Wanted: Fair Costs for Electric Car Home Charger Installations

By · January 27, 2011

As a new generation of plug-in vehicles rolls off the assembly line, a new cadre of consumers has entered the market for home charging equipment. Federal and state incentives are designed to help offset installation costs, which can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. But some customers and electric vehicle advocates worry that the very programs meant to help lower costs for charger installations in practice have set the stage for price gouging.

When it comes to home charging equipment, said Marc Geller, co-founder of the nonprofit advocacy group Plug In America, "It's important for people to know all their options available." Nissan and General Motors are offering an option for consumers to buy the equipment and electrical work through their respective partners, AeroVironment and SPX. This "one-stop shop" approach is simple and low-hassle for consumers, but the convenience can add cost, said Geller.

What Is a Fair Price?

Nissan estimates on its website that an average home charging dock installation in a new home will cost about $2,000, before tax and license fees. According to Steve Gitlin, vice president of investor relations for AeroVironment, the "standard cost" of the company's package deal is $2,200, including a preliminary site assessment, the charging hardware, installation and permitting.

The AeroVironment service comes with a three-year warranty, so if anything goes wrong, a contractor trained and certified by AeroVironment will be available around the clock to come investigate at no charge, said Gitlin. "You can find any one piece at a lower price," said Gitlin, but "you're not going to get all of that from your electrician down the street."

GM, meanwhile, offers a 240V charging station for its plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt through dealerships for $495. The company has partnered with SPX to provide the "one-stop shop" option, from permitting to installation to inspection. Both SPX and AeroVironment emphasize the value of a single point of contact for customers. According to Gitlin, this is not only a matter of convenience but also reduces risk of "finger pointing" between hardware provider and installer in the event of glitches down the road.

Garage of Volt-owner Patrick Wang

Patrick Wang, owner of Chevrolet Volt #10, worked with SPX to have a Coulomb 240v CT 500 Level 2 EVSE installed in his Berkeley, Calif. home. His total out-of-pocket expenses were $400. SPX coordinated the installation and incentives for Wang. He provides a detailed account of the process and the costs on his website.

Typically, GM spokesperson Kevin Kelly said in an interview, this service costs about $1,500, although it varies from home to home. Factors affecting installation costs can include the electrical panel location relative to the charge point; the type of construction (slab or crawl space)' and crucially, whether it's necessary to do a panel upgrade, which can cost up to $1,000, according to California utility Pacific Gas & Electric).

Going Solo to Save Money

As an alternative to the package deal with SPX, said Kelly, a Volt customer "can pull the permits themselves, do the inspection and see what has to be done to their electrical system." It might cost less, but "most people don't have an electrician on call," said Kelly. GM expects a majority of Volt customers will take the all-in-one SPX route "because of the convenience of the service."

Geller, for one, opted to buy the $800 charger from AeroVironment and hired an electrician to install it at his San Francisco home for less than $1,000.

Charging equipment providers might make it easier to buy the charger, without bundling in the related services. Steve Gitlin just called me to follow up with some info that's probably worth including. AeroVironment is now "looking at a program," Gitlin said, that will make the charger available separately from the installation and service package. "Stay tuned on that."

Uncle Sam Installs Free Chargers, At a Cost

As more manufacturers come online with home charging equipment, Geller said, consumers will have more choices, ideally at a range of price points. "Where there is an issue," he said "is with the government-funded programs," referring to a pair of federal programs dubbed The EV Project and ChargePoint America, which provide free home chargers to select plug-in car drivers. "If to get your free charger, you have to use their installer, and costs are unreasonable, that's unfair," said Geller.

The Department of Energy has provided $99.8 million to charge point maker ECOtality for The EV Project, and $15 million to Coulomb Technologies for ChargePoint America. As part of The EV Project, drivers of the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt can qualify for a free home charger, and "most if not all of the costs of installation" will be paid for by the project, as explained on the group's website.

For ChargePoint America, people who buy a Chevy Volt, Ford Transit Connect Electric, Ford Focus Electric, or Smart ForTwo Electric Drive, and who live in one of nine target regions, can qualify for the free charger. Installation costs in most regions are paid by the station owner or individual.

SPX Install

SPX had to replace Wang’s breaker panel because he did not have additional room to install his EV Charger. A Bay Area grant provided $1,200 towards the installation costs. Integration companies like SPX help consumer navigate the confusion of finding incentives.

Individuals participating in ChargePoint America do not have an option to shop around. In order to get the free charging equipment, you must use an installer approved by Coulomb. That's because the federal grant money comes with a few basic strings attached—namely, Coulomb must assure every installation complies with requirements for government contractors, said Scott Miller, ChargePoint America's eastern regional director. For example, Coulomb must provide proof that installers are paid "prevailing wages," and ensure that "no short-cuts" are taken in the permitting process, said Miller.

For Chevy Volts, the approved installer is SPX. According to electric vehicle advocate (and PluginCars.com contributor) Chelsea Sexton, some of SPX's estimates are alarmingly high. She cited examples of plug-in car buyers who found estimates from private electricians as much as 75 percent lower than SPX's estimates for the same project. Reasonable overhead might account for 20-30 percent, she said, but "if you compare estimates for the same job, it shouldn't be that much higher." And although this may not be the rule for SPX jobs, she said, "It's happening often enough to be concerning."

Miller acknowledged that "some people have complained that SPX may be charging more than their own electricians," and listed "several reasons why this is likely to happen." SPX is paying prevailing wages, he said, and also connecting the stations to Coulomb's network operations center in a way that not just any electrician would be trained to do.

Plus, Miller said, SPX provides customer support through a U.S.-based call center. "They have good relations with both Coulomb and GM and can facilitate troubleshooting, not just at the install but throughout the entire program," said Miller. "So what might appear as a higher cost initially may not end up being that way."

ChargePoint America has installed more than 50 home chargers so far, according to Miller. He has seen installation costs ranging from less than $1,000 to an upper bound of about $2,000, but not enough data has come in to calculate a meaningful average cost at this point, he said.

Costs Coming Down, Over Time

Oliver Hazimeh, director of the management consulting firm PRTM, projects prices will come down over time as installation volumes go up and as "larger installers are hired by companies rather than by individual customers." Automakers, he said, "have a vested interest" in cutting installation fees to help reduce the total cost of ownership and make electric models more competitive.

Miller emphasized that local and state incentives are available in many areas to defray the cost of installation in these early days. But government funding should be used efficiently and transparently, said Geller, and public dollars needn't finance a "Cadillac plan" for charging infrastructure. At this stage of the game, he said, "The government should be interested in doing as many installs as possible."

Have you shopped around for home charging equipment and installation? Do you feel like you've gotten a fair deal? What route did (or will) you take?

Comments

· · 3 years ago

At the price they charge for electric vehicles, they should throw the charger in the trunk, like a spare tire, at no additional fee and the car dealer could send out a person trained and install the charger for you, say at two to three hundred dollars or a good dinner at Olive Leaf.

· George Parrott (not verified) · 3 years ago

As the household with one of the early Chevy Volts in the Sacramento Metropolitan region, our Coulomb charge unit was installed by SPX with up to $1200 of the actual installation cost covered by federal funds as well as the charger unit itself. I had our garage pre-wired last year for the anticipated charge unit with a 50amp circuit breaker in the control panel and a dedicated 220v line boxed off at the point in my garage where I wanted the charge unit mounted.

Hence my install was really only mounting the unit and then connecting those wires to my closed off junction box. HOWEVER apparently the Coulomb installation demanded ONLY a 40am circuit breaker on the that line, so the installer also had to replace my 50amp unit with that lower spec. The original install estimate was $650, so I suspect that was what was billed to the regional grant. I had started debating with SPX about even that $650 total when at first I thought I would have to personally pay, for it seemed like my install should not take more than 60-90 minutes IF the circuit breaker did not HAVE to be changed. Given the grant funding the install and swapping out the circuit breaker which ended up taking a total of about 3 hours (for reasons I cannot still comprehend, but...) maybe the $650 was OK.

We are getting the LEAF around the middle of February, so we will be using the Coulomb unit on alternate nights serving both cars or perhaps mostly serving the LEAF, as the smaller Volt battery can be fully charged at OFFPEAK late night rates even with the 110 cord.

· · 3 years ago

@JamesDavis The problem is not the charger (it costs some $700 now and will come down in price). THe problem is install - which will vary a lot depending on individual situation.

A simple install with no changes to panel and short runs inside the garage, should be just over a couple of hundred including getting the needed permits.

But Nissan partner (AV) and GM's partner (SPX) are overcharging for simple installs. They may be ok for complicated ones.

· EVthusiast (not verified) · 3 years ago

I think a lot of you under estimate the permitting time for some of these, I know techs that have waited over 8 hours in line because the offices overreact to the EVSE install

· · 3 years ago

I continue to be surprised that a permit is even necessary. The licensed electricians I know would unlikely pull a permit just to add another circuit, which installing an EVSE basically seems to be. Install a couple of electric room heaters, no biggie. But try to set up for an electric car, and the bureaucracy freaks out...

· · 3 years ago

It took Rabobank in Goleta, CA over a year to get the city to approve the permit to install a charger. The early guys have to allow for having to fight this kind of battle, unfortunately by charging everyone enough to have money left for the trouble cases. I'm sure that several 10s of thousands of dollars were spent on the Goleta situation. As time progresses, planning boards will become more relaxed and this process should speed up. Alternatively, they may find some protests on their hands.

· · 3 years ago

Change in local laws that would make EVSE permitting simple is one of the main reason Nissan is talking to state/local governments in various states. States like ours (WA) have initiated programs simplify and streamline permitting process (not just home but also commercial charger installs).

· · 3 years ago

Just another "Scare the Public on EV's" article. Josie, why don't you go find a rock on the ground and tell people the sky is falling. Electricians have been overcharging people for decades and being gouged is going to happen to any new process.

When will you right a positive EV piece here for Plugin? Again, you just seem like you don't have a Green side to you.

Here's an idea for an article: Find the city/state with the most simple permit process and write about that. Then send this process out to each and every city in the US to adopt as the standard. I just hope you are not being paid to write this drivel.

· · 3 years ago

Wow, @Tony. Your personal attacks and aggression are absolutely uncalled for, and your repeated accusation that I "don't have a Green side" is terribly unfounded. In an effort to turn this in a more positive and productive direction, let me say that I think it's a good idea to identify a model city/state permitting process. Any suggestions?

· · 3 years ago

What about Portland, OR? That city seems to be quite EV friendly, with one of the first fast chargers installed.

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 3 years ago

Well, in Brussels, what for now is still Belgium until the Flemish lingocists put it ablaze, we have 230 V standard and even 400 V, but we simply lack the cars. The Leaf, the Volt, they are all abscent. According to the first price indication for the Opel Ampera we are looking at 43000 € or 60000 $, that is real price gouging.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

For anyone interested in reality, instead of most of the BS above about times to pull permits etc. (some of these EV forums are as bad as car forums, where every idiot with an opinion chimes in with "fact") - sorry, just telling it how it is:
1. In San Jose the permit is not cheap, but it does not take any time to pull. As long as you get a professional electrician that runs a real business, then you will have no issue with permits.
2. In San Jose the inspector will usually fail the install for any little thing, cause they get paid to come out again. So make sure you find an electrician that will be on site during the inspection to call bullshit and answer questions.
3. The install cost from Aerovironment is total BS. They wanted $4500 from me, including cost of charger, permits etc. I am buying the charger (i use that term loosely!) from them for $750 (a total rip-off for a chunk of plastic and wires) and getting it installed (incl. permits, inspection, etc) for $1500, for a total cost of $2250, or half the cost of Aerovironment.
4. Costs will come down not as permits take a shorter time or any other BS, but as more competition is introduced and these price gougers are forced to lower their prices.

So, if you buy a Leaf, buy the charger from Aero or some other provider, and get your own electrician to install it. you will save a bundle and have no drawbacks.

· · 3 years ago

Josie,

I am not the reporter that you claim to be. I said "you" should find the best and write an article about that. Am I suppose to do your job for you? I know that you do not have to prove to me the ways you are green, but you do spin your stories here with a very non green ilk. Why are you going to the Volt people to get your story instead of the real EV maker(s), Nissan or Tesla? All you are going to get from the Volt crowd is that a fully electric is not the answer. They need to have something to constantly breakdown in order for them to make money. Don't you get that by now?!!!

By the way, how many miles have you driven in or on an electric vehicle?

· · 3 years ago

@Tony Stevens. Really, the hostility is unnecessary. I am not asking you to be a reporter -- only trying to open a civil discussion.

There is more to the world of plug-in vehicles than all-electric cars. As Brad Berman noted in a post this week, 321 plug-in hybrid Chevy Volts were sold or leased in January, vs. 87 Nissan LEAFs. Some buyers and prospective buyers have been surprised by or taken issue with the cost of having residential EVSE installed through GM's partner and ChargePoint America. As these projects are being supported by public funds, I believe they deserve scrutiny. And what better place to discuss these issues than a site dedicated to plug-in cars? Turning a blind eye to the Volt does not seem like a very productive, realistic or informative approach to understanding the plug-in vehicle market.

· · 3 years ago

@Tony Stevens,
Can you lighten up a bit. Josie is pretty clearly not the enemy even if you (and I) may disagree with her a bit.

· Paul Scott (not verified) · 3 years ago

Josie,

You may want to look at Santa Monica's permitting process. When I wanted to install an L2 charger at my condo for my LEAF and Vectrix, I convened a meeting with reps from Santa Monica's building and safety, SoCal Edison, Clean Fuel Connections, and an electrician with extensive EVSE experience. We determined that my situation would not support L2, so I had to go with a Level 1 plug. My electricial, William Korthof, did a fabulous installation for a reasonable price.

I pulled the permit from Santa Monica in about 20 minutes, and they waived the fee. SM is very progressive when it comes to both solar and EVs. They very quickly grant the permits and don't charge any fees for either. This is something other jurisdictions would do well to emulate.

· David (not verified) · 3 years ago

Thank-you for writing about this important issue Josie. I was nearly a victim of price-gouging by AeroEnvironment. I CANCELLED MY LEAF ORDER BECAUSE OF IT.

When I pre-ordered a Leaf last April I was given no choice whatsoever: I HAD to have a charger installed before accepting delivery of the car, and I HAD to agree to have AeroEnvironment do the install. I had heard that they were charging around $2K and I had the money set aside for the install. But when AeroEnvironment handed me an estimate of $3,400 I nearly had a heart attack! I live in a small, single-story house. The install would have been very simple. In fact, I had a friend of mine, who is a professional, licensed, commercial electrician, come by my house and give me an second estimate. Including the charger he said his company would have charged me around $1,100 or $1,200 for the install. This is about one-third of AeroEnvironment's estimate!

Nissan refused to answer my emails. So I cancelled my order. AFTER I cancelled my order I received an email from Nissan stating that I could have had someone else do the install if I didn't want AeroEnvironment to do it! Why did they change their policy? Why didn't they inform those of us that pre-ordered early? Why didn't they tell me this BEFORE I cancelled my order?

I don't know how many other customers Nissan lost due to the price-gouging of AeroEnvironment, but clearly Nissan didn't do their homework when they made an agreement with them. Likewise, Nissan had poor communication with those of us that pre-ordered the Leaf.

After reading this article and seeing that people have been paying as little as $650 for a charger install, it makes me even more certain that I did the right thing. I will wait until Ford and others have electric cars for sale. We'll see how they decide on charger installation.

· · 3 years ago

@ex ev1:
I don't consider Josie the enemy here!! I just wish she had put in her article{s} all the info that would clear up chaos here. Like that Nissan did not respond to her request for her article. That would have helped many of us on this site from jumping to her for talking to Ford about range issues. I personally would not have issued the piece unless I had talked to Tesla and Nissan. Correct info eqauals no story.

Paul, sounds like you have an inside helper in SM. Wonder if all pulled electric permits are given out free. Just a comment.

David, sorry to hear about your experience. I talked with a man his weekend who had a long talk with the owner of a Nissan dealer in Phoenix and they refuse to let anyone put a deposit on a Leaf unless you buy the charger from them and have their people do the install. I wonder if they make people pony up for 6 months of gas in advance before they sell an ICE car. Just saying. Betcha Nissan would put your name on the bottom of the list if you told them you wanted to rescind your cancellation. That is if you actually heard back from them. Well, Josie sure does have us talking.

Josie, please try to get the right people to comment for your future articles. And no, I do not believe that if we ignore Fords plugins is not smart. Did you know that the Focus is being built on the original Focus platform? Sadly, that means that the battery placement and the car itself is already flawed. Just proves that Ford is not serious about a fully electric car. Just doing it to keep getting the bailout money givers fuel to give them more next time.

I'm here all week.

· · 3 years ago

Sorry, Incorrect or insufficient info equals no story.

· · 3 years ago

Oh, the Volt is nothing more than a glorified hybrid. And the only way Ford can keep you on the teat.

· · 3 years ago

@Tony Stevens, >Oh, the Volt is nothing more than a glorified hybrid. And the only way Ford can keep you on the teat.<

Huh? I agree that the Volt is a glorified hybrid, but Volt = GM, not Ford.

Your ragging on Josie Garthwaite is getting old. If you don't like her articles you can skip them and read others.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Electrical work as simple as this installation is can easily be done by the homeowner.
That government requirement about "prevailing wages" (which sounds nonsensical, since
one would expect a company to pay "prevailing wages" now wouldn't one?) actually probably refers to "unionized worker prevailing wages", which if that means the same thing UAW wages
mean, will be 3 to 4 times higher than fair market wages. Exactly what right does the Fed have in demanding that taxpayers pay the highest possible wages?
Permits for this should be 24 hour types, and obtainable in minutes and cost around $65.

· Howard Buckalew (not verified) · 3 years ago

I have a 220 dryer plug I never use in my garage. excpt for the plug in cord, what else would guy need?

· · 3 years ago

I'm jealous of George, with two cars to charge on one install!

· · 3 years ago

what are the options for those of us who rent and can't install a charger??? like, i share a 2 bedroom house with the home owner. do i cover the cost of a charger and have it installed? not sure. i really want an EV, but don't think i can get one til i own my own place.

· · 3 years ago

@StevenDavisPhoto,
I, personally don't see any reason why you shouldn't be responsible for installing your own charger. Have you asked your landlord if you can install one? You could take the charging station with you when you leave. The only sunk cost will be running the wiring.

· · 3 years ago

@StevenDavisPhoto, In addition to the suggestion by ex-EV1 driver, you might also consider just charging an EV with conventional outlet, sometimes called "trickle charging" or "level 1". While it is slow — on the order of 5-6 miles of charge per hour — it might suffice until you get your own place someday. Whether that would be practical depends on how many miles you would drive the car most days.

· JJ (not verified) · 3 years ago

Will the chargers be for only one brand of car?
Or can you charge various brands if you have guests that comes from out of town and they have a different car than yours?

· · 3 years ago

@JJ,
Nearly all of the new electric cars will use the same standard (SAE J-1772) or "J" charging station. The only exception now is the Tesla Roadster which was designed before the "J" charging station standard was complete. It has it's own connector but adapters will soon be available to enable them to use the "J" as well.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

We are seriously considering trading our Porsche Boxster for a Volt. Reading all these posts is certainly a sobering experience. Why should I pay a small fortune for some "fair wage" vendor to overcharge me to install something I already have in place? To satisfy some county agency? Encourage earmarks to federal agencies? The whole thing stinks. This is about saving money and being green; it's not about supporting electricians and vendors who have monopolies with car producers.
So I think I'll wait until the whole mess straightens itself out. I"m in no rush. In fact, maybe I'll just chuck the whole thing and buy gas.
The cost of installation and permitting, the hassle of jumping through all these hoops is detrimental, and when you add up all these incidentals it makes the whole issue of buying an electric car very much less appealing.
I hope someone who has connections and political power reviews all this crap and lets common people like me help the economy and green movement. Until it changes, I'm on the sidelines.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

The ones who are gouging and ripping people off are the middlemen, namely Aerovironment and SPX. They take the electricians prices and double them and keep the difference as their profit. As for the electricians, it is reasonable to expect that those who are working with these companies and gov programs are going to have a TON of bureaucratic bs to have to deal with. I'm sure they have to carry tons of additional insurance and meet a lot of extra requirements to work with the middlemen company. I also heard that for each EVSE installation, the electricians actually doing the work have to file dozens of forms. These electricians are running businesses and if all this additional overhead and paperwork is required, then you can't blame them for charging enough to cover the extra overhead, paperwork and hassles. I wouldn't mind paying a somewhat higher price with those factors in mind, but for SPX and Aerovironment to double those prices for their "coordinating services" that is an insult. The ones who are actually doing the work are not the main culprits. I can understand why they may have to charge more than your regular electrician who doesn't have to deal with all the government bs. But then add a huge greedy markup on top of that, and you end up gouged. Just because the actual labor only takes a couple of hours doesn't mean that is all they should charge for. The actual installation is just part of the work. As a business owner, I can tell you that expenses are incurred all day every day, and you have to charge enough to cover them and make a profit during the time you can charge for your work- which is more than the few minutes or hours with a customer. Dont' charge enough to pay the bills, you end up out of business. That's just life. Some LEAF owners are working directly with Ecotality. I understand they don't mark up the electricians work, so although the prices may be bit higher then your neighborhood electrician, they are not so ridiculous as when a greedy middleman wants to make a profit on everyone elses backs- including ours.

· · 2 years ago

"Some LEAF owners are working directly with Ecotality. I understand they don't mark up the electricians work"
This is a ridiculous statement. Ecotality got a multi-million dollar contract from the DOE to install charging stations. Of course they don't need to "mark up the electrician's work" all tax payers are paying the mark up.
Besides, welcome to America comrade. There is nothing wrong with someone making a profit from the service they provide. It's called capitalism.
I request that you look at your own motivations before calling someone else 'greedy'. Clearly, you believe you should get something without having to pay very much for it. I think that could also be called 'greedy'.
Go ahead and buy an EVSE from AeroVironment, SPX, or someone else and have your own electrician do the installation or even do it yourself. You may come out ahead but be aware that you assume all the risks yourself.
It's Ecotality's source of money that is a serious problem. Nobody who pays them to not do what they agreed to had any choice in the matter. We were all forced to pay taxes whether we wanted to or not and somebody else decided how they were spent.

· · 2 years ago

"I also heard that for each EVSE installation, the electricians actually doing the work have to file dozens of forms" Not true. All any electrician needs to do is file a permit like they would do if they were installing a 220 outlet for a clothes dryer.

"Just because the actual labor only takes a couple of hours doesn't mean that is all they should charge for" Of course that's what it means! What else should they charge you for, their kids college tuition? When electrical contractors calculate their hourly rates, all of their business expenses are(should) be taken into consideration. My friend is an electrical contractor. He charges $75/hour. He pays his electricians $40/hour and the $35 left over covers his expenses and his profit.
When he installs EVSE's (He's done three for me & one for a Volt owner) he charges $75 per man hour plus materials (new 40amp breaker, plus the wire which is expensive because it's a heavy gauge). Every installation is different. Some require lots of wire, and some only a few feet if the electrical panel is right there in the garage. The installation costs for the four he's installed ranged from $400 to $1,200.

· · 2 years ago

my answer was to purchase from Home Depot (Schneider) and install myself...... ;-)

· Andrew S (not verified) · 2 years ago

I just got my quote back from SPX.

Their installation estimate: $1950
My electrician (that I know is very good): $390

Two questions:

1. Is the installation of a Voltec charger beyond the capabilities of an experienced electrician?

2. Are there any federal tax incentives that I can get myself to help cover the cost of the charger and installation?

I think that SPX's estimates are way too high and are very unreasonable. There is no reason that the $1,200 credit provided by DOE shouldn't cover my costs entirely!

· · 2 years ago

@Andrew S, I'm not familiar with the Voltec "charger" or SPX but can say that there are many Level 2 EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment) models available for home installation. Several of them cost less than $1000 and can be had at Home Depot and stores like that. I can't help you with the advantages and disadvantages of the various models; you can search for that information.

The cost of installation of a 240 Volt Level 2 EVSE depends on the wiring of the house/garage and the location of the panel. In some cases it can be a DIY job. In the sunbelt there are sometimes 240 Volt clothes drier outlets in a garage that can be adapted for EVSE use, assuming they aren't already being used for a drier.

Your specific questions:
1) If the household panel and wiring can accommodate it, any capable electrician should be able to install an EVSE, "Voltec" or otherwise. If the panel or wiring must be upgraded the cost could get substantial.

2) The federal tax incentives for EVSE installation expired at the end of 2011.

· bryan38401 (not verified) · 2 years ago

wow im glad I live in tennessee.here its simple electrician or homeowner pulls permit,power company does eng. report,proceed with install,install inspected.boom 1-2 daysyou are done.we are lucky!! tn uses 2008 nec state wide ,power all suppied by tva distubitor that follows tva electric vehicle infrastructure guidelines.average residential install cost 1200.00 with ul listed product ie. sq d,eaton,siemans all at our local suppliers backed by your local electician.ps spx wanted us to become CERTIFIED installers but I just could not rape my customers like that.so we will just keep our electicial LICENSE and do things proper like.the commercial installs numbers are all over the board right now but fall between 4000.00 - 11000.00 with eq

· Anonymous (not verified) · 2 years ago

How to use solar power technology for charging Electric power cars?

· DOE EVSE Installer (not verified) · 2 years ago

I am a certified electrical contractor who has installed over two hundred EVSE units for the DOE funded program.
What you have to understand is that the cost of labor the contractor has to pay any employee working on the this program is "prevailing wage" which means that we have to pay the highest wage there is for that area plus all included pension, retirement, health care, etc. The average electrician package for the S.F. Bay area is about $75-$85 per hour. That does not include workers compensation or unemployment insurance. Every install requires a permit. It averages from $90 to $310. That does not include the time that I have to pay an employee to purchase it. The DOE has very stringent requirements for insurance as well as paperwork. The paperwork that is involved with every install takes longer, in most cases, to do than the install of the charger. Then there is the inspection. The city governments will not in most cases give you a set time for the day of the inspection. So I have to pay an employee, all day in some cases, to wait for the inspection which usually takes about five minutes. Then you have the extra five million dollar umbrella insurance requirement that I had to purchase for this DOE program. Then there is that greedy corporate profit. Then overhead such as gas, materials, city business tax. etc.
I am a very small company of four employees.
What many of you don't seem to understand is that the Government does not do anything efficiently. I don't think that the tax payer should be paying for any of this. However, if I have to pay for it, I might as well get some of that money back.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 1 year ago

SPX is charging way to much to install try $1275.00 and that does not include the cost of the charger. I already have 240 VOlt in my garage they just need to move it about 10 feet. The electrician they want to use is not licensed in my area either. I had another electrician who is licensed come in and he will only charge me $275.00 to do the exact same work. It is a complete joke plus I will not get the warrenty on the unit if I do not use them. But I figure I can buy three charging units for the cost they want ot charge me. I will be using my own electrician.
Chevy in my book is hurting themselves by associating with SPX. I love my Volt but not the price of putting in the charger they reccomend and by who they reccomend. It is a complete Scam by SPX!

· Dan Hollands (not verified) · 1 year ago

Charger prices are coming down. I should have my focus EV within the next couple of days (it has been made and should be on a truck) I paid a certified electrician who was doing some other work in my house $150 to add a breaker and run the 240V to the proper receptacle in the garage. I bought a plug in GE charger for $999 from Lowes and mounted it myself.

· whitgallman (not verified) · 1 year ago

It doesn't seem hard now that I'm done.
ordered stuff from SPX ~$870, wiring, breaker, conduit, electrical box, fittings from Lowes ~$120
read the installation instructions, contacted county building code dept
studied NEC 2008 for 3 days to take homeowner test to work on own wiring
took 2 hour test, got electrical permit $62.75 for permit
Installed charger box on wall
ran #8 THHN inside watertight conduit from breaker panel outside up through soffet to metal electrical box in the attic
ran 8/2 NM-B from SPX box in garage through two 2X4 wall caps with 3/4" drill, stapled to side of stud
inside attic I could only work 2 to 3 hours a day due to heat (6 AM to 8:30)
Stapled 60' of NM-B every 4' or less along trusses being careful not to step off the truss and fall through the ceiling drywall
made connection inside steel junction box between the THHN and NM-B using blue wirenuts
Called building standards to schedule final inspection
inspector walked down the wiring, tightening the junction box ground, marking the white NM-B wire to tell future electricians that it was a phase lead and not the neutral.
At the breaker panel he said I should have connected the wires to the breaker and put the breaker inplace but leaving it switched off. He wired the breaker and put it in for me. He switched it on. Nothing started smoking. He signed the inspection sticker and took off.

I borrowed a Chevy Volt from work to try out the charging station on. in 45 minutes the Volt went from 27 miles to 34 miles of charge available. Station rated at 32 amps at 240V for Ford Focus electric.

I meant to add to previous notes that part of the work was to add all the major electrical loads on my house to show the service/supply wires and main breakers could handle the new load. See NEC 2008 appendix D. I have a gas hot water heater and heat pump backup furnace. So I only use 77 to 85 of the 100 amp service when the EV charger is included.
Also put a Schneider in at my Dad's. Electrician ran 6-3 NM-B romex $300 labor & materials, but that was too big making the wire hard to bend into the box and wasted one of the three wire runs. Only need 8-2 with ground. I got the Schneider box from E-bay for ~$800. Dad's house was built in 1960 with resistance heat in the ceiling. He has a heat pump now so the 300 amp service had plenty of margin in the 3 panels for the 40 amp 240V breaker.

· Ryan (not verified) · 1 year ago

Hey everyone, this Ryan with LilyPadEV. We are a charging station service provider that includes both station, plus installation. We provide commercial and residential charging stations and we have been working with counties, universities, homeowners, private companies all over. We offer a variety of choices that includes multiple brands of charging stations. We also provide a 1 Year materials/workmanship warranty on our installation work. For more information send me an email at info@lilypadev.com or call me at toll free 855-383-3895

· SPX User (not verified) · 1 year ago

My quote from SPX was ~$2200, and it did not require anything more than running a line from the breaker box on the outside of the other side of the garage. That does indeed seem a bit excessive to me.

· DebraRedhead (not verified) · 1 year ago

@Whitgallman We decided to plan for a future EV while we were installing our solar system inverter. Since we opened up the inside garage drywall near and around our exterior in-wall service panel, we ran (<3') in metal conduit #8 thhn wet red,black,white,green to a double gang metal box now exposed through new drywall.

Is there a specific type of outlet that we should attach or are the EVSEs hardwired within the outlet box?
We assumed that a simple $11 double pole 40a breaker from Home Depot is all that is needed in the service panel.

Let's say in a year or so when we purchase an EVSE, do we need a permit to plug it in or is the permit for rough wiring of the 240 outlet?

· · 1 year ago

@DebraRedhead
Outlet for EVSE: that appears to vary with the manufacturer.
Many are to be hardwired, but some are sold as plug-ins (I read).
Examples (based on reading, not experience):
GE makes "Wattstation" to use with NEMA 6-50 outlet;
spx makes "PowerXpress" that plugs into NEMA 6-30 (which is quite different ... but Leviton makes an inexpensive plug that can be assembled in ways that go into one or the other). The "-30" is for 30A rating; it is set up as a 24A device, but can be switched to 32A.

· Drew (not verified) · 1 year ago

We've had our Leaf for about four months and have been doing just fine with the charger that came with it, which plugs into a standard socket in the garage. I talked to ChargePoint and read their terms and conditions, and I didn't like what I read there, I figure we'll wait for the price of chargers to come down and eventually get one installed in the garage. The article is good, confirms a bunch of the hunches I had. But we're definitely thrilled with our Leaf. Would have gone with Ford if their all-electric Focus were available sooner.

· · 1 year ago

@Drew
re: ChargePoint What terms and conditions bothered you?
There are quite a few publicly available charging outlets around here (San Francisco Bay area), like at parking garages and civic center. Most of those require one of C.P's cards to use (I think -- no personal experience with them, yet), so I assume I shall get such a card some day.

· Bill Howland (not verified) · 1 year ago

Re: Level of Difficulty installing a charger.

1). A volt or leaf need a 20 amp 2 wire with ground 208 or 240 volt ckt. You can use romex or bx or mc cable in most places. Along with a double pole 20 amp breaker.

2). Ford Focus requires 40 amp 2 wire circuit with ground.

3). A high power (40amp) rav4 requires 50 amp and #6 AWG wiring, this is also for the standard Tesla S

4). A higher power Tesla, or the newer J1772 beefy chargers will need a 90 or 100 amp circuit,

Any qualified electrician can install these simple single phase branch circuits.

· basilbenedict (not verified) · 1 year ago

thanks nice info videopool

· Jody M Hutcheson (not verified) · 1 year ago

The "free" charger is really a joke. The guy came out and spent 9 min. [I timed him] did not write anything down and then sent an email saying it was goint to cost $3500.00. He did not say what was so expensive so needless to say I am a little upset and think I was misslead.

· · 1 year ago

I had the Schneider EVSE unit (can be found at Home Depot for $800) installed this weekend as part of a solar install and panel upgrade. Parts are no more than an additional $200. Permit was $100 and labor was about 4-6 hours. I can't easily break out the install labor but the line item for the job totaled $1500 including EVSE and all hardware.

My Focus now recharges in 2 hours what was taking 14 hours. So much better!

· Ramin (not verified) · 1 year ago

I have the same exact problem. I am installing a Blink charger and the quote I got to install it plus permit is $2000. I asked another electrician to give me the quote for the same job, it came up to $500!
I told Ecotality to offer another electrician to give me a quote for this job, but they said they only work with Mr. Electric and Mr. Electric offer zero flexibility in their heavily bloated price!
Basically there is no doubt that they are charging whatever it costs to do the job and add the $1200 government credit to it, to basically take the whole government credit for themselves while it is meant as an incentive for the consumer and NOT them!... Ecotality is creating a monopoly that is illegal and the Electrician company is simply screwing the consumers by fully taking advantage of this monopoly! I even heard, Ecotality is getting a kick back from Mr. Electric for restricting all their customers to use them (maybe effectively splitting that $1200 government credit!)
Someone needs to take some action and report them!
If anyone interested to sign a petition for this to department of energy, please let me know... you can send an email to : raymondfed at yahoo.com

· · 1 year ago

Ramin: there isn't a Federal credit anymore - ended in 2011.

I did what Evocus did - bought the Schneider unit (under $800 at Home Depot, free shipping). I installed it myself but suggest you get a trusted electrician, not a "specialist" for EV, to install it. The main work is putting in a 240V circuit breaker in the panel and running the line to the EV charger. If you want more flexibility long-term you can choose not to direct-wire the unit but instead to run a 240V line to a 240V outlet, then wire a plug to the EV charger.

Costs will depend on the parts you require and the effort needed - will vary greatly based on your situation. But for a general electrician this is a straightforward install. The easiest part is wiring to the EV Charger itself.

· · 1 year ago

Does anyone have any inklink as towhether the EV Charger doc 30% tax credit is also going to apply for 2013? I know it was extended into 2012 at the last moment.

· · 1 year ago

@ Bill Howland,

I just did my taxes on TurboTax last night, The credit will start showing up as an item to claim under "Other Deductions" on FEB 7th. TaxACT and TaxSlayer did not have the option available yet. I paid $1100 for installation on my ECOTality EVSE, So I got an extra $330 for the deduction (according to turbotax). I did see on the IRS website the paper document would be available mid Feb, Have not checked to see if its available now, or if its just the digital sites making it available to save for future filing (what I did, Ill push the e-File button tomorrow)

· · 1 year ago

Just Submitted my taxes this morning WITH the 2012 EVSE Tax Credit. Success! $1100 ECOTality Installation cost = $330 Tax Credit (via TurboTax)

· · 1 year ago

Bill and Justin; REALLY? Any on-line link to this news? I looked and looked for 2012 then gave up. However, haven't done my 2012 taxes yet so still can claim the credit.

· · 1 year ago

Where have all the DIYers gone?
I purchased my Voltec station directly from SPX for $500 and installed it myself in about 30 minutes. I ran about 25 feet of 10gauge Romex from a dual 25 amp breaker in my main breaker panel. Any serious home handyman can accomplish this without breaking a sweat. All I had to do was drill a hole through the outside wall to feed the wire through and then mount the unit to the wall and tie in three wires. This is not rocket science!

As a geek, I chose to add my own reconditioned electric meter (purchased used and zeroed out on eBay for about $30) so that I can monitor how much power is being used to charge my Volt. I take readings on a weekly basis which are posted to a chart on my website:
http://www.arttec.net/Chevy_Volt

· · 1 year ago

@Tekart

Yeah, I did something similar: I'm using the original Schneider EVLINK (first one purchased in the northeast USA, in point of fact), on a 60 amp subfeed from my 100 amp service in my house to a garage panel with a 40 amp breaker in the garage for the overcurrent protection of the EVSE and the required 'within sight' disconnect. This subfeed additionally runs my 8 x 10 hot tub, although it now only has the 3 - 2 horsepower pumps in it as I've converted the unit to Natural Gas heating. In any event, with the Gas heating, I have sufficient electricity available for my cars, (Roadster and Volt), and I use it for both, (I revert to the 110 EVSE included with the Volt should I find it necessary to charge both cars at the same time, since the volt doesn't care, but the Roadster is much more efficient at 30 amps 240).

Schneider advertises the unit as being compatible with the Roadster, but I had to redesign mine to keep it from nuisance tripping every time on start up. Also, it ran cool with the volt, but would overheat when charging the Roadster for 9 hours. I also got rid of those cheapie fastons (as you would have on a washing machine timer), and put in some good box lugs. That made everything stone cold.

I notice Lowe's and Home Depot are no longer selling the Schneider Units. Possibly because people who own Ford Focus's or Rav4ev's (utilizing the full 30 amps as I am), noticed the overheating problem.

I didn't like Schneider's (square d's) attitude when I called to complain. They said they didn't care what happens with a roadster because it only has to work with a volt and a leaf (both 14 amps only). So they never found out what I did to make their unfinished design "finished", hehe. But my distributor chewed them out for such attrocious 'customer service'.

· · 31 weeks ago

An easy thing to do is get the 120 v unit that comes with the LEAF upgraded to use 120/240v and they have adapter cords for dryer, stove and RV plugs. It's only about $250 for them to modify and 20-30 for each adapter cord. www.EVSEupgrade.com I don't work for them or any related companies.

I don't try to send people to any one company but this is the only one I know about. They will also upgrade many others BUT won't upgrade the FOCUS 120v unit.

If you don't have a 240v socket in your garage you can use 120 for most use. On longer drives use a public EVSE 240 location, some are even free, others charge $1 an hour or so. Lots of choices, keep it simple.

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