Financing for EV Charging Equipment Helps Sell Electric Cars

By · February 14, 2013

AV Installer

An AeroVironment EV specialist installs electric car charging equipment.

If it is financed, will they buy? That’s the question Nissan dealers will be able to answer after AeroVironment (AV) implements its program allowing LEAF buyers to bundle the cost of a home charging unit and installation into the vehicle’s financing package.

AV officially launched the program nationwide on February 7 at the National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo in Orlando. It had been offered in 24 dealerships since October 2012 as a pilot program.

AV figures that the availability of bundled financing for charging equipment will encourage more people to buy a plug-in electric vehicle—much the way that financing schemes for home solar have allowed homeowners to reduce upfront costs associated with buying and installing photovoltaic systems. For consumers, financing plans can reshape an expense into an investment that pays off with lower energy costs over many years.

Under the AeroVironment program, buyers can spread the payment for charger and installation over the life of an auto loan. The cost for the package that includes installation is $1,999. Many buyers lease the LEAF for 24 or 36 months, so the cost is amortized over that period.

James Azzaro, commercial vehicle sales manager at John Howard Motors in Morgantown, WV., told that most of his customers have opted for the financing package. He has sold a dozen LEAFs since last October. Nissan endorsed the AV offer, which is reassuring, said Azzaro. “Everyone who has leased one of these is taking a leap of faith. You need to know your actual fuel source is solid,” he said.

Dealers can keep some AV chargers in stock to sell to those who want to install it themselves – an option that costs $999. Almost all of his customers have opted for the package that includes installation, said Azzaro. He then arranges to have AV contact the buyer to schedule an installation.

Making It Easy

Installing a 240V home charging unit requires special permits. AV takes care of all that and more, said Wahid Nawabi, Aerovironment senior vice president and general manager of efficient energy system. “You don’t want to take three days off to figure out how to install the charger,” said Nawabi. The AV charger financing program “shows we are committed to this industry,” said Nawabi. “We think this is the future.”

There is no volume requirement and “signing up is easy,” he said. AV is offering the charger financing program at Nissan and Mitsubishi dealers right now, he said.

AV is the first company to arrange it so the cost of the charger could be included in the auto financing agreement, according to Nawabi. “Many dealers have told us this has helped them sell the car,” he said.

Nissan sold 9,819 LEAFs in 2012, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Mitsubishi sold only 588 of its small all-electric I-iMiEV, also know as i. Despite the relatively small numbers, Nawabi is optimistic about the future for plug-in cars. “I think EV sales are quite encouraging,” he said. “It is very early.”


· · 5 years ago

Two grand seems a bit too high - that could pay for installing a 200A breaker panel. Since you can buy a 6.6kWh indoor/outdoor charging station *retail* for about $800-900, I would think that $1200-1500 would be plenty; and if you only need a 3.3kWh, then it should be $300-400 less than that.


· · 5 years ago

I agree with Neil...those prices seem expensive, especially if you are trying to encourage larger scale adoption of EV's. Personally I feel quite fortunate that my garage already had 240V outlet for an air compressor, and that the 2012 Leaf came with the upgradeable Panasonic EVSE. I sent the Panasonic unit to EVSE Upgrades the day after I got the car, and now have Level 2 charging for about $400 including shipping to and from and an adapter.

Just like those who lobbied for a decontented Leaf (resulting in the 2013 Leaf S) to spur sales, maybe AV could come out with a very basic, more affordable unit? Spending $2000 for a charger takes a big chunk out of the affordable fuel equation.

· · 5 years ago

Please note that the $1999 package includes installation, and that AV takes care of all the permitting. Plus, the owner knows it was installed by a certified technician and AV warranties the equipment and the installation for the length of the financing package. I do not mean to sound like an ad person for AV, but those are the facts.

· · 5 years ago

@Alysha Webb

I wonder if I had an old house in buffalo with a detached garage with no electricity currently, and a 110 volt 30 amp electric service, whether the Nissan Dealer would

1). Upgrade my service to 100 amps 120/240
2). Run an 8 gauge copper or 6 gauge aluminum feeder to the garage.
3). Puchase and Install an Aerovironment 30 amp charger.

If they will do all that for $1999 plus tax then THATS A DEAL!!!!!

· · 5 years ago

It is good to have an option to roll the cost of an electrician-installed EVSE into the purchase price of your Leaf. If it gets more people to drive a Leaf then that is fantastic.

That said, anyone driving a Nissan Leaf, Mitsubish i, or Plug in Prius can get send their stock Panasonic EVSE to get upgraded for $307.00 by which includes shipping from them to you. (There is also an $800 fully refundable deposit) You just swap out a 240V outlet (think electric drier outlet)for an L6-20 outlet from Home Depot or Lowe's and you are good to go. This is what I did over a year ago and it works perfectly.

· · 5 years ago

Also, using the option got me around the permitting process entirely which was a HUGE bonus. Keeping my small but greedy city out of my wallet for yet another silly permit was icing on the cake.

· · 5 years ago

@ Bill, I agree with what you said. I think NIssan is spreading out the cost and "hedging" against it by charging a flat rate. It is too high for a "simple" installation (like my house where the electric panel is on the other side of the wall where the EVSE is mounted. The so called Permit process is also a farce. B/c the guy doing the inspection didn't know anything about the EVSE and he asked why I left all the panel and junction open. I told him that the electrician told me to leave them open so he can see what is inside of them. He spent about less than 3 seconds looking at them...) or it is too cheap for a "complex" installation.

The evseupgrade is a good thing. I am surprised that Nissan doesn't offer this themselves. It is probably against NEC/UL regulation. Bill would probably be the expert on this. Anyway, I don't think any PIP owners would do it since their batteries is so tiny anyway. The downside of that EVSE upgrade is that the process void the warranty on the EVSE itself. Sure the evseupgrade offers 1 yr warranty themselves, but it voids the manufacturer EVSE warranty. Secondly, it is a 3.3KW EVSE. The newer Nissan is capable up to 6.6KW. The home charger is capable of doing 6.6KW where the Evseupgrade is NOT (yet).

Also, permit is really "not required" unless the installation actually caused an issue and results in injuries/fire/insurance dispute... Remember that Permit is usually based on "minimum" requirement, you can always do better with some basic learning and consulting...

· · 5 years ago

@Modern Marvel Fan and Jiminy

I don't have any issue with a car owner trying to save a few bucks by modifying his unit to run on 220.; I checked out the upgrade website, and they are ultraconservative. They refuse to upgrade items they feel are unsafe, but their standards are much much higher than the 'built in' manufacturers themselves. I haven't purchased one myself, but in addition to Aerovironment, many people on here say Clipper Creek (Canadian version is Sun Highway) is also a substantial, safe piece of machinery.

If the unit feels only moderately warm, and especially, you dont get a burning smell or worse, melted connectors as has been shown on the blogs here, then you should be home free.

The only issue I see here is I would prefer to see the supplying circuit be either 20 or 30 amps, but no more. I assume the evseupgrade people take care of normal "overcurrent protection". The NEC issue would be the "short circuit current" protection is reasonable. 30 amps would be fine for a 14 amp device, as far short circuit protection goes. Of course, if the customer happens to only have a 40 or 50 ampere range outlet in the garage, there is absolutely nothing preventing them for installing a 20 amp fuseable switch or circuit breaker in the middle of the portable cord. The only further requirement would be the distance from the outlet to the inserted safety switch should be kept under 25 feet. Since this is a "TAP" , with overcurrent protection at the other end of the tap, 12 gauge cord is acceptable, as long as the plug end is what ever required for the wall recepticle. If it is decided to not use overcurrent protection in the middle of the cord, then the cord would have to be at least #8 copper for the phase wires (L1 and L2) in my opinion. #10 copper safety ground is adequate in any case. Hope this helps..

· · 5 years ago

Here are some of the problems:
1) The price of EVSEs are too high. The market is small such that they can still get a high price. If they made millions then these things should cost no more than $200 bucks are so because they are just a few wires, a couple chips, a few electric components, a connector, and a plastic box.
2) Perhaps they should create 240V EVSEs that just plug into a dryer outlet. And that way you can just get a local electrician to install a dryer outlet which should only cost a few hundred bucks as long as your main panel is relatively close to your garage.

· · 5 years ago

Note to all: This is an AeroVironment program not a Nissan program. It is also available for the i(Miev) and may be extended to other EV brands, as well. If someone wants to use any of the options you mention, they of course can. But for the ordinary consumer, taking care of the entire purchase process at the same time and having someone else take care of permitting and installation is worth the extra cost. That is who AV is aiming at with this program.

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