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Discussion Starter #1
I'm currently an owner of a VW Golf diesel that's part of VW's diesel cheating scandal, and I'm planning on selling the car back to VW and getting a hybrid or plug-in hybrid as a replacement. The Volt has caught my attention as a promising candidate, but I have some concerns about the plug-in nature of the car, for a couple of interacting reasons:

  • My house (which I own) has a driveway but no garage and no outdoor power outlets. There is a duct I can use to feed cables through to near my driveway from my basement, so I could use that to run an extension cord and charge the car -- but of course Chevy advises against using extension cords. Another option would be to plug the charger into an outlet in my kitchen and run its cable out the window to the car. The best option, of course, is to pay an electrician to add an external plug, and even a level 2 charging station. Ordinarily, I'd do this; however....
  • Chances are I'll be moving in 9-12 months. Thus, I'm reluctant to put a lot of money into permanent improvements to my house that I won't be using in a year or so.
So I'd like advice from experienced Volt owners on this issue. I don't mind the ~13-hour charge time from a level 1 charger, at least not in the short term; but I do mind the hassle and safety issues of doing it without a proper outdoor outlet. Perhaps the best compromise would be to pay for an external 240-volt outlet and charge station, but that makes sense only if the charge station can be easily moved to my new house. Are there specific models that might work better for this than others? (The ads and reviews I've seen online don't usually mention such things.)

Another option is to simply run the Volt primarily on gas until I move. Is this likely to cause problems, like excess wear on the engine setting me up for failures down the road?

Thanks for any advice on this issue!
 

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There are EVSEs that have 240V plugs and are intended to be moved easily. Clipper Creek is one well known manufacturer with good reputation that makes versions with plugs.

We have a lot of members who use an extension cord from time to time - as long as it is heavy gauge and the contacts pinch well there's no problem.

The Volt will not be harmed by running on gas for several months - some fleet Volts were run on gas exclusively for years, and still work fine.
 

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I use a 10 guage, 25 foot extension cord with my level 1 charger and have no problems at all......I think I bought mine at harbor freight for only 25$ or so.....

-mark
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the feedback. I checked Clipper Creek's site, and all the models I checked with plugs are rated for indoor use only, whereas all the hard-wired models I checked are rated for indoor/outdoor use. I'd rather not hard-wire the device, since that would mean another visit by an electrician to disconnect it when I move. Is that likely to be the case for all models with plugs?

Also, what about the charger that comes with the Volt? Is that safe to use outdoors? (I wouldn't mount it permanently, but if I set my car to charging and an unexpected rainstorm comes in, I don't want to have problems.)
 

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All of the commercial EVSEs I know of are waterproof/sealed, and the connection to the car is safe. The problem is the plug side - none of the commonly used plugs are designed to resist water intrusion. As long as the plug end (and an extension cord joints you have) are safe, there's no risk to charging in the rain. I think Clipper Creek doesn't rate the corded units for outside use because of the plug situation - though somehow RV parks have huge numbers of these plugs mounted outside in little boxes.
 

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Clipper Creek offers EVSEs with plugs so that would be the easiest to move although they recommend hardwired versions for outdoor use. The hardwired version wouldn't be that hard to move either, the cable is connected to a junction box so it would be trivial to disconnect it and take it with you when you move.

If you get a Volt, or any EV, I'd recommend that you install a 240V EVSE like the Clipper Creek HCS-40. Not only are the 240V EVSEs much faster, 4.5 hours vs 13 for a [email protected] or 20 hours for a [email protected], it much easier to use because all you have to do is grab the cable from it's holster.

If you decide not to get a 240V EVSE and just use the one that comes with the car you should install a dedicated line to an outdoor box. With a dedicated line you can charge at 12A which will get the job done overnight. If you are using a shared line then you might be have to charge at 8A and that's impractical because it takes 20 hours to charge the car.

BTW the purchase and installation of an EVSE qualifies for a 30% federal tax rebate. The Volt qualifies for the full $7500 EV federal tax credit. There are also state EV rebates, you are in RI which has a $2500 rebate, so that's a total of $10,000 in tax incentives for buying an EV.

https://www.clippercreek.com/30-federal-tax-credit-for-purchase-installation-of-clippercreek-evse/
 

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If you are using a shared line then you might be have to charge at 8A and that's impractical because it takes 20 hours to charge the car.
Any little bit helps. Even if you only stuff 20 miles in overnight, it's still 20 miles before burning gas comes on. and even if your commute is 30 miles each way, that's still easily a 60 MPG drive with the 20-mile partial charge.
 

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If, in your basement, you have a 240V outlet (like for a dryer), you could use a level 2 EVSE outdoors and run a portable generator extension cord to reach it. I bought one from Lowe's for something like $80 for a 25-foot cord. It has L14-30 plug/receptacles, so your EVSE would have to have the same type of plug, and you would probably have to do a small amount of wiring down in the basement, but it's pretty easy to do on your own.

--Chris
 

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I have a clipper creek lcs25 with dryer 4 prong plug...easy to move. You buy it attched or just get the pig tail and attach one yourslef. Ify our willing to pay the 240v feed to somehwere close is good..but if your ok with the longer charge 10hrs on the higher of the 115v modes and if the run is not that far and the plug your using is a good setup/wired/etc, I would go the buy a HEAVY rated extension cord of a short distance but then running it on the 13hr lower charge rate 115v would be the safest. But really all this has some level of risk but I would do the 115v method since your moving. But in the end its your choice!
 

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Clipper Creek offers EVSEs with plugs so that would be the easiest to move although they recommend hardwired versions for outdoor use...[snip]...
BTW the purchase and installation of an EVSE qualifies for a 30% federal tax rebate. The Volt qualifies for the full $7500 EV federal tax credit. There are also state EV rebates, you are in RI which has a $2500 rebate, so that's a total of $10,000 in tax incentives for buying an EV.

https://www.clippercreek.com/30-federal-tax-credit-for-purchase-installation-of-clippercreek-evse/
Word of warning: fill out the 8911 form to see if you can claim the 30% federal tax on EVSE equipment and supporting infrastructure labor costs. For me, my tax numbers don't change much year-year so I could run the numbers using my 2015 tax info. Since I'll be claiming the $7500 car credit, I couldn't take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit. This has forced me to postpone installing a dedicated outlet and purchasing a dedicated Level 2 charger until 2017. For my state, I'll miss out on the 2016 sales tax exemption if I wait until 2017 (sales tax is ~10%) but thems the breaks I get. Fill out IRS Form 8911 first before buying anything expensive first if you're hoping for the 30% tax credit.

Also, Juicebox sells some nice ones with plugs as well.

If, in your basement, you have a 240V outlet (like for a dryer), you could use a level 2 EVSE outdoors and run a portable generator extension cord to reach it. I bought one from Lowe's for something like $80 for a 25-foot cord. It has L14-30 plug/receptacles, so your EVSE would have to have the same type of plug, and you would probably have to do a small amount of wiring down in the basement, but it's pretty easy to do on your own.

--Chris
This. I'm doing roughly the same as Chris since I can't purchase an EVSE or install an outlet with the 30% federal tax credit. It's not pretty and I do have to swap between the dryer and the EVSE once a week, it's minor nuisance and the dryer outlet should be fine with 52 plug/unplug cycles a year. Hopefully, I will replace this setup in 2017.
 

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Word of warning: fill out the 8911 form to see if you can claim the 30% federal tax on EVSE equipment and supporting infrastructure labor costs. For me, my tax numbers don't change much year-year so I could run the numbers using my 2015 tax info. Since I'll be claiming the $7500 car credit, I couldn't take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit. This has forced me to postpone installing a dedicated outlet and purchasing a dedicated Level 2 charger until 2017. For my state, I'll miss out on the 2016 sales tax exemption if I wait until 2017 (sales tax is ~10%) but thems the breaks I get. Fill out IRS Form 8911 first before buying anything expensive first if you're hoping for the 30% tax credit.

Also, Juicebox sells some nice ones with plugs as well.
Thanks for that IRS info.

I bought a Juicebox with plug. I like it.
 

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If you are going to get a Gen 2 Volt, the supplied EVSE can support 220V with just a plug adapter. You will get about 2.6kw (12A @ 220V), which should fully charge your Gen 2 Volt in about 6 hours.

Because you are going to charge regularly, I recommend you have a dedicated 110V or 220V circuit to a location near your car. This should not cost you more than a couple of hundred bucks. You can then use the supplied EVSE to charge on 110V, or use an adapter and charge at 220V.
 

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I'm assuming you own the place - if so, then at minimum I would put in a driveway outdoor GFCI outlet.
It will help with resale. Everyone needs an outdoor plug for something - if your house doesn't have one, adding one is value-add.
Especially if you can DIY, it would only be like $100.

To take it a step further, I would run 12/3 wire to the outlet and wire in a 240V outlet (with weatherproof cover) in which you can use an EVSE.
When it comes time to sell the house, swap that outlet into a standard 120V GFCI for the future owner to enjoy. Take your 240V receptacle with you and likely get some use out of it at your new place.
 

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Word of warning: fill out the 8911 form to see if you can claim the 30% federal tax on EVSE equipment and supporting infrastructure labor costs. For me, my tax numbers don't change much year-year so I could run the numbers using my 2015 tax info. Since I'll be claiming the $7500 car credit, I couldn't take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit. This has forced me to postpone installing a dedicated outlet and purchasing a dedicated Level 2 charger until 2017. For my state, I'll miss out on the 2016 sales tax exemption if I wait until 2017 (sales tax is ~10%) but thems the breaks I get. Fill out IRS Form 8911 first before buying anything expensive first if you're hoping for the 30% tax credit....
The much hated Alternate Minimums Tax can also mess up the tax credit for charging gear. (However thankfully, the credit for the car itself is unaffected by AMT.) So if you are subject to AMT, see your tax pro. You may not need to wait for 2017 because the credit might not be there anyway.
 

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First step is to a decent electrical advice. $300 to install an outdoor plug is really steep. All I did was install a 240 volt plug in (cost of electrician was $80...took him less than an hour). I then made up a 240/110 adapter with parts from the hardware store for about $15 and now I plug the EVSE that came with the car and get a full charge in about 5 hours
 

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For folks who are customers of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, they offer up to $500 for EVSE (must be permanently installed).

You can get up to $750 if you install a second time-of-use meter (separate from the rest of your house) for the sole use of EVs (again, all chargers must be permanently wired to this meter) - this option also comes with an EV-rate of electricity which is $0.025 off the regular TOU rates. Of course, the latter option would probably not pan out - especially for Volt users - because it can cost $2000 or more to get the second panel and meter installed.

Just running some quick math. If it's $2k to install a second meter and they offset $250 of it - your out of pocket is $1750. At $0.025/kWh savings, that's 70,000 kWh or 5,000 complete charges of the Gen 2 Volt's battery (14 kWh) to break even.

Even if you had a Bolt or Tesla, that's over 1,000 complete charges to break even.

Unless I'm missing something, it seems this isn't a good option at unless you know you will live where are for the next 20 years and you have a multi-EV household that drives a LOT.

However, the $500 for an L2 EVSE is definitely worth it.

It seems that LADWP used to have much better incentives which would nearly offset installing a second meter, but those days appear to be over.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks, everybody, for the advice so far! A follow-up question....

I recommend you have a dedicated 110V or 220V circuit to a location near your car.
What's the length of the cord on the EVSE included with the Volt? That's obviously important in determining where to put an external outlet, if I go that route....
 

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Roughly 1' for the 110V outlet plug, then about 20' for the J1772 plug. I didn't measure, but counted arm-to-arm lengths.
 
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