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Why is a charge cord so expensive?

5641 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Rampage_Rick
I finally cleaned out the junk from the garage, and now I can finally park my Volt inside. Although I had no problem with the 120V/12Amp charge outside, it would be nice to have a proper L2 charger in the garage, as the main panel is right beside the Volts charge port. I live in BC where there is no incentives for single home EV chargers, so I have been searching hard for a charger that isn't so expensive. $700CAN seems to be as cheap as I can find for a complete unit. I have found some for $450-500CAN after US conversion, but they don't have a cord. If I look for the price of a cord, they run from $150-200CAN. Why they heck are charge cords so expensive? The cord itself shouldn't be worth more than around $2/ft, that would be about $50 for a 25 foot cord. I looked for the price of a J1772 connector to connect to a EV, with no cord, and I only found 1 at alibaba for $96. Add the two together and that is the $150. But why the heck is the connector so expensive?
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Most L2 EVSEs are designed to be hard wired to your electric panel. Hard wiring is a tad safer and less expensive, since there is no 240 V plug and socket connection. However using a 240 V outlet, plug, and cord is handy for 240 V charging on the road, or at grandma's house, or campgrounds with "50 A service."

You can just buy a replacement cord for a stove or dryer with the appropriate plug factory crimped to a 6' cord. They are very reasonably priced at Connect the cord to the EVSE of choice and you are good to go. The clipper creek unit recommended above is cost effective and has a great reputation for reliability. Also, I think clipper creek offers a version with 240 V plug and cord for $25-50 extra IIRC.

The reason the EVSE itself is so expensive is because of the electronics required, and the low volume production. They must have a GFI detection circuit, pilot signal circuit, and special high voltage, high current relays (contactors) to open and close the circuit. The J1772 plugs are also low volume and expensive for the EVSE manufacturer to buy, espically the higher current ones (80 A). As more PEVs hit the road and the market gets bigger, I expect to see prices drop to maybe half what they are today, but that will take many years, maybe 10-20 years (faster I hope).

Good luck with your EVSE shopping,

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