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