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Discussion Starter #1
It seems like the electric utilities and especially the "charger" manufacturers are going out of their way to portray level 2 charging stations as exotic rocket science. Exorbitant installation charges, paid site surveys, certified installers traveling from afar, etc.

This isn't the case. The level 2 charger isn't a charger at all. It's basically an extension cord with a GFI device, a relay, and some relatively unsophisticated control electronics to:

1. Signal to the vehicle the amperage capabilities of the unit.
2. Accept a signal from the vehicle that it is connected and ready to receive electricity.

Details here: www.evdl.org/docs/j1772description.pdf

If your house has an outlet for an electric dryer or electric stove, then your service panel is more than adequate for a 32-amp charger. Even if it doesn't, the Volt only pulls 16 amps.

There's no logical reason why level 2 EV chargers shouldn't be on the shelves of Home Depot right next to the 8-2 plus ground Romex, 40-amp breakers, dryer and range outlets, etc. At the very least they should be online for sale at Amazon and the like. FUD from the manufacturers who also certify the installers to drive up the price seems to be the only reason that I can determine for this attitude.

It isn't rocket science. It shouldn't require a building permit unless installing an electrical outlet also requires one in your town. If you don't know what you're doing, any competent local electrician can wire this up in a heartbeat.

The only need for all of the folderol would be if the customer chooses to have a separate electric service panel installed with a separate meter just for EV charging to take advantage of lower rates. That's a relatively major undertaking and would probably require some form of permit along with (obviously) electric utility involvement.

Speaking of making things way too complicated...

http://www.ev-chargeamerica.com/ev2104_faq.html

At first glance this looks like a really cool unit, but...

These guys insist that the charger you install in your garage needs a cellular modem and an RFID key, and it's required to phone home to the manufacturer's mother ship for authorization every time you want to charge your car in your own garage. If their servers are down, the cellular company has an outage, or they go out of business, guess what? You can't use your charger in your garage to charge your car with your electricity. If you insist, they'll build you a special one that turns off the "phone home" misfeature but you still need to "swipe" the RFID key. Just gluing it to the unit won't work, it has to be "swiped"!

Does anyone know of a vendor offering plain old outright purchase of a simple level 2 charging station? The smarts are already built into the car for timed charging, etc. No, I really don't want fries with that.
 

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I understand what you're saying Marty, but the $490 price of the 240 volt EVSE device doesn't seem particularly out of line with the pricing of other automotive accessories and options. Car companies have always charged high margins on the extras.

You're also right that the labor to wire up the 240 volt EVSE to your home's service panel isn't rocket surgery, but it certainly is work for a professional electrician. (If you have the skills of a professional electrician, then by all means do the work yourself. If you don't know the required wire gauge for a particular current load et cetera, let a pro handle the job. It's not worth setting your house on fire to save some bucks.)

Chevy's $1475 estimate for this labor is based on the conservative assumption that there will be a need for time consuming work adding a suitable breaker to the service panel and running wiring from the service panel to the EVSE mount point. If, for example, you just replace the electric dryer 240 volt plug / junction box with the 240 volt EVSE mounted in its place, the labor should be a good deal less.

In summary, I appreciate your sense that the parts and labor should be cheaper, but wiring up 240 volt circuits without knowing and following the code requirements would be a recipe for trouble.

Just my opinion...
 

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If your house has an outlet for an electric dryer or electric stove, then your service panel is more than adequate for a 32-amp charger. Even if it doesn't, the Volt only pulls 16 amps.

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It isn't rocket science. It shouldn't require a building permit unless installing an electrical outlet also requires one in your town. If you don't know what you're doing, any competent local electrician can wire this up in a heartbeat.
I agree with most of your comment, but it also illustrates why it is being prsented as it is. You can't just go willy, nilly adding these kind of devices to your service. Acceptable panel loading is not a simple thing and 90+% of the population is not competent enough to determine if it is OK to add an addition circuit. Note, it is an additional circuit that needs to be added for currently market equipment not just installing the charger.

If someone were to offer a Level charger with a 240V outlet and switch then you may be able to just replace the existing dryer outlet and share the circuit. I don't know if the standands and codes would allow such a device but I like the idea since a lot of older homes don't have the capacity to add the circuit.
 

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What is needed is a more rugged 240V plug and outlet set, let the charger in the car contain all the electronics. In any case all sort of low cost adapters will appear soon, and even low cost EVSE units.. far lower than $500.

500k Nissans and Renaults demand it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I understand what you're saying Marty, but the $490 price of the 240 volt EVSE device doesn't seem particularly out of line with the pricing of other automotive accessories and options. Car companies have always charged high margins on the extras.
Where do I order a 240-volt EVSE for $490? What make and model is this?
 

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Where do I order a 240-volt EVSE for $490? What make and model is this?
MArty, that is the genuine GM Accessory charging station. Like you said, it's NOT a charger at all just a convenient way to hard-wire a J-1772 compliant cable to a 240V service. (20A service minimum recommended)
It adds some convenience in terms of cord storage and a bit of safety for ground faults and connection-detection but that's about it.
GM will have a recomended installer program with a dealer provided price but nothin is saying you can't have it installed on your own.
I havnt heard yet for certain but on many GM accessories the warranty is longer if it's installed by GM. (for $490 that certainly shouldnt be much of a consideration)
HTH
WOT
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If someone were to offer a Level charger with a 240V outlet and switch then you may be able to just replace the existing dryer outlet and share the circuit. I don't know if the standands and codes would allow such a device but I like the idea since a lot of older homes don't have the capacity to add the circuit.
In my case there's a gas dryer in the garage right next to a rather dusty never-used 240V outlet with #8 wire back to the panel. My plan is to remove the dryer outlet and put an extension box in its place with about a 4 foot run of EMT to the charger. So no added circuit and no problem with panel loading unless for some reason I were to replace the gas dryer with electric in the future. Even then not likely a problem with panel loading seeing as there's also an unused 50A range outlet behind the gas stove. It's 150 amp service, no air conditioning or electric heat. I don't think I'm alone, there are a lot of homes in Southern California with gas appliances and wiring for electric.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
MArty, that is the genuine GM Accessory charging station. Like you said, it's NOT a charger at all just a convenient way to hard-wire a J-1772 compliant cable to a 240V service. (20A service minimum recommended)
It adds some convenience in terms of cord storage and a bit of safety for ground faults and connection-detection but that's about it.
GM will have a recomended installer program with a dealer provided price but nothin is saying you can't have it installed on your own.
I havnt heard yet for certain but on many GM accessories the warranty is longer if it's installed by GM. (for $490 that certainly shouldnt be much of a consideration)
HTH
WOT
Agreed that $490 isn't a bad price, and the unit that ChrisC linked to earlier in the thread seems like a nice one. The J1772 connector and cordset alone is a good portion of that price. If I can walk in to my local Chevy dealer and buy that unit for $490 cash-and-carry I'll be happy.
 
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