First Electric Cars, Now Price War on EV Charging Equipment
The biggest news regarding electric cars in recent years has been falling sticker prices. Nearly every major EV model is significantly cheaper now that it was when first introduced just a couple years ago. Lease deals on many models are $199 a month. Mitsubishi, just last week, dropped the price of the i-MiEV electric city car to $15,495 after federal incentives. Now, it’s EV charging equipment prices that are falling, with ClipperCreek announcing yesterday that the HCS-40 30-amp 240V charge station starts at $590.
Be advised that the $590 price is described on ClipperCreek’s website as a “special limited time offer.”
“We may not have been the first to offer a low cost 30-amp charging station,” said Dave Packard, president of ClipperCreek, in a press release. “But we took our time and now we have the best on the market.” The HCS-40 is available now. It comes with a standard 25-foot cable, three-year warranty and optional connector holster for $19. ClipperCreek equipment is widely regarded by EV drivers as rugged and reliable. Packard said the product has a “virtually indestructible enclosure and an integrated cable hanging system designed to keep the cable off the wall.”
In September, ClipperCreek introduced its more portable LCS-25P 240-volt charging unit for an even lower price of $549. But that product, which is not hardwired, is limited to 20 amps, rather than the 30 amps offered in the HCS-40, which sells for $50 more. A version of the same charger, the LCS-25 (without the “P”) must be hardwired—like most of the other chargers described here.
The slightly cheaper LCS chargers are smaller, but for an additional $50, the jump from a 20-amp to a 30-amp charger, with 240-volt service, means increasing the amount of range that can be added in an hour from about 15 miles, to more like 23 miles.
To get slightly more technical: the difference is between adding 4.8 kilowatt-hours in an hour, to as much as 7.2 kilowatt-hours—although most of today’s electric vehicles use onboard chargers that limit the charge to 6.6 kilowatts, or 6.6 kWh of energy added in an hour.
Competition Heats Up
Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, formerly SPX Service Solutions, in May lowered the price of its 30-amp home charging stations to between $593 (for the unit with an 18-foot cord) and $749 (for the one with a 25-foot cord). So, the length of cord notwithstanding, the new bogey for a home charging station appears to be $600 (before installation).
The website of AeroVironment, another major EV charging station provider, shows a reduction in cost for its comparable 30-amp unit—from a list price of $999 to its current price of $799. It remains to be seen if AV will drop its price by another $200 to match the new norm of $600.
Meanwhile, the Blink HQ charging station, first introduced by now defunct Ecotality—but offered today by CarCharging Group—sells for $699. Yet, the unit, which does not have a long track record, comes bundled with $100 worth of charging on the Blink Network. The fine print on the $100 credit explains that its only good for six months of public charging on Blink public stations—which for many drivers will not likely be used in that period.
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