warmed, front seat warmed, "6.6 Super-charged Ford".

I think the home charging station is a "Pig in Poke!" Everyone in Canada has 220v for the stove and 220v for the dryer, 110v at the front bumper of your car...even $1400 seems a little high...

· · 7 years ago

Of course you can. The major OEMs just have to offer a solution that is 100% UL and NEC 625 certified to anyone in the country.
The J connector is not just a plug though so it isn't as simple as putting a plug on an extension cord. There is a particular pilot signal that the car must see from the J connector telling it how much current it can draw and that the circuit is complete before charging can begin. The easiest approach for you today would be to buy the EVSE and wire it up to plug into a 240 volt outlet. This is exactly what I did with our EV1 years ago.
Eventually, someone will probably make a mobile J connector, similar to Tesla's UMC that will allow you to charge from any 240 volt outlet and provide the necessary pilot signals.
Your homes were probably wired for 220v dryers and stoves when they were first built. A retrofit to add these later would cost you some electrician money too.
I think a good analogy for the EVSE installation is that it should cost about the same as the electrical part of the installation of a new spa or hot tub. You can probably get your own electrician to install it for cheaper than the warranteed installation but, if it doesn't work, you'll have to figure it out.
Personally, I'm a bit hesitant to trust my transportation to Leviton, the company that makes the cheapest quality electrical fixtures on the market. Unfortunately, they've pretty much driven everyone else out of that business because naive people don't know any better and go for cheap rather than good.

· Dude (not verified) · 7 years ago

To ex-EV1dirver: FYI - Leviton does not and never has manufactured "fixtures." You must have Leviton confused with another manufacurer.

· · 7 years ago

@Dude: Leviton does make electrical components and wiring devices, though, which is probably what he meant. I know them through my job (engineering consultant, lots of commercial construction) where they're often the submitted manufacturer of lighting controls by contractors. They're even listed in our specifications next to Hubbell, Arrow Hart and Pass & Seymour. Their products are actually on par with the rest of the industry at that level of servicing - which is to say, they're all pretty schlocky :)

· Waiting (not verified) · 7 years ago

Have not seen a guess what the price of the Ford will be. I know I will wait till at least the second year so they can work some of the bugs out.

· · 7 years ago

Waiting, given the competition (LEAF) it will have to be relatively close in price to compete. The question is how much Ford values the 6.6 kW charger and liquid-cooled/heated batteries. I'd say within $4,000 of the price of the LEAF, so less than $37,000, probably more like $35-$36K, with some kind of favorable lease deal (~$350-$370/mo, $3,000 down).

· EVdriver (not verified) · 7 years ago

@PatricioEV, There are already people selling the J1772 plug ($260) on Ebay, the safety that prevents you from shocking your self is a very simple square wave 20v signal, so you would need the plug, a solid state relay that is set to open if it fails and a small amount of other electronics and you have your very own home built charging station (charger is built in to the car already) of course if you want it to Email you or do that other fancy stuff you are going to need a very small basic computer in there, something like a $35 Ardiuno should work.

· · 7 years ago

Ford may not be as big a dummy as most people think they are. There is going to have to be new mechanics trained to take care of these electric cars, and if Ford is smart - like I think they are - they will train their mechanics to install their plug in station when you buy their car. When you buy your new Ford, the mechanic would come home with you and install your new charge station at no additional cost. If an electric is over $25,000.00, then the price of installing the charge station will be already included in the price of the car. Now, wouldn't that just make good economic sense to ensure that Ford stays the top car manufacturer and seller in the country?

· Squeeky (not verified) · 7 years ago

I am all for the electric car. We need to get these portable charging stations on, in or near rest stops along our highways. They need to be protected from being run into-on walls,etc.
Just like a gas station-you pay for usage. We need the nations electrical grid updated. For now until the technology advances I will probably get a hybrid, but I can't wait. The charger's right now seem like a pain. The cost of a charger needs to be figured in your loan payment I assume, so should a portable. Now the cold climates pose a big challenge for dealers. most dealers have outdoor lots-will this push indoor lots or buy on delivery from the manufactuer? I see alot of questions to be solved here. Down the road we need to only make hybrids and electric to force the issue of getting off fossil fuels for transportation.

· Will Wiese (not verified) · 7 years ago

I really like the plug in wall charger. If you have any functioning or reliability issues, you can just get another unit to replace the bad one.
Many garages already have a 220 volt plug installed, either for a welder, clothes dryer, etc. When you sell your Ford Focus to your neighbor, you can sell the charger that goes with it too.
If you own an EV that needs a specific installed type of unit, how could that be universal? How could you find a charging station in public places? Didn't the manufacturers develope standardized plugs & voltages a few years ago?

· · 7 years ago

@Nick, Last night the Nightly Business Report did a segment on the Focus EV and had a graphic that showed an "estimated" price of $30K. They had been talking to Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford. The segment is about seven minutes into the January 7 program.

My guess is that they haven't really decided on a price yet. They are sure to be losing lots of money on the first few years of EVs, so how much do they want to capture the hearts and minds of EV enthusiasts by making the initial Focus EVs "affordable"?

· JokingSheesh (not verified) · 7 years ago

OR you could get a trailer hitch and put a Honda generator on it, and charge as you go for those longer trips!

· EVdriver (not verified) · 7 years ago

@Will Wiese The charger is built in to the car, the charging station is more or less a cord that is attached to the wall or to a post and the 5 prong J1772 plug is the standard as of a few years ago, it is designed to last 10,000 uses and the rest of the parts in the charging station are so simple that they should never wear out, Tesla uses their own plug but you can get adapter, you can also get adapters that let you use a dryer style plug if say you stop at your friends house and need to charge quicker then your standard 15 amp (standard outlet) level 1 charging will let you.

· · 7 years ago

I'm a little bothered by the apparent size of the battery pack -- it takes up a fair bit of the hatch storage area. This would also seem to put a lot of weight in the very back, so handling in emergencies could be affected.

It looks good, though I think i still prefer the Honda Fit EV.


· Ron Gremban, CalCars Technology Lead (not verified) · 7 years ago

Another thing that makes the Best Buy / Leviton EVSE installations a bargain at around $1500 is that, to charge at double the LEAF's rate, they must be 6.6 kW installations, requiring an EVSE rated at that, as well as a 40A (vs. 20A for 3.3 kW) circuit. Nissan has standardized on a $720, 3.3 kW AeroVironment EVSE plus $1500 for the simplest installation. This will limit one's at-home charge rate for any future vehicle or charger upgrade. Because of this, I had a 40A circuit installed for the 6.6 kW DOD-financed Coloumb EVSE that came with the first 4400 Volts, despite the Volt's lower charge rate.

The lower-power 3.3 kW Leviton, as well as the physically smaller SPX-brand, plug-in EVSE are each slated to retail for around $500; and, though Ford may may have arranged a special price for its customers, I'm sure Best Buy will soon be happy to sell anyone an EVSE. Once marketers and EV customers begin to understand EVSEs, a commodity market will quickly develop, and EVSE installation arrangements will afford vehicle manufacturers neither a captive market nor a sales advantage or disadvantage.

By the way, I realized after reading the last few comments that the SPX plug-in EVSE (which is not what SPX is officially installing for GM) may be small enough to be carried in one's car as the drier-outlet adapter some EV drivers may soon desire for emergency or opportunity charging.

· · 7 years ago

Misconceptions everywhere. I don't quite know where to begin:
@Ron Gremban,
The Nissan/AeroVironment EVSE is rated for 6.6 kW. The first Leafs will only draw 3.3 kW but the charging equipment will handle the full 6.6. AeroVironment (inventors of fast charging) didn't make the same mistake as Nissan did. The SPX EVSE is only 3.3 kW capable though - GM hates fast charging as it reduces the PHEV advantage.
@Neil Blanchard,
What battery size problem are you referring to? The Focus EV's battery will be located low and basically in the same location as the gas tank in the ICE version. It should enhance vehicle handling if anything. You're welcome to wait a few years for Honda to get their act together with their Fit EV if you want but Ford appears to be years ahead of Honda.
@Will Wiese
Why won't you want to just keep your EVSE (charger) for your next EV or PHEV?
@Squeeky and James Davis,
There are several issues with wrapping the EVSE price into the vehicle cost:
1) Installation costs will vary. Folks with new houses that have 240v with sufficient capacity in the garage already won't want to pay the same price as those with older houses that may require a lot of wiring.
2) Some of us already have or will have EVSEs in our houses. In the future, this will definitely be the case. Why would we want to pay for a new EVSE everytime we buy a new car? Do you want to have to pay for wiring a new electrical outlet whenever you buy a new electric dryer?
3) There are separate tax breaks for EVSE purchase. Wouldn't you rather finance your EVSE separately and pay a lot less for it than get it bundled in and not be able to get the tax break?

· toolturnr (not verified) · 7 years ago

Why dont they make the batteries easy to change then you would have changing stations along the highway where you would just pull up and swap in a charged battery and off you go instead of having to wait.( for people making longer trips) They would charge a standard fee for the recharge and installation/swap. They would standardise the batteries so they are interchangeable between vehicles and you wouldnt have hundreds of people sitting around waiting for their batteries to be charged. Then they charge the batteries at their convienience to get ready to go into the next vehicle that pulls in. The biggest issue I see would be battery warranty when you might have 6 different batteries on one trip but it would make travel more feasable for all electric vehicles.

· · 7 years ago

Many have and are looking at battery swap.
It may work but quickly and safely swapping something that ways over 500 lbs is never easy.
DC Fast Charging is another option for long range travel that seems more feasible to me. The Leaf will be the first new EV with this capability.
The warranty problem isn't too tough since each battery pack could carry it's own history stored in non-volatile memory so you'd know its quality. You'd probably lease your battery as a function of KWhrs, not any particular pack.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 7 years ago

I can't wait until the little planet savers go out on the town for a night of partying and realize that towns will make you 'pay for your charge' [where available] along with your parking meter. I did a quick power calculation based on my electric rates and if used every day, full charge, I'd be paying just over an additional $100/mos on my electric bill. I currently use less than $50/mos in diesel in my Golf.

· evnow (not verified) · 7 years ago

The problem I've with all this "easy to install" stuff (atleast as shown in the keynote) is that the problem is not in installing the evse per se. It is in getting the needed 240 V run to where you need it and any panel updates that may be needed. Once you get the connection, AV install or Leviton is trivial.

Good to see less price gouging, though. BTW, AV sells their EVSE for some $800 and one can easily get it installed for a few hundred. Infact that is what a lot of Leaf Forum people have done (or plan to do).

· · 7 years ago

@"Anonymous", you said >I did a quick power calculation based on my electric rates and if used every day, full charge, I'd be paying just over an additional $100/mos on my electric bill. I currently use less than $50/mos in diesel in my Golf.<

You need to redo your arithmetic. You are making false assumptions and then making an unwarranted extrapolation: >if used every day, full charge< What ever made you think ANYONE would need a full charge every day? That's the same as saying you are going to fill you diesel tank every day: how much would that cost?

Lets look at some real numbers. Where I live electricity costs 13 cents per kwh (the national average is about 11 cents) and diesel is about $3 a gallon (the national average is currently a bit higher than that). Let's assume a generous 50 mpg for your diesel Golf. An EV averages about 4 miles per kwh under typical driving conditions. Since you say you use $50 of diesel per month I will guess that represents about 16.7 gallons ($50/$3 = 16.7) or about 835 miles of driving per month, using my generous assumptions. For an EV that distance would take about 209 kwh of electricity. That electricity would cost $27 in my area, $23 using the national average 11 cents/kwh. (And that doesn't take into consideration that some of us get our electricity from the sun.)

In my book $27 is less than $50. And I would guess that you probably do not get 50 mpg on a regular basis in your Golf and that you probably pay a bit more than $3 a gallon for diesel, making the difference in fuel costs even greater. Then, again, perhaps your electric rates really are 48 cents per kwh to get your $100/ month number. I'm not aware of any rates that high, however.

Now, I realize that you were likely just "trolling" with your anonymous comments and faulty arithmetic but, on the off-chance that you can actually learn something, I thought I'd give you some actual numbers to mull over.

Electrically yours,

· JimB (not verified) · 7 years ago

Wish list for the Focus Electric:
1. Adjustable regenerative braking sufficient to allow control of vehicle speed with only the accelerator pedal.
2. Optional 6 or 7 KW on-board charger.
3. Locate the charge port somewhere between the left headlight and the right A pillar. (Probably too late for that.) We're charging while parked, remember.

· DavidW (not verified) · 7 years ago

Can anyone estimate the cost to replace the Li battery pack on a Focus Electric and how many discharge/recharge cycles or miles you can drive before the capacity (driving range) degrades to <50% and necessitates battery replacement? If you were caught away from home with insufficient battery capacity to get back, how long would it take to partially recharge using the 120VAC plug to store enough energy to drive 15-20 miles? If I'm driving around Phoenix at 110F with the A/C and radio on, what kind of actual driving range could I expect? Would it be feasible to parallel a 2nd battery module to double the driving range? I have a 240VDC Solar PV system on my house. Could I tap this prior to the inverter to charge a Focus electric directly instead of suffering the DC/AC/DC conversion losses? Thanks.

· Ray (not verified) · 7 years ago

Don't forget about Mini-Cooper electric car in coming future.

· 2bits (not verified) · 7 years ago

Ford is going to win over a lot of pundits with it's Focus EV.

And also with it's CMax series.

Can't wait for the CMax PHEV that will be great. But of course I will have to ha.

· Colddr (not verified) · 6 years ago

Does anyone know what the life is on these batteries?
And how long does it take to charge the Focus EV on the factory 120 volt cord?

· · 6 years ago

If anyone claims to "know" the life on these batteries, they are lying; the batteries have not been around long enough yet. They best we can do is make educated guesses. The OEMs seem to be betting that they will last more than 8-10 years and 100,000 miles (based on warranties offered). As for charge time at 120V, it will be very similar to the Leaf. I would guess they'll charge at 12A. 120V * 12A = 1.44kW. The battery is 23kWh. 23kWh / 1.44kW = 16 hours. It will probably be closer to 20 hours with losses and the fact that the last 10-20% needs to be trickle-charged.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 6 years ago

you people live in the dark ages.I bought my leaf and the next day a company named Charge-A-Lot installed a sq d level 2 charger in my garage in less than 2 hours and had a inspection the next day for 1050.00 and they have level 2s all around our county. I guess thats the difference between all the people who just talk and the ones who just do.I also think it has a lot to do with the fact he is a strong believer in electric cars and proves it by driving one. a nice red leaf and I know he can put on 150-250 mles a day on his car. cant wait till he installes some sq d level 3 chargers.they also have some roadside assitance chargers that a local towing company has that run off generators. they are awsome!!

· · 6 years ago


For a company called Charge-A-Lot, they didn't actually charge much for the installation ;-). Honestly, that's a terrible name for a company!

I'm glad you're enjoying your new Leaf. I will be enjoying my own in a matter of weeks...

· Anonymous (not verified) · 6 years ago

the owner has a warp sense of humor!!! he explained to me that he want to build car charging parking lots hence charge a lot his website says membership is 49.00 a month but it is only 19.99 and we get to use all the stations for free. and they have roadside assitance. I know we have that through nissan but the will charge you on the side of the road they also let me know where all the stations are no matter what brand they are we have over 32 locations in our county and he has 4 location pick out for level 3 when sq d has there ul listing. ( I know he has one already but can not use it yet.)

· · 6 years ago

I think I'm beginning to like this "Charge-a-Lot" guy. He sounds like a guy with some good old fashioned pioneering spirit.

What's his website? I might just stop by and see him next month when I'll be in your area.

· bryan38401 (not verified) · 6 years ago

@ex-EV1 driver this is bryan im an owner of charge-a-lot as you can see my customers must have a since of is website we are south of nashville tn and yall are welcome in our little neck of the woods.I drive a red leaf we call CHARALOTTE this poor thing is our test bed she has and will have things done to her no other leaf should have to endure.and yes i have a warped sense of humor, do you want to see? ok ? did you know a nissan leaf can pull a ford f250 4x4 out of a ditch.YES IT CAN!!!! hey ex-ev1 what do you drive now?

· · 6 years ago

Hi Bryan38401
That's great that you can say with certainty that a Leaf can pull and F250 out of a ditch!
I, too drive a Leaf (silver). As you might guess I used to drive an EV1 and also have a Tesla Roadster. I get into the Nashville area fairly often on business. I'll try to swing by and visit next time I'm out there if I can.
I haven't done any heavy pulling with my Leaf but I have done a little light off-road driving in it. It does quite well in the dirt. Good traction, great low-end torque . . . I guess snatching out a stuck F250 sounds plausible.

· bryan38401 (not verified) · 6 years ago

@ex-ev1driver good shoot me an email maybe we could meet at nissan headquarters and see how there level 3 works!

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