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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All-
I pick up my new 2013 Volt tomorrow. :) I'd like to upgrade to a Level 2 charger. I would be charging it in the garage, so it doesn't need to be all-weather, and it really doesn't need to be portable. I'm nervous about all the problems mentioned here about the GM Voltec. I'm considering the Clipper Creek LCS-25 for $595.

1.) Does that seem like the best choice to you guys?
2.) Someone had mentioned that there were rebates on these things, but I don't how/where. Any ideas?
3.) All these level 2 chargers say they charge in 4 hours. But, I would expect that the higher amperage chargers would charge faster than lower amperage level 2 chargers. Is that the case?

I'm actually having my electrician upgrade my panel this year anyway (out of room and have already used quite a few piggy back breakers). So, although I could do it myself, I'll have him install this at the same time.

Thanks!
-Glenn
 

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The Clipper Creek unit is a fine choice. The big difference is that some 240v chargers are more portable. One can even support 120v and 240v. But if portability isn't an issue then it's really a matter of price.

Because the Volt will only charge at a maximum of 3.3 kW, increasing the amount of current the charge cord can deliver won't change the charging time. I charge at both 120v and 240v and my view is that 240v charging is great, especially on the weekends, but it's not strictly necessary. If you have to wait for a while to get it installed it won't be a big deal.

Just make sure your outlet is good and keep in mind that you have to set your charging rate at 120v to 12A every time you charge. The default is 8A. I'd start with that just to make sure your outlet is good.

The "rebates" you've heard about may be the federal tax credit. It's 30% up to $1000. That's good but the credit is subject to the AMT so you may not be able to use it. (The Volt tax credit isn't limited by the AMT). There may be local rebates or credits. Can't help you with that.

Congrats on your new Volt! I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
 

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I have a GE Wattstation (it's 30A) and it charges the Volt in 4 hours. Lowes has them for $899 minus 10% if you look around and find a coupon code for Lowes which do pop up from time to time. It's still more than the $595 for the one you mentioned but it is GE... Just another option.
 

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$596 is a very good price, but I like my EVSE to have a 3 year warranty, minimum. YMMV

3) the Volt will charge at its own rate, regardless of the amps the L2 EVSE has. So for the Volt, it does not matter if the EVSE is capable of more. That's more for future EV cars you may buy that may be capable of a using a higher amp draw.

Having a 240V outlet makes installing the actual EVSE a DIY project (no electrician needed). But the 240V outlet will be determined by the plug on the EVSE. There are a variety of 240V male plug styles out there.
 

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Agreed about the warranty, the 3 year parts and labor with the Wattstation was one attractive selling point when I bought it as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
All great info. Thx. Does anyone know the efficiency of the LCS-25?
I'd like the 3 year warranty, I'm just not sure I'm willing to pay the extra $300 to get 2 more years of warranty... especially when I haven't seen the quality concerns on this unit that I've seen on the Voltec. That unless these chargers are an unreliable family as a whole.
-Glenn
 

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All great info. Thx. Does anyone know the efficiency of the LCS-25?
I'd like the 3 year warranty, I'm just not sure I'm willing to pay the extra $300 to get 2 more years of warranty... especially when I haven't seen the quality concerns on this unit that I've seen on the Voltec. That unless these chargers are an unreliable family as a whole.
I'm with you on the cost of the warranty. Getting a longer warranty is always a nice thing, especially on a charge cord, but if the lower priced option has equal functionality it depends on the price. We've seen the price on charge cords drop by a few hundred bucks over the last year or so. At that rate you might be able to afford two of the lower cost ones.

I'm a little surprised that the companies aren't offering an extended warranty for $50. These things are not failing at such a high rate and the component cost is pretty low. I'd think it was a no-brainer.

The LCS-25 has the same efficiency as any other charge cord. Keep in mind the actual charger is in the car. The EVSE is really just an extension cord.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Keep in mind the actual charger is in the car. The EVSE is really just an extension cord.
Wow, so we're paying $500 - $1000 for a glorified extension cord? And Voltec is having that many failures with such a simple device? Grrrrr.

We've seen the price on charge cords drop by a few hundred bucks over the last year or so. At that rate you might be able to afford two of the lower cost ones.
I think you're right. Looking at these forums and seeing how the prices have fallen, I think I'll take my chances on a cheaper device which doesn't have the longer warranty in the hopes that prices will be less if/when it does fail. Then again, if it fails in just 13 months, I'll still likely loose some money. -Glenn
 

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All great info. Thx. Does anyone know the efficiency of the LCS-25?
I'd like the 3 year warranty, I'm just not sure I'm willing to pay the extra $300 to get 2 more years of warranty... especially when I haven't seen the quality concerns on this unit that I've seen on the Voltec. That unless these chargers are an unreliable family as a whole.
-Glenn
In a recent thread, it was shown that the PCB in the the LCS-25 is the same as the one in the L1 Voltec. It's also been shown that the L2 Voltec is using the same the board. So I would expect that both the reliability and efficiency of LCS-25 will be very similar to the Voltec.

INL efficiency tests show the L1 Voltec consumes about 50W during charging and the L2 consumes 70W. They also tested a Clipper Creek CS-40, it draws about 25W.

I'm not sure if the Voltec's tested by INL are of the Leer or Clipper Creek variety. The tests were done in Oct-Nov 2012 timeframe so it's hard to say. I also don't know if there is a difference between the 2 in terms of efficiency or reliability. Clipper Creek may be using the same board design as Leer and just modified the case and increased the wire gauge.

There is now even some question as to whether or not the stock L1 Voltec can actually charge at L2. And for that matter are you basically buying the same EVSE from Clipper Creek that already came with your car.
 

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Wow, so we're paying $500 - $1000 for a glorified extension cord? And Voltec is having that many failures with such a simple device? Grrrrr.
That's what government regulations will do for ya! LOL The costs of having to comply with regulations is why a home pump for a CNG car costs $3500 while the same pump for SCUBA tanks costs $100. It's also why the device a surgeon uses costs 10X more than the same tool in your garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi Joule Thief-
Nuts, I thought I had it all figured out. But, you make it sound like I'd be silly to pay the extra $100 to go from the Voltec L2 to the LCS-25 when it's essentially the same guts and thus it's likely to have a similar reliability record?
-Glenn
 

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I've been using the LCS25 for about a week now with no problems. Seems like a good unit, small and easy to use and install. Two year warranty from Clipper Creek. For $595, a very nice setup.
 

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As pointed out in another thread several months ago, some credit cards will double the original warranty.

Not just a 'glorified extension cord' but designed with a number of safety features I would not want to be without.

KNS
 

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As pointed out in another thread several months ago, some credit cards will double the original warranty.

Not just a 'glorified extension cord' but designed with a number of safety features I would not want to be without.

KNS
Exactly. When you are plugging in outside in the rain, while standing in a puddle of water, you will happy knowing it's much more than an extension cord. However, I think "extension cord" was used only as a way for people to understand that it is not a charger (which is inside the Volt) but something that safely connects the charger to a power source.
 
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