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Discussion Starter #1
I currently own a VW Golf diesel, which I'm planning to sell back to VW in a couple of months because of the VW diesel emissions cheating scandal. I plan to replace the Golf with a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, and the Volt looks appealing in many ways. There is a complication for a plug-in, though, which comes from the confluence of two issues:

  • My current house (which I own) has no garage and no external power outlets. I gather that adding an external power outlet would cost about $300, which isn't too bad. Alternatively, I could snake an extension cord out from my basement through a conduit that's used for my cable TV service.
  • I'm planning on moving in about a year, or maybe a bit less. Thus, I don't want to invest too much in modifications to my house that I'll have to abandon.
Thus, I'd like some advice on this. I know that Chevy says not to use extension cords, and I understand the reasons (fire safety, in a nutshell). I'd be comfortable taking that risk (with a new heavy-duty extension cord) for a charge or two, but for half a year or a year that makes me nervous. OTOH, that's clearly the cheapest way to go, at least in the short term. (I don't mind the 13-hour charge time that using a 120-volt outlet would take.)

Buying a 240-volt charge station and paying for an outside outlet is an option, but if I do that I'll need a model that can be easily removed from my current house and moved to the new one, ideally without scarring the current house too much. That's the main thing I'd like advice on -- the online descriptions and reviews of charge stations seldom pay much attention to this issue. Are there particular models that would be best for this? (Obviously, something that plugs in rather than being hard-wired would be a minimum requirement, along with being certified for outdoor use.) My house has vinyl siding, if that's relevant.

Alternatively, I could drive the Volt mainly on gas for a while, and charge only in good weather, when it will be OK for me to run the charger cable through my kitchen window. Would running a Volt primarily on gas for a few months pose any reliability or other problems?

Thanks for any advice!
 

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I installed an emotorwerks 240V charger that was relatively cheap and very easy to remove if you ever move with minimal "scaring" to the vinyl siding. It would require a 240V (dryer) plug to be installed outside the house for it to plug into that I ordered from amazon and had an electrician install. All of the equipment is outdoor rated.
 

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I have a ClipperCreek HCS40 attached to the side of my house. The EVSE is a little under $600 and it cost me $375 to have a 240V 50A line run and the EVSE installed. The EVSE is connected to the 240V line via a junction box so it would be trivial to disconnect it in case of a move.

If you get a Volt you will want to get a 240V EVSE instead of using the 120V EVSE that comes with the car. A Level 2 (240V) EVSE charges the car in 4.5 hours plus it's much more convenient because it's always there, all you have to do is grab the cable and plug the car in. Unless you are using a dedicated line for a Level I (120V) charger you will be limited to running it at 8 amps which takes about 20 hours to charge the car. With a dedicated line you could run a Level I at 12 A which reduces the charging time to 13 hours which is still a very long time. However if you were to have a dedicated line run you might as well have a 240V line run because the cost will be nearly the same.
 

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Whichever EVSE you get, make sure that you get one with a plug on it, not hardwired. That way it will be easy to disconnect and then plug in again at your new house.
 

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While your reluctance to use an extension cord for a few months is understandable, one needs to understand that GM advises against using them mostly for liability reasons. Because Ma and Pa Kettle are going to try and use one of those cheap 2.95$ plastic lampcord extensions you get at the grocery store, and it's going to burn the house down. If you make an informed purchase of the proper kind of extension cord (and the right ones are EXPENSIVE!), and use it wisely, you won't have any problems. I used one running from an outdoor outlet on my porch to my car for nearly 8 months while we were in the process of buying a new house and moving. No problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
FWIW, my moving plans have moved off into the future, so I've decided to get a level 2 EVSE before then. I've got a Clipper Creek HCS-40 with JuiceNet sitting in my living room now, and my electrician will install it in a couple of weeks. (I posted another thread about this -- the thing came from eMotorWerks without its back plate, and when they shipped me the back plate, it was missing the screws. I ended up taking it to a hardware store to find screws that would fit. I'm very disappointed in eMotorWerks, but I'm hopeful it'll all work out.)

Between getting my Volt and getting the EVSE, I settled on a method to handle the Chevy level 1 charger: Inspired by window air conditioners, I built a box so that I could snake the EVSE cable out my kitchen window, giving me a place to store the cable when it wasn't charging my car, and keeping the "brick" part of the EVSE out of the weather. This has worked pretty well for me, but it makes it awkward to bring the EVSE with me; it's a bit of a hassle to take the box out of the window and extract the EVSE from it. Fortunately, I haven't had any need to do so as of yet.
 
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