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Getting the Leviton 240-volt home charging system from the dealer

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heygrady · · 6 years ago

Has anyone gone with the charger available from the dealer? That seems like a reasonable option but it's not clear if that also covers installation of an outlet. My garage doesn't have the appropriate outlet but I'm assuming it's easy enough to install.

As could be expected the dealer is really vague and so are all of the online materials. It'd be great to have some real-life information from someone who went with this option.

Also, if the Leviton charger is a big waste of money and there's better chargers, I guess that's also good information to have.


· Dan Hollands (not verified) · 6 years ago

Supposedly Leviton is sold thru Best Buy with the help of the Geek Squad but when I tried a couple of months ago I couldn't find any one at Best Buy that would admit there was an arrangement with Ford

I bought a GE Charger from Lowes for $999, had an electrician run the 240V and mounted the charger myself. Works fine

· Tom Smith (not verified) · 6 years ago

Don't buy one from the Dealer! You don't want to do that. Instead contact your electric power company first. Chances are they will buy the charger for you, install it for you, up to $2,500. If it costs more than that then you cover the rest.
Also in case you might not know already, the power company will install a tier meter that will allow you to charge the car at night for half the cost (11PM to 7AM). (also a great time to wash, dry the clothes and the dishwasher!
In my state, Michigan, Consumers Energy Company did that for me.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 6 years ago

@Tom Smith:

You're lucky to be in one of the Very Very Few areas of the country where chargers and installation (!) are free of charge. Most of us live in areas where there are not even state tax breaks for charger and/or electric car usage, nor time of day discounts, nor electric car discounts.
The other posters are right in that both Lowe's and Home Depot have several nice EVSE level 2 'charging docks' for sale, and much cheaper than the Leviton, although they also have a 16 amp Leviton for sale, but if you're buying a Focus you'd probably want a 30 amp unit to take advantage of the car's 'fast (30 amp) charging' capability.
For people not 'electrically handy', or fearful, best buy's geek squad consulting service may not be too bad, although some will want to do the dickering with an electrical contractor themselves, and save even more money.
Of course, if an outlet just 'happens' to show up at the charger location ( I suspect most enterprising, electrically handy people will do just that), the whole job can be done for under $1,000.

· · 6 years ago

California Incentives

There's a few programs in California that I was able to find. I live in the Bay Area so my options are pretty much limited to the Blink system. There's actually a really nice rebate where you get a free charger and free installation. I'm contacting them right now. That seems like a sweet deal.

Does anyone know anything about Blink? It seems like they want to tie your charger into some sort of network.

Also, I wouldn't think it's worth it to just hack your 240v outlet in (but maybe I've been living in CA for too long). PG&E has a nice FAQ that explains that you can get a special smart meter installed for $200 that will offer discount off-peak rates for you. That seems worth it.

· · 6 years ago

Turns out that the Blink program is only for the Leaf and the Volt. Ford must've forgotten to file the right paperwork.

· · 6 years ago

Now it's looking like ChargePoint America is my best bet.

It actually seems like you can combine the ChargPoint deal with the $700 rebate from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

I did get the dealer information about the GeekSquad partnership.

Here's how it works:

  1. The dealer says, "call GeekSquad."
  2. GeekSquad says they'll charge you $99 to take pictures of your garage.
  3. GeekSquad refers you to Mr. Electric and Mr. Electric handles the rest. GeekSquad has no information on what Mr. Electric charges or what typical installations cost.
  4. You buy a charging station from Mr. Electric also, and GeekSquad has no clue what those cost or which ones are available through Mr. Electric. I guess you could buy the $1500 charger from the Ford dealer directly. And Mr. Electric would happily install that one.

Basically Ford's much touted partnership with GeekSquad is to pass you off to them so they get their $99 for passing you off to someone else. Now I'm questioning why I thought this was going to be straight-forward.

· · 6 years ago

So, the subsidized programs (ChargePoint America and BAAQMD) ended up being too complicated and restrictive for me. I decided to just buy the Leviton charger directly from Leviton.

Others have mentioned some cheaper chargers but they weren't significantly cheaper to me ($1000 vs $1300). Plus, the Leviton was really easy to buy online with really clear instructions and specifications. Double-plus, the Leviton is the same guts as the Ford-branded charger.

Interestingly the Ford dealer doesn't seem to carry the Ford-branded charger shown in all of the literature online. I was interested in getting it simply because it said "Ford." But the dealer said that I'd actually have to try and buy that charger form Best Buy/GeekSquad/Mr. Electric. That seems strange and it's probably not true, but I decided I wasn't going to give GeekSquad any of my money. And, I'm tired of calling people that don't have any information for me. (I can just buy a nice Ford sticker and affix it to my boring gray charger.)

What it costs to get a charger in San Francisco, CA:

  • $1500 for the Leviton Charger (including shipping and taxes). There's probably cheaper chargers around but not significantly cheaper and Leviton is pretty much the top Google result. You want to get the 32 amp charger.
  • $250 for PG&E to come install a smart meter. I went with the E-9B plan. There's other options that might save you this $250.
  • $100?? For inspection. PG&E says that San Francisco insists on inspecting their work. I'm assuming that costs money but I don't have that quote yet.
  • $600?? For installation by an electrician. This hasn't happened yet but I'm assuming it will cost somewhere in that neighborhood.

So, getting the charger is pretty much covered by the $2500 rebate that California offers. Right now, the charger is being shipped to me and PG&E is deciding when they feel like installing my new smart meter. Then I have to schedule the city to come inspect it. Then I can have my electrician come and finish the job.

It's feeling like this process will probably take a few weeks to finish. I'm not expecting PG&E to be in any hurry and the charger actually takes more than a week to ship, even with the overnight option.

I'm probably the only person who's car is arriving so quickly that I won't be able to get the charging station installed in time! I'll update this with the final costs. I've not seen anywhere else that walked through the entire painful process.

· · 6 years ago

You will need to go to the SF Building Department and get a permit. The fee is $160 for permit and inspection.
You seem to be selecting separate metering of your EV only. This is the most expensive type of installation since you will be required to install a separate service for that meter in addition to the 240V line to the EVSE. If the line between your existing meter and the pole is not big enough, you will have to pay PG&E to replace that line with larger conductors. Putting your whole house on E9A is a much easier way to go. However, your peak time usage will be expensive.

Good Luck.

· · 6 years ago

My building already has smart meters and much of the building was upgraded in the early 2000's. I'm not terribly worried about the old infrastructure issues that are always mentioned. I've got a modern fusebox, etc.

It's unclear how much more expensive my household electricity would be with an E-9A meter set up. E-9B is said to only be $250 from PG&E for the additional meter. Since I'm getting a refund from the state, the expense is not a deterrent for me. I'm actually excited to know exactly how much electricity my charger uses.

You can look up the PG&E Residential Rates (first Google result for "pg&e residential rates"), but they're difficult to understand. Weirdly, the off-peak rates are slightly higher with E-9B for off-peak and slightly lower for peak and part-peak. I guess I need to check in on that.

Rate Types

  • E-9A - Whole residence, but only if you own an electric car.
  • E-9B - Electric Car Only (whole residence would be on E-1 or E-6)
  • E-1 - Flat rate for your residence (without an EV)
  • E-6 - Variable rate for your residence (without an EV)

Here's the relevant rates:

  • E-9A peak: $0.30178 (summer only)
  • E-9B peak: $0.29726 (summer only)
  • E-1 flat rate: $0.12845 (all-year)
  • E-6 peak: $0.27883 (summer only)
  • E-9A part-peak: $0.09876 (summer) $0.09864 (winter)
  • E-9B part-peak: $0.09424 (summer) $0.09462 (winter)
  • E-6 part-peak: $0.17017 (summer) $0.11776 (winter)
  • E-9A off-peak: $0.03743 (summer) $0.04680 (winter)
  • E-9B off-peak: $0.04479 (summer) $0.05339 (winter)
  • E-6 off-peak: $0.09781 (summer) $0.10189 (winter)

E-6 TOU (summer weekdays)

  • peak: 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • part-peak: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • off-peak: All Other Hours

E-9 TOU (summer weekdays)

  • peak: 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • part-peak: 7:00 am to 2:00 pm, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight
  • off-peak: All Other Hours

It's a lot to read through but I gather this: E-9A is a great deal for your whole house, but it greatly expands the definition of peak and off-peak. Basically you're reduced to an off-peak of midnight to 7am. So, you're almost always using peak or part-peak. For the E-9 rates, part-peak is roughly equal to the off-peak rate for E-6.

So, long-story-short, maybe E-9A is the best deal because it seems like some more forgiving rates would then apply to your whole house. I guess I have a smart meter so I can check what the rates would actually be.

· · 6 years ago

I crunched the numbers for my own current usage, not including an EV. Here's what I found:

  • E-6 isn't a very good deal for me. It costs about $2 more per week than E-1
  • E-9A comes out to 27 cents more per week than E-1
  • Factoring the $250 (minimum) it costs for the E-9B installation, it will take around 17 years to make up the 27 cents a week difference.
  • It probably makes financial sense to convert my residence to E-9A, instead of installing a separate E-9B for the EV and keeping E-1 for my residence.

· · 6 years ago

For me the best approach was to go whole-house TOU and put solar PV on the roof to offset peak consumption premiums.
I agree with you that it is hard to justify the expense of installing a separate meter. Put that extra money into the PV where you definitely gain.

· · 6 years ago

Solar is a great option that I'm looking into as well. That, of course, is an additional expense, and it is a totally separate process than getting a charger installed.

· · 6 years ago

It is independent to getting the charger installed but can definitely affect the rate plans you choose.
I started out just plugging in to a 240 volt outlet in my garage for the first 4 years of driving an EV and focused my efforts and money on trying to save my EV1, then trying to promote EVs. Once the battle began to turn and a new EV came on the market again, I bought it and continued to use the simple 240 volt wall outlet. After a year, I installed PV to knock my tiered rates down to an acceptable level. Finally, I installed permanent chargers. The last thing I did was switch to the whole-house TOU rate so that I'm actually making money now until the CA law that's unreasonably hurting the power companies changes.
Permanently mounted wall chargers are actually a fictitious artificial barrier to entry put in place by institutions trying to make EV acceptance harder for their own gains such as power companies, government agencies, and charger manufacturers.
They are definitely more convenient but certainly not necessary.

· · 6 years ago

@robert, this feels like unhelpful trolling. It's irrelevant if you think things are too expensive or if you have dreams for the future possibilities. Neither of those things relate to this thread.

I'm trying to get real information on how to charge my too-expensive EV today.

· grumpy (not verified) · 6 years ago

The best deal I have found is the charger from GM from SPX. They sell the charger for 490$ and can arrange for a quote with one of their local contractors and they provide a 3 year warranty on everything. Your cheapest bet is to get the charger from them and find your own contractor. My GM dealer wanted 690$ for the charger.

· Bryan Whitton (not verified) · 6 years ago

If you are looking into a solar PV system check with your Ford Dealer regarding the Drive Green for Life program.

· · 6 years ago

@bryan Thanks! There's more information on the Sun Power website.

@grumpy You can see the chargers available for the Volt. The $490 Voltec is a 15A charger. That would take 10 hours to charge a Focus. You want a 30A charger for a Ford Focus (to get the advertised 4 hours).

The GE WattStation costs $1,095, and is a 30A charger; that would work just fine for a Focus. The Blink and the ChargePoint are also 30A. The Power XPress is a 24A charger, which is weird. (You can view the spec sheet for any of the chargers on that site to confirm).

· · 6 years ago

The press release on the SunPower website links to the wrong page. Here's the Drive Green for Life press release from Ford. This doesn't seem to have been started yet, based on the information available on the web. All of the news mimics the press release from Aug 10, 2011.

· · 6 years ago

The SunPower/Ford system is said to cost around $10,000. Here's the page on the SunPower site explaining the program.

I'll be checking into this as I've been wanting to get solar anyway. I did some calculations and I don't think it will cost me more than $1 for a 100% charge, making $10k is a little steep. The E-9A rates for PG&E are pretty cheap.

· · 6 years ago

That PowerXpress is a 24A charger, yes, but it can be set to do 32A instead: there is a small switch inside. (This is based on reading; I haven't seen one.)
Unit makes sense to me, but I would like to know of any comments about how it works, or if the line-power plugs they use are non-standard (if do not get the hard-wired version).

· slefore (not verified) · 6 years ago

@heygrady - Could you please provide more information on the state rebates that you refer to for the chargers. I applied for the state rebate for the car itself, but haven't seen anything regarding the chargers. I am in Santa Clara county, but most of things that I have seen for San Francisco also apply to South Bay. Thank you!

· · 6 years ago

For incentives, search on

Fueling & Charging Equipment:
BAAQMD - $700 rebate, can maybe be combined with ChargePoint America. I received conflicting information about this.

ChargePoint America - free charger, with conditions. I think you pay for installation. I ended up not going with these guys and they wouldn't answer my questions about how it worked.

Federal tax credit - $7500 from the US
Clean Vehicle Rebate Project - $2500 in CA

Utility Rate Discounts:
Pacific Gas and Electric - special EV utility rates

Special Decals & Permitting:
Decal for High Occupancy Vehicle - white sticker for driving in the car pool lane

· · 6 years ago

That ChargePoint link led me to this message today:
"Application Process Now Closed
ChargePoint America has reached capacity and is no longer accepting applications for home charging stations. If you have applied and are awaiting approval, you are now on our wait list."

(It appears that ChargePoint equipment is by Coulomb, which makes a versatile but Very expensive charger (EVSE), the CT503. That is a device that is otherwise attractive based on its flexibility -- which makes it complicated, however.)
Think I shall opt for simpler equipment, and must give up hope of a rebate on it.

Utility Rate Discount: I suspect that the "net metering" I have now for my solar generating (through PG&E) overrides most options for rates.
My bill is marked "Rate Schedule: NEMS XB". It works, but is complicated, with a strange annual "true-up" adjustment.

· · 6 years ago

@Jim T You may want to run the numbers yourself. PG&E will provide your rate structure. The key is how much it costs to charge between midnight and 7am. For the E-9A it's around 3.7 cents a kW/h. The battery on a Ford Focus Electric is 23 kW/h.

In a perfect world it will cost me between 85 cents and $1 for a full charge. There's some inefficiencies with charging, so it isn't perfect. Even if you figure 25% (totally random number) of the electricity is wasted while charging, it would take 29 kW/h to charge my 23 kW/h battery and cost me around $1.06.

So, figure our what your nighttime rate is and multiply it by 29 to see what the worst-case scenario will cost you.

· Leonard G. (not verified) · 6 years ago

If you need to know what your EV or plug-in hybrid is using in KW, but have a single billing meter of any type, simply have a general purpose (unidirectional) meter socket installed in the 240 to the charger. If you need to know the $cost, this will only work if you restrict charging to to some specific metering time (probably off-peak) and do the computation when seasonal costs change (if they do, probably not for off-peak).

- Leonard G.

· · 5 years ago

"Utility Rate Discount: I suspect that the "net metering" I have now for my solar generating (through PG&E) overrides most options for rates.
My bill is marked "Rate Schedule: NEMS XB". It works, but is complicated, with a strange annual "true-up" adjustment."

@Jim T: I don't see that schedule in the PG&E Tariffs. Normally for Net Energy Metering, there is what they call an OAS (Otherwise Applicable Schedule). Most solar PV customers choose E-6 because it amplifies the savings generated by the solar system. E-6 is the standard residential TOU (Time Of Use) rate schedule. Your savings is amplified because they charge more during summer peak hours when your solar is generating the most electricity - giving you the biggest possible bill credit for your generation. With a plug in vehicle, you can get E-9 - the main difference being an exaggeration of the off-peak discount and on-peak surcharge. It also has a significant difference in how they define the peak/part-peak/off-peak hours.

The annual true-up is not a complicated thing - it just means that you don't have to pay for the actual energy usage month by month, only the fixed charges for having the utility connection.

Also, having net energy metering does not limit your choices of rate schedule.

· · 5 years ago

The SPX charger I bought through that company's web site works fine.
It is small, simple, and could be moved to a new location easily (especially if new place has a matching outlet). Cost about 1,000$ (+ labor).

Installation was a bit of a headache, partly because I chose to switch from the NEMA 6-30 plug and cord it came with to a 6-50 plug and heavier wire -- that was to allow switching to its higher current setting -- and I picked a "knock-out" on the side rather than top of housing.
Bending the 8-gauge wire in the tight internal space was difficult; would have been easier from the top.
"Knock-out" was their term: actually, it is a faint mark on the thick plastic, unlike the mostly-cut opening common in metal cases.
Tools: they spec. a size of hole saw that is rare (not found in the 4 hardware stores I checked), so I used the next size up (1 and 1/8"). Fine for my indoor installation, but could be worse if outdoors. They also spec. a torque screwdriver that I think is even more rare ... so I tightened down on wires by feel.

· Don (not verified) · 5 years ago

End user is getting screwed by an inside deal between Ford and Best Buy. I would like to purchase a Ford skinned Leviton charger. I don't need anyones "Geek squad" to come to my house and tell me I already have the required 240V outlet and charge me money for that. I called Ford, Geek Squad, and Leviton and they are all on the same page about what they call "the process" to get the Ford skinned Leviton charge station. Geek Squad recently dumped all those VW bugs they were driving and now they drive Ford vans. So the way I read it is that Ford and Best buy put together a "lock out" deal that screws the end user (you and me) to help pay for all those Geek Squad Vans. Shame on Ford and Best Buy.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

When I put mine in here in Cleveland for my i, I had the $99 waived. I bought the leviton through Best Buy, shipped to my house, then had a friend (certified electrician) install it for me. $1400 for the whole thing.

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