Need an Electric Car Charging Station? Here Are the Companies That Are Building Them

By · July 19, 2010

Initially, the installation of electric car charging stations at home will be part and parcel of the EV buying process—meaning you won't be able to do one without the other. While Chevy Volt owners will be able to get away with charging their cars off of a standard 110V wall outlet, Nissan LEAF customers will only be able to buy a LEAF if they've either completed the installation of a home charging unit from Nissan's exclusive contractor, AeroVironment, or signed a waiver with Nissan certifying that they've installed their own charging equipment.

The difference comes down to the size of the battery pack. The Volt is a plug-in hybrid (or extended range electric vehicle, as GM prefers to call it) with a small battery pack, whereas the LEAF is a pure electric with a battery pack that is, effectively, 2-3 times the size of the Volt's (the Volt has a 16 kWh battery pack but only ever uses 8 kW of it; the Nissan LEAF has a 24 kWh battery pack, but will likely only use between 80-90% of it to increase battery life). To achieve a full charge on the LEAF using a 110V outlet would take all day—literally.

Nissan has said that the average cost of installing a Level II home charging unit would run about $2,200—and, as estimates trickle in, so far that seems to be running true (if you've gotten an estimate more than a couple hundred dollars lower or higher than that, let us know in the comments). Given that the LEAF is really the only mass-market car in need of installation of a Level II home charger until about 2012, the demand for home charging units from other companies besides AeroVironment will likely be low until then, unless a significant amount of early adopters choose to organize the installation of their own chargers.

Yet that hasn't stopped a handful of companies from jumping headlong into the world of charging stations. Early on, AeroVironment was really the only company that had devoted itself to developing and building Level II home charging units... and had a product to offer. More than anything else, this probably played a big role in why they got the contract from Nissan to conduct all of the early adopter installations. In light of this, the other companies that have committed to building charging stations have initially focused on industrial quality units—mostly for commercial and municipal installations—but that is slowly changing as we get closer to the launch of the first mass-market EVs.

So now that you've got the lay of the land, who are the companies selling the chargers?

ECOtality

ECOtality North America (formerly eTec) has been at the charging station game for quite some time, having developed the Minit-Charger system to quick charge such industrial equipment as electric forklifts. With all of that background they have taken the Minit-Charger and applied it to both residential and commercial charging stations.

As the manager behind the public-private EV deployment partnership known as 'The EV Project'—which seeks to install thousands of charging stations in 5 deployment states over the next year—ECOtality is also in the business of installing charge stations that are not their own. Currently ECOtality builds chargers that can support both Level I and Level II charging, but not DC fast charging.

In an attempt to liven up their rather staid image, ECOtality has just announced a new lineup of home and commercial Level II charging stations. Perhaps their new stations—designed by global industrial design firm, frog design—will lend them some much needed hipness?

Clipper Creek

Even though they've been selling chargers for decades, Clipper Creek is somewhat of an underdog. Without the sexy design of some of their other competitors, Clipper Creek builds gray boxes that do the job, but are more geared at fleet installation than for business or residential. Even so, the company is clear to point out that their charging stations can be installed anywhere, and in fact, they do the installations of the home charging stations for the Tesla Roadster. Their stations are meant for Level II charging only, and come in a variety of Voltage and Amperage configurations to match customers' needs.

AeroVironment

As indicated above, AeroVironment has scored a bit of a coup having been chosen as the exclusive contractor for the installation of Nissan LEAF home charging units. Although they are mostly known for their residential installations, AeroVironment is also one of the only companies that sells both Level II and DC fast charge commercial units.

AeroVironment is a diverse company, having developed unmanned aircraft for military applications over the past several decades. The company dove headfirst into the EV world when they designed the precursor to GM's storied EV1—the Impact—in the 90s. At the time they also developed the charging stations for the EV1, so the addition of modern EV charging technology to their roster is not a surprise.

Coulomb Technologies

Chances are good that if you've heard anything about charge station installations, you've heard of Coulomb. They are quickly building out their ChargePoint network which will will allow anyone with a membership to pull up to any of their stations and start filling up immediately. Although the vast majority of their 300+ stations deployed at this point are Level I, they have also begun deploying Level II chargers.

General Electric

Just last week GE entered the fray with their WattStation charger. Initially meant only for commercial deployments, they plan to unveil a residential version later this year. The WattStation is, arguably, the best looking of the bunch—a result that is no accident. Designed by legendary industrial designer, Yves Behar, the WattStation is meant to make you feel the exact polar opposite of what you might feel when you pull up to a gas station. It is also the only charger that currently has WiFi smart grid technology built in.

PEP Stations

A company that only beats Clipper Creek in obscurity, PEP has been working with Ford to develop charging stations that are robust and meant to take a beating. Founded by an architect and his brother, PEP stations feature a solid concrete base and a stainless steel top and are only geared, not surprisingly, towards commercial/municipal installations. Without much of a track record, only time will tell what their stations can offer, but when I talked with both brothers at the New York Auto Show, they seemed to think that their stations were more robust than any of the competitions' because they used high quality automotive grade components.

Better Place

Although Better Place is known for its battery swapping schemes, they have also begun deployment of charge stations in Israel and Denmark. Although they don't currently have any plans to sell their stations as one-off residential installations, they're still worth mentioning because their business model seems to shift with the breeze and they might be in the residential charge station arena before we know it.

Leviton

As a well-established electrical supply giant, Leviton has quite a large base of nationwide service technicians to draw from. Perhaps that's why they've decided to include an industry-first 10 year warranty on their new lineup of "Evr-green" home and commercial charging stations?

The Evr-green stations support both Level I and Level II charging, and will work with Coulomb Technologies' already existing ChargePoint Network of charging stations. Leviton has also developed a standard method of installation that they are calling an "industry-first plug-in prewire system" for their Level II chargers that enables consumers to make their homes “plug-in ready” prior to purchasing any electric car. The prewire systems start at under $200 not including installation, and are meant to reduce installation times, lower installation costs and provide flexibility for any future upgrades.

It's not a complete do-it-yourself endeavor because the the prewire kits have to be installed by a Leviton certified installer, but after the system is installed, Leviton says their Level II charging station can be added by the consumer "without any tools."

Those are the only companies that I know of. If you've gotten a whiff of any other players that are flying under the radar, please let me know so that I can include them in this list.

Comments

· Paul Scott (not verified) · 4 years ago

Nick, thanks for compiling this list. It's good to have so many choices.

I'm not at liberty to disclose the name of another entry to the EVSE list, but fairly big player is getting into this field and will announce at Plugin 2010 next week in San Jose. There might be others unknown to me, but this year's show will be a big one with many announcements in the EV field.

· · 4 years ago

Hey Paul,

Not you've whet my whistle... Too bad I can't make Plugin 2010 this year!

· Jorge Samayoa (not verified) · 4 years ago

Nick,
AeroVironment has been into EV chargers since it helped develop Chevrolet's EV-1 electric vehicle in the 90's. I would hardly characterize that as "slipping into" electric vehicle work.

· · 4 years ago

Good Point Jorge, thanks for the clarification. By "more recently" I meant "in the last 15 years"... it's all in the eye of the beholder, no? Given that AV has about a 30 year history, that is more recently for them :) I'll change my text to make it more clear though.

· Tom K (not verified) · 4 years ago

Hi Nick. I have my $99 down on a Leaf. I can't wait for it. I completed the questionnaire for a free charger from Nissan/AeroVironment and have not heard from them since. On the other hand, I haven't been notified about making a $99 home assessment either. Any thoughts?

· · 4 years ago

Nick,
I think you're selling the incumbents short here. Neither AeroVironment nor Clipper Creek are new to the EV charging business.
AeroVironment's Posicharge division has been selling industrial fast charging equipment for over a decade (http://avinc.com/ev_charging/posicharge) so there's nothing particularly recent about their sales of EV charging equipment. The only difference today is that they're expanding to the consumer market.
Clipper Creek has been selling chargers for decades as well. They sell Tesla's home charger today and they sold most of the old Avcon conductive chargers back in the '90's under the name EVI. These Avcon chargers are found all around California and are mostly still functional despite zero maintenance and over a decade of abuse. See www.evchargernews.com and look for Avcon chargers.

· · 4 years ago

Tom K.,

If I were you, I'd contact Nissan to let them know that you haven't been contacted about a home assessment yet. I don't think the fact that you are signed up for a free charger is related to the fact that you haven't been contacted RE: the assessment. If you do contact Nissan, let us know what they say.

Ex,

Thanks for the history! Maybe I did sell them short a little bit, I'll see what I can do to update the post.

· patrickvdh (not verified) · 4 years ago

Leviton Announces Residential Charging Stations for Electric Vehicle Market
http://bit.ly/ajXAdR

"t provides for simple do-it-yourself “plug and play” installation of the charging station at the customer’s convenience. "

· · 4 years ago

Patrick,

Thanks for that, I saw that come through today and we'll likely cover it in another blog post. In the meantime I'll read through the announcement and add it in to the Coulomb section.

· Tom K (not verified) · 4 years ago

Hey Nick,
I took your advice and sent Nissan a jingle. They got back to mr pretty quick with this note: "Dear Tom,
 
You will most certainly be hearing from eTec on their decision to qualify you or not very soon. 
 
If at some point you learn that you are declined by eTec for that particular study, then you would need to follow the standard assessment/installation process through AeroVironment and you will receive notification as such.  Please look for updates from eTec on the status of the free charger offer.
 
Sincerely,
________________
Yvonne
Nissan EV Customer Support
1-877 NO GAS EV (664-2738)"

· · 4 years ago

Tom,

Great info for our readers. So my hunch that the two weren't related was wrong. I guess that fully makes sense; wait to see if you qualify for eTec then if you don't you just get put back in the regular stream of charger installs. Thanks!

· Folsomev (not verified) · 4 years ago

I just heard the other day about a charger manufacturer by the name of Gosmart. They are supposedly going to be supplying charging stations in Hawaii, via http://voltacharging.com/ Have you heard of Gosmart or Volta Charging?

· Folsomev (not verified) · 4 years ago

".... Nissan LEAF customers will only be able to buy a LEAF if they've completed the installation of a home charging unit from Nissan's exclusive contractor, AeroVironment."

Not correct. Nissan has officially stated that Leaf buyers can sign a waiver and use any compatible J1772 charging station, and any installer they wish. Or even just charge from 120V if they wish!

· · 4 years ago

Folsomev,

Thanks for the info. Where did you hear that? Not really doubting you, that's just different info from what I've known to this point. I'll double check with Nissan when I see them at Plugin 2010 tomorrow.

· · 4 years ago

Nick,
We beat down the waiver issue on this thread:

http://www.plugincars.com/nissan-sorry-no-exceptions-charging-equipment-...

First there was hubbub about how old-school EV drivers were being forced to go through an unnecessary process--followed by angry emails to Nissan--followed by Nissan saying that folks can sign waivers if they are willing to take full responsibility for taking care of their own charging.

· Ray (not verified) · 4 years ago

A few more players in the charging station world is Plugless Power www.pluglesspower.com Shorepower www.shorepower.com and OpConnect www.opconnect.com They offer some good alternatives.

· Dan (not verified) · 4 years ago

Is there a website that has list of all these level II residential charge station pricing?

· germaihe (not verified) · 4 years ago

Are there any cost estimates for charging one's vehicle?

· · 4 years ago

@germaihe,
You can assume it will cost between about 2.5 cents to 5 cents per mile depending on what your electric rates are in your area.
An EV goes between 3 and 4 miles per Kilowatt-hour of electricity depending mainly on how fast you drive. Across the US, the price per Kilowatt-hour generally costs between about 10 cents and 20 cents.

· pat (not verified) · 3 years ago

are there franchises out there that i could buy into, or would i have to finance a charging station all on my own from start to finish?

· · 3 years ago

Pat, are you asking about a business/commercial installation?

· pat (not verified) · 3 years ago

nick,
im interested in maybe buying up land close to highways and major routes in my state to put charging stations in. im asking if there are companies that i would have to buy into to install such stations on property that i may own

· · 3 years ago

Pat, there are lots of options/hardware for commercial installations.

Firstly you'd have to decide if you wanted to have Level 2 or DC Fast Charge stations—or a mix of both. Level 2 stations can add about 15-25 miles of range per hour of charging (rate dependent on vehicle) and DC Fast Charge stations can add about 80 miles of range in 25 minutes of charging. A Level 2 installation would likely cost about $3-4K to install and a DC Fast Charger would likely cost about $50-60K to install.

In terms of purchase options, you can buy into a network such as ECOtality's Blink Network or Coulomb's ChargePoint Network. When you do that they may help you with the installation costs and then would provide the service I believe. You can also just purchase the equipment on your own from other manufacturers. Eaton is pursuing a rather unique option in this arena in that they don't provide a network themselves, but have the software and the skills to help you build you own network if you wanted. There's no such thing as a franchise right now, but if I were you I would contact all three of those companies to get started and deciding what direction you want to head.

· Mark (not verified) · 3 years ago

Nick,
I'm interested in taking advantage of the $2,000 Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property tax credit which expire on December 31, 2010 but I'm not yet sure which vehicle I'd like to purchase. I'm considering the all-electric Nissan Leaf and also a couple of other hybrids. My question is, if I have the Nissan approved charging station installed, but decide to go with one of the hybrid vehicles (the Ford Escape for example), will the station be compatible with these vehicles?

Thanks
Mark

· Richard Donelly (not verified) · 3 years ago

Don't forget to check out GRIDbot EV charging network, and their dual EV charging station. www.gridbot.net

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

FYI - There are some other manufacturers out there who you did not mention. One of them is EV-Charge America who has the least expensive home charger I have found where they do not require you to have them install the unit. They are currently offering their home charger (including J-1772) for a promotion price of only $649 plus shipping. They also offer multi port commercial units which can charge up to 4 vehicles simultaneously on 1 charger, and their network is up and running. You can check them out at www.EV-ChargeAmerica.com

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

In addition to companies that sell home charging station equipment, are there installers, ones that you can hire independantly?

· Dr Greg Alexander (not verified) · 3 years ago

Nick, I am a reservation holder for my LEAF. Nissan let me know I could ORDER. I did. Right after that, I got info from Baker Nissan South, Kenny Franks about NRG EV Services www.eVgoNetwork.com
This company, NRG is the Parent company to Reliant Energy here in Houston, and they are from the east coast. Heres the deal. For $89/ month, they take control of your charging, including the installation of your AeroVironment home charger. You DONT pay the $2200, and they even use the same company that came out to give you an assessment. You even get your $99 back. You also get unlimited HOME electricity. They take the amount you charge OFF your home electric bill. You have to be in one of four electric providers....Green Mountain, TXU, Reliant, and someone else...more probably to follow. THEN.....they are building up a network of chargers....LEVEL 3 as well as Level 2 all over the city you can use....FREE ( well, you are a subscriber) for 36 months. No lay out of the $2200, ALL the juice you can use, and they are starting in HOUSTON, and are going to make it an EMERALD CITY OF ELECTRIC INFRASTRUCTURE, then branch out. These guys are legit, and I am signed UP. Sure I could pay to just have my own unit put in at home, but, then Id have to put up the money UP Front. They even have a formula for the "special installations" that are not the "standard" installations. My Special was $2914. I will pay $232 for eVgo to install ALL of it. This is the dam answer I tell ya !!
Check it out anyhow.

· · 3 years ago

Greg, and all, this post is badly in need of updating. I actually have written an article about NRG:

http://www.plugincars.com/worlds-first-privately-funded-electric-car-cha...

I plan on updating this post to include all the new players that have entered the arena—in fact we here at plugincars.com have high hopes to make a section much like our "cars" section that is devoted to charging stations.

Sorry about the outdated information! Crazy that it's outdated and it's only a few months old! Just goes to show you how quickly this world is changing.

· · 3 years ago

Mark, short answer: yes! The new standard is designed to work with every electric vehicle.

· · 3 years ago

Anonymous: installing Electric Vehicle Service Equipment ("EVSE" of charging stations) is no different than installing a new plug or receptacle really. It requires a certified electrician who knows the code associated with installing EVSE (or at least can read up on it). It's basically the equivalent of wiring for a new electric dryer.

So what that means is that any electrician you trust can install the station for you. Some companies have their own network of "certified" installers, but that just means they've gone through training offered by the company. You can easily buy your own station and have your own electrician install it.

· SeattleBlueLeaf (not verified) · 3 years ago

But make sure you are aware of the permitting rules in your municipality. For instance, Seattle requires a permit to install an EVSE and not having one could cost you steep penalties. In Seattle's case, this is how the Government run City Light utility is aware that a EVSE is located at the residence.

· · 3 years ago

Good point SeattleBlueLeaf! I live in central Washington and here the county and cities are largely staying out of it, deferring to the state on permitting issues. That is one of the benefits of using a "certified" installer is that they will be more likely to know about any special permits. Best thing to do is just call your local permitting authority and tell them what you want to do—they'll let you know about any special requirements.

· SeattleBlueLeaf (not verified) · 3 years ago

for instance the City of Seattle has a CAM memo that explains the whole process: http://www.seattle.gov/DPD/Publications/CAM/cam132.pdf

Look for something like it from your own municipality as Nick said.

· Paul (not verified) · 3 years ago

Just wanted to let the group know that Nissan allows LEAF owners to waive the $2,200 installation. I phoned Nissan, and they marked my account with my preference. When I went to order, all I had to do was click.
I have read and understand the above information and I wish to proceed without a home assessment from AeroVironment Inc.

· Bill S (not verified) · 3 years ago

Thank You

· Charlotte (not verified) · 3 years ago

Hi Nick - Just beginning to research electric cars. I'm in California and I have a 40 mile (each way) commute and sometimes more driving for meetings, so I'd have to convince my employer to install a charger. Can you suggest how to start this research to present to my company? Do you think one charger station is better than others for this purpose? Thanks.

· Heidi Barriage (not verified) · 3 years ago

Hi Nick,

I represent a custom metal manufacturing company in Ontario, Canada. With the adoption of electric vehicles and the expansion of EV charging stations, we recognize ths is a market that is going to grow rapidly. We are trying to position ourselves and look for metal manufacturing opportunities - in particular, the metal housings or enclosures required for EV Charging Stations and Battery Storage. Who are some of the players we should be connecting with for further dialogue on a Canadian EV Station rollout? Most of the companies I'm reading about now are in California.

Feel free to visit our website to learn more about our capabilities http://www.melitron.com

Hope you can point me in the right direction.

Heidi Barriage

· Trish (not verified) · 3 years ago

I can help get public chargers at no cost to the property owners. tsayre@ccgisales.com

· Abakus Solar (not verified) · 3 years ago

We called Aerovironment three times last week in order to procure ten charging stations. I am a national sales director for a solar panel distributor. I have a customer who is pitching charging stations to a local high end mall. When I didn't get a phone call back, I had to call their public relations company to at least get a name. If this is the way they treat their "prospects", I would hate to see how they treat their warranty work.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

SemaConnect is another electric car charging company near the Annapolis, MD area.

· Barry Z (not verified) · 3 years ago

Nick,

We are trying to install a charging station at the company parking lot. No one has an electrical vehicle yet. So we are not sure which charger to consider. Is there such a thing as universal charger (good for all vehicles)? If it does not exist, what would be the next best thing?

Thanks

Barry

· · 3 years ago

Barry,

Any EVSE(charging station) you buy now will have the new industry standard J1772 connector. This means virtually any EV bought since last year will be able to use it. The only electric cars that won't be able to use it are home built EV's that didn't upgrade to the J1772 and Tesla roadsters but mist Tesla owners have purchased or made adopters so they can charge with J1772 connectors. Just make sure the charger is J1772 compliant and you are all set. Also, please make sure the charger is 220V, and a minimum of 30amps. If you are going to do it, it's best to do it right. Some of the new plug-ins like the LEAF and volt do not charge at 30 amps, but most EV coming out in the next few years will and it's better to be ready for them. It won't cost much more than if you installed a 15amp charger and it will make the world of a difference to the EV owners.

· · 3 years ago

@Barry,
Let me add to Tom's statement.
The voltage can be between 208 volts and 240 volts for your company site, depending on what is easily available.
208 volts is often available at industrial facilities easier than household 240 volts because they can grab one leg of a 3-phase circuit.
For workplace charging, I'll second Tom's recommendation that they support 30 amp charging (with 40 amp breaker) as it will allow employees to charge early in the morning, before the load on the grid peaks and while commercial rates are generally lower. All of the Clipper Creek, AeroVironment, Coulomb, and Blink charging stations (EVSEs) can handle 30 amp charging. SPX and some of the others may not.

· Barry Zhang (not verified) · 3 years ago

Hi Tom and ex-EV1 Driver,

That was totally helpful! Thank you very much indeed. The two charging stations are the last pieces of the puzzles in our proposed LEED Gold building. We can now move forward. J1772 with 30+amp capacity. Very sweet. Thank you again.

Barry

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

is there money out there for the little man to make money in this game. I see their are companies out there that are manufactering and selling thier chargers. Other cpmpanies like columb aree in partnerships with manufactering compoanies. My question is, where is the opportunity in the creation of electric charge infrastructure, for the little guy. How can the small guy make some money in this game?

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

I'm into buying stocks, and since I've seen big companies really make a push for making electric cars available to everyone I thought the best route for buying stocks is to buy "charging stations" as that is the main reason as to why people will/won't buy the cars(availability of charging stations) I was wondering if you could give me some knowledge on this company I've been watching for a while, stock symbol "ccgi" car charging group.

· · 3 years ago

The Car Charging Group is an installer of charging stations, not a manufacturer of chargers. There are many of these, ranging from your local electrician to large companies with large numbers of (usually sub-contracted) installers. Most manufacturers of car charging stations have approved or certified installers or they will sell you hardware. The big issue is who stands behind the warranty, the installer or the manufacturer.

· EV Driver (not verified) · 3 years ago

This is an excellent Article, and beside the OEM EVSE (EV Charger) Companies, there are also companies I just discovered that are working on a Condo Power Model here in Toronto - ParkPlug Power, www.parkplug.ca and there are Solar EV Charging options like Timberrockes.com

Anyone interested in supporting an Electric Vehicle Show with their EVSE product line as an Exhibitor - please check us out at www.evfest.ca - and if you have an EV you would like to exhibit as a personal one - likewise! Even if you just want to come and see - we have registration now open for guests and even Volunteers to help with the show!

· · 3 years ago

For the Mitsubishi 'i', Best Buy's Geek Squad is supposed to do the Garage Site Survey, and install Eaton 220V Level 2 chargers. Here in Hawaii, the only supported territory is Oahu where Best Buy is located. If you're on an outer island, like me in Hilo on the Big Island, or on Maui, or on Kauai, no decision has been made yet, if they will let you buy an Eaton Charger and let your own electrician install it, or if you can go ahead and get a different type of charger without voiding your battery warranty.

· Saif (not verified) · 3 years ago

www.ev-chargeamerica.com

· Leaf Owner (not verified) · 2 years ago

Nissan set up a company to estimate cost of installation of my EV Charger. The cost came in at about $1600 and they installer would gladly add $700 to that for the AVON charging station. That was the cost to run a 40 Amp electrical box 50 feet form the box in my garage, straight up into the attic, across an open ceiling and down through one wall. We told them no thanks. We found an electrician that estimated he could do it for $250. My guess is he will be done in less than two hours. We will acquire our own AVON charger. God, I love the free market.

· · 2 years ago

@Leaf Owner,
The free market is great and leaves us free to make our own mistakes. It allows Nissan to contract with a company to install chargers and pays them well to guarantee it is done right, even if the purchaser knows little about chargers or what they are doing.
Others who know a lot, of course, can save a little money because they already know what they are doing.
However, since you don't know the difference between an Avcon and a J-1772 EVSE, I highly recommend that you pay the extra to let Nissan take care of you or you might end up spending a lot more, correcting your mistakes.

· George (not verified) · 2 years ago

@leafowner
As a licensed electrician the cost of materials to complete the job and the time it would take to do it that electrician must be losing money. I would make sure that he is also licensed and that he carries liability ins.

@Nick Chambers
I am looking into trying to become an installer for the auto makers. Do you have any links that i might be able to contact them or get on a lists?

· · 2 years ago

George: You won't be working for the auto makers, you would be working as a certified installer for the EVSE manufacturer (Aerovironment, Clipper Creek, etc) Most of their websites have a link for licensed electricians to use that tells you how to become a certified installer for their EVSE's. I've already directed a couple electrical contractors to these sites so they could become installers here in New Jersey. They do make you jump through a few hoops though, just warning you. You don't just send them your credentials. You'll have to attend a workshop at the very minimum.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

What about Schneider Electric? I hear they have some EV charging stations.

· Minnesota (not verified) · 2 years ago

Just got an AeroVironment Home Charging Dock and Installation Quote for over $3500.00 (gulp)! I was expecting higher than normal because I'm in a 3rd floor condominium unit with my circuit breaker box in my unit on the 3rd floor, but all the meters in the underground garage. Just wasn't expecting that much higher... I guess they have to do some fancy work downstairs in the underground garage to run the service directly from my meter, since they can't get upstairs to my circuit breaker box from the garage (even if they could it would be impractical). They need to install a 60A sub-panel directly off my meter (that's probably the extra part) plus a 40 Ampere 240 volt circuit breaker in a new panel (the new panel's probably also extra). I suppose with this kind of a complex setup I'll want to go with the experts, even though it costs more.

· n3sjh (not verified) · 2 years ago

Just let me buy the damned charging station, I will take care of getting power to it!

· · 2 years ago

@n3sjh,
That is certainly possible with most charging stations. Nearly all except perhaps Blink and Coulomb will sell you the station to install yourself.

· SeattleBlueLeaf (not verified) · 2 years ago

yes - you can buy them via the big Home fix it type stores. They usually don't have them in the store but they do on their websites.

remember though, many cities still require a permit for the installation of the electrical wire and outlet. Check with your local municipality.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 2 years ago

This is an old article, so obviously there is the $499 15 amp Voltec , and the $799 Schneider Electric (aka Square-D) 30 amp, as well as Eaton's 30 and 70 ampere (price unknown) units,and Pass and Seymour's 16 amp unit (private labeled also for the Fisker) for $749. Although most people seem to have shelled out $999 for the 30 amp GE Wattstation. I dont know anything about it, but Siemens has two $999 units, both 30 amps, one with and one without a plug-in cord, rather like the Wattstation. Clipper Creek also makes a 75 amp j1772 model for $2000. The Schneider wont work with a Tesla Roadster without modification. The Tesla requires a lenient 20 milliampere ground fault trip. Tesla also says there is another make that also does not work, but just make sure you get a unit with a 20 ma ground fault trip if youre using it with a Roadster. This is mainly due to the dopey SAE J1772 standard. The Roadster meets the Standard, and so does the Schneider, but they dont work together, and neither company will help you resolve the discrepancy, although at least Tesla talks nicely to you, not like the meanies at Schneider.

· Ryan (not verified) · 2 years ago

Hey everyone, I am Ryan with LilypadEV. We are a charging station service provider. We have commercial and residential charging stations and we have been supplying counties, universities, homeowners, hospitals, hotels all over. We also have a team of qualified electricians all over the country that will perform the installation with no debris left at your house. we also provide a 1 Year materials/workmanship warranty on our installation work. We have variety of charging stations for you needs. For more information send me an email at info@lilypadev.com

· Jim T (not verified) · 2 years ago

I am close to buying a Ford EV, which can charge at up to 6.6 kW (30A).
Truly want to make the battery capacity last as long as possible.

1. Is there a gain if limit charging current to Less than max.?
(Seems likely that max. current causes higher temperature, which is harder on batteries.)

2. A few charging stations appear able to select the rate, i.e. 30A or less; Blink and the soon-to-come Siemens VersiCharge are only ones I have read about.
Are there others?
Have any of you used such??

3. Do you think it would help to keep state of charge (SOC) below 100%, except right before longer trips?
Some articles recommend 80% or less most of time, which Nissan's Leaf makes easy to do FOR extended battery life.

· · 2 years ago

@Jim T,
1) Lithium-ion batteries generally do best at 50% SOC and are worst at 0 and 100% SOC so if you can avoid leaving them fully charged or empty for long periods of time, that is generally best. I'm sure there may be variants of the batteries that aren't this way but this is the general rule of thumb that I know of.
This generally means that the best charging regimen is to charge to 50% immediately, then, just before you drive the car, charge it to 80% or, only if you need to, 100%. I don't know of any cars that make this easy to do. I guess they figure that is too complicated for the average person and may scare them away.
The easiest way to be "pretty good" is to always charge to only ~80%. This is the default for the Tesla Roadster and, with a little effort, can be done with the Nissan Leaf. I don't know about other EVs. Given the lack of seriousness with which Ford developed their EV, I wouldn't set my expectations very high. The couldn't even be bothered to let their engineers design a battery pack that fits nicely into the car. Instead, they just threw the batteries in the trunk.
I, personally really like the ability in the Leaf and Tesla Roadster to be able to select 80% SOC since I live up a very steep hill and, if I charge to 100%, I don't get any regen. With 80%, I don't have to use any brakes to stay below the 30 mph speed limit.
2) Regarding charging speeds: Tesla Roadsters allow the operator to choose the charging rate independent of what the charger can produce. I really like this feature and have used it at RV parks that have weak breakers that want to blow if I draw 40 Amps or my own garage whose old wiring is best kept below 15 Amps even though the plug should be rated for 24 Amp draw. Clipper-Creek chargers and, I believe AeroVironment ones can be set at the factory to tell the car to use less than their rated 30 Amp current but I don't know of any chargers that make this a user-selectable amount. Too bad, I think it could be a good idea.

I'm all for doing what is best for the battery as long as the car still does what it needs to but don't recommend getting too obsessive about it either.

· Jim T (not verified) · 2 years ago

to ex-EV1 driver:
Thank you; your answers are reasonable, and fit with some other info. read recently.
Am having second thoughts about my shifting from Leaf to Ford EV (not final yet). Any guess when more affordable versions of Tesla S will become available ... maybe in 2013?
I too live up a steep hill, but only final 1/4 mile is steep. That may not be significant for the braking regen. you referred to.
Blink charger sheet reads "30Amps (maximum); 12A, 16A, 24A available" Not clear whether that means a 1-time setup option, or can be varied.
I may buy one spec'd at 24 or 25 amp's: they're out there, and the drop from 30A would presumably reduce I-squared*R heating, at least.
PowerXpress (thru SPX?) sheet reads 24A, with 12 to 32A "field adjustable".
ClipperCreek LCS-25 is simply a 25A unit (and is small!).

Aside: I too earned BS then M.Eng. (elec.) from Cornell (class of '70, then '71); lived & worked on both coasts (+ Chicago, where helped design electronic test equipment), now in N. Calif.

· Eugene (not verified) · 2 years ago

received my home install quote today for Leaf home charging station, $3132!!! Not what I thought it was gonna be...hate to shop it out, but need to save $$$

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 2 years ago

Just a comment on my posting. According to the Siemens Versacharger Website, in 2013 in addition to the $999 30 amp models, they will also have a 70 amp SAE j1772 charger for a few hundred more. I'd pick one up if I knew it would work with my Tesla Roadster. The Schneider 30 amp model I have didn't work with it and I had to redesign the unit to make it work, and also put some box lugs in the thing to keep it from overheating at 30 amps.

I have also tried a 16 amp Pass & Seymore/LeGrand unit, and even though it should work, the Tesla Roadster and P&S Dock are totally incompatible. I haven't had access to one for long enough to try and engineer a work around as I did with my Schneider, and I don't know what LeGrand's customer service is like. Schneider's Stunk. I was totally on my own.

· · 2 years ago

Bill Howland,
I'm not quite sure why you seem so determined to support the johnny-come-lately companies that are only developing chargers now that EVs are in vogue. Clipper Creek has been making EV chargers for over 15 years and has 70 amp units that are extremely reliable, will work with the Tesla Roadster, will respond if there are problems (although there seldom are), and are made in the USA.
I guess they probably are a few hundred $ more than these new models but they definitely are quality machines.

· · 2 years ago

@Eugene,
One other to consider: SPX (Michigan) makes a good slender charger.
Model EL-50600 cost about 950$ in July 2012 (+ tax, ...), can be set to various currents up to 32 A. (default is 24A.).
Smaller than many others (easy to find space for).
Works fine for me; just had to interpret the odd installation instructions a bit (like use of available tools in place of some nearly impossible to find ones they called for). Should have taken straight path through top of case, rather than the side entry I used (hard to bend heavy cable in there).

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 2 years ago

@ex-ev1-driver

Schneider is the ex- Square - D (which in turn is the old Detroit Switch and Fuse company from over 100 years ago), and if Home Depot and Lowe's is any judge they are probably the most popular units, possibly beaten by the GE wattstations.

I've never heard precisely what the issue was with the WS and Nissan, but since they only have 1 - #18 AWG control, I'm assuming a bad ground will burn out a data chip on the Nissan. Would be interesting if an insider would say exactly what the problem was. Maybe they are embarrassed by this design and aren't saying anything.

Square - D used to be good, however this charger is built to 'Telemecanique' french quality standards, which is pretty gawd-awful. With my own changes, it should be fine for years and years. The only other people who will have problems are FOCUS EV or RAV4 ev, or CODA owners since I believe these are the only ones that can utilize 7200 watts as the Roadster does. Incidentally, that $750 adapter cord I purchased from Tesla states on it "USE ONLY INDOORS", yet I believe I'm the sole Tesla owner who actually does. Everyone else has a mobile connector or home connector (clipper creek) for indoors and ONLY uses that cord outside. So not sure what Tesla was thinking.

I Bought the "Johncomelate" Dock since at $725 + $750 for the cord plus tax on both was less money than proprietary stuff that Tesla sells.

To your mind I should have purchased a Clipper Creek 75 amp J1772 unit for $2295 plus tax. Possibly I should have. But I'm not sure they made it at the time.

· Luiza (not verified) · 2 years ago

I highly recommend R W Schoolfield Electrical Contractors Inc.They perform work in NC,SC and VA.Visit the website at www.rwsec.net .You may call or email them.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 2 years ago

Just a comment on 208 volt charging.... I've never seen it done yet but If I owned a business or was in a house or apartment with 208, I'd purchase an additional 1 kva , 32 volt buck/boost transformer for under $100 and jack the juice back up to 240 for my 30 amp charger. This may or may not necessitate an uprating of the 40 amp breaker since the draw from the 208 volt branch ckt will now be around 35 amps, but its worth it to get a free 14 % increase in charging speed for very little additonal money... I guess most electricians are not familiar with buck/boost transformers, although I have seen architects specify them at times. I've used them in all kinds of different applications, voltages and frequencies, but then I've been around a lot of special situations and am comfortable with out of the norm scenerios.

Alternatively, if I owned a property with 277Y/480, I'd save the money on the big 7 1/2 kva transformer and merely have a small 32 volt, 1 kva buck transformer to lower the juice down to 245 volts for a standard charger. That is provided the service could tolerate the 27 amp single phase imballance.

· · 2 years ago

@Bill Howland,
How much would a 208 V to 240 V transformer cost?

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 2 years ago

@ex-ev1 driver

Perhaps I didn't make it sufficiently clear... If you have either 208 or 277 available, there is no necessity to transform all of the power. Actually, in either case for a 30 amp (7.2 kw EVSE) you could use a 1 kva 240 volt to 32 volt transformer to modifiy the input voltage to the unit. 208 would be boost (actually, the unit would boost its own primary up to 240, making the transformation 32 volts higher or 240). 277 would be hooked up in buck mode (with the 240 volt transformer primary actually running about 244, and getting a 33 volt bucking from the 277).. The reason only a 1 kva transformer (in these cases hooked up as an autotransformer, which means input and output are non-isolated and in fact connected, is that the unit is only working on 17% of the juice.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 2 years ago

@ex-ev1 driver

Perhaps I didn't make it sufficiently clear... If you have either 208 or 277 available, there is no necessity to transform all of the power. Actually, in either case for a 30 amp (7.2 kw EVSE) you could use a 1 kva 240 volt to 32 volt transformer to modifiy the input voltage to the unit. 208 would be boost (actually, the unit would boost its own primary up to 240, making the transformation 32 volts higher or 240). 277 would be hooked up in buck mode (with the 240 volt transformer primary actually running about 244, and getting a 33 volt bucking from the 277).. The reason only a 1 kva transformer (in these cases hooked up as an autotransformer, which means input and output are non-isolated and in fact connected, is that the unit is only working on 17% of the juice.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 2 years ago

@ex ev1 driver

OH, sorry didn't answer the question. About $100 - 150 for a 1000 va (1kva transformer). Since all cars that I've seen always draw the same amount of current no matter what voltage you put on them, putting 240 volts on the unit in lieu of 208 (and I've been to some Nissan Dealers in the summertime when the charging voltage was actually as low as 196), that running on 240 is an easy way to decrease charging time 17%
Just checked Ebay and they actually have some things for as low as $19 for a 1kva transformer, but this was 240 - 120. So you'd have to check from week to week to see what actually is for sale.
There is another restriction on use: Apparently the clipper creek and most other units will work with this, but if a neutral connection is required like on an Eaton unit (its dumb to require this on a EVSE since the juice going to the car is only 2 wire 200-250), but sometimes the EVSE may have a 120 volt transformer internal to it to power the microprocessor, display, etc, which as I say is dumb because the manufacturers should make it work on whatever the car is running on. But hey if you have a brand that requires the neutral, then you probably can't use this buck/boost trick because the neutral will move (in other words in boosting 208 the voltage to ground will be more than 120 on one of the legs, therefore, you'll have to reverse engineer it to see where they have the 120 volt control xfrmr installed and hook the booster on the other leg. If this sounds confusing don't worry about it because your clipper creeks are intelligently designed and don't require worrying about a neutral.

On a 480 volt ckt that is derived from a 3 wire 3 phase system ( no 277 available), you can still do the buck transformer thing, except this time the bucker must work on 50% of the juice (you would use a 240 volt to 240 volt transformer - most commonly available would be 240/480 primary and 120/240 secondary - so you'd just hook it up for 240 on each side. Since this 50% transformation is working on 1/2 the voltage (480 to 240), you'd need a transformer rated 3.6 kva for a 7.2 kva EVSE... Or in the rare old home that had a large 120 volt service only, you'd use the same transformer to provide a 120 volt boost up to 240 for the evse ( input to the ckt in this case would be 60 amps at 120 volts. Where does the 60 amps go exactly? 30 amps to the transformer primary and 30 amps ridden through to the evse, after adding the other 120 volts providing 30 amps at 240. These are just some of the tricks you can pull if you have a weird building and you think you cannot hook up an evse without a total gutting of the electricals. Usually anything available can be made to work. The foregoing is just to indicate that.

· Linda.SF (not verified) · 1 year ago

I am wondering if there is a reference to know what the pricing for a new residential Level II charging station should be. Most of the dealers I find online do not list prices. These dealer http://webosolar.com/store/en/85-ev-charging-stations show prices but IMO they are overpriced. Then you have places like Home Depot where the stations they advertise are not available. I am having a hard time figuring out what is a fair price to pay and where to buy.

· · 1 year ago

@Linda.SF
One place to look is the site I just glanced at:
http://www.pluginnow.com/charging_stations

That includes the station I bought & installed last summer, the SPX one I wrote about 16 weeks ago (to Eugene; see above). Works fine with my Ford EV.

· · 1 year ago

Electric Vehicle Charger Installation Electrician in Toronto

https://sites.google.com/site/torontoelectricians/electric-vehicle-charg...

· · 1 year ago

I recently completed some product photography shooting some of Semaconnect's chargers. Its a cool product. I liked it. Here's a link to some images if you are interested in seeing them in-action. (so to speak).

Peter.

http://marketingimagephotography.com/engineering-photography-services/ch...

· · 1 year ago

Must of the big name brand electrical manufactures are creating car chargers now and installation has become much easier now with the outlet/plug style system verses a hardwire system. If you have a plug in type charger you can take it with you when you move or switch brands if you like. My company TE Certified Electricians installs about 3-4 of these a week now, verses 3-4 a year when this blog was first posted. Its amazing how far electric cars have come. http://www.thrasherelectric.com/electriccarcharger.html

· · 20 weeks ago

we just purchased the volt and would like an opinion for getting faster charging capacity. We would like to have a charging station installed in our home. Can you give an opinion on what is offered that would accommodate the Volt. We also would like to have it installed in our home affordable...

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