Looking to get a charge at home?There are now several choices on the market for residential EV chargers. The right one for you depends on what you need it to do.
These EV Chargers are not "chargers" at all...they are safety devices to ensure that you don't get shocked while using it or drive away with your car attached to high voltage. While they are pricy now (most are about $900 and up depending on features), the more they are sold, the faster they will decline in price...just like EVs themselves.
The cost to install varies with distance to power and difficulty to install. This can range from real cheap ($200) to very expensive ($1500 to upgrade service and install). If you buy a networked EV Charger, then you also have to factor in hooking it up to your router too. In most cases, you'll also have to get them permitted.
See below for a list of scenarios and the complete list of Level 2 EVSE (or EV Chargers)...
uniquely installed at
a happy Volt owner's
home in Orlando
Scenario: I have a garage and I just want a simple EV Charger permanently attached to my wall
- If you've got a Chevy Volt, consider the SPX/Voltec unit. The Voltec unit is currently the cheapest on the list ($490) and the only one with a flashlight in the handle. You can currently only buy one if you have a GM car (they'll want a VIN number when you order).
- The following non-networked Level 2 units are direct wire and great for this purpose: Schneider EV2430WS, Legrand L2EVSE16, AeroVironment: EVSE-RS, Clipper Creek: LCS-25, or General Electric: Wattstation Wall
- With the exception of the Schneider EV2430WS, these EV Chargers can be mounted outdoors.
Scenario: I move around frequently and want a Level 2 Charger to move with me
- Install one of the Level 2 EV Chargers that "plug in" to the wall (like an existing dryer outlet - see list below). When you need to take it with you, "uninstall it" off the wall and go...you just need to make sure there's an available plug waiting for you (like at your Aunt's house or RV park).
- These units that "plug in" are typically more expensive to purchase and install, since the plugs and receptacles cost more money than wire. That said, if you already have a receptacle installed, then installing a "plug in" EV Charger is a great idea.
Scenario: I want to monitor the power my EV uses
|View of the TED5000 monitoring the power |
being pumped into my Nissan Leaf
- You have two basic choices...
- Install a Networked EV Charger like the AeroVironment RS+, Blink, Coulomb CT-500, or EVSE LLC reEVSE. These units connect to the Internet via a cable or wireless. The Networked versions typically allow you to view the power supplied to your car...and they have other features as well. You'll pay more for this capability.
- Install a non-networked EV Charger AND an energy monitoring device like a TED or Powerhouse Dynamics so you can monitor your EV's power consumption along with other important loads in your home.
- The Coulomb CT-500 has many of the same features as their commercial EV Chargers - allowing you to control who can use it, when they can use it, and see how much energy each driver uses. This product is best suited for apartments, condos, and families who want to charge their kids for charging their cars. :-)
Scenario: I don't have enough spare power in my house for a Level 2 Charger
- Choose a lower power (less than 20 Amps) EV Charger like the Voltec, Clipper Creek, DBT, or Leviton models. If you have a first generation Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt, this is all the power (3.3kW) they can drink.
- Control Module Industries has a "Power Share" version of their reEVSE that can sense when other large loads are being used in your home (like your water heater) and pause the EV Charging process until the load is off.
- Some permitting authorities require that a load calculation be done on the home before a EVSE Permit is allowed. If there's not enough spare capacity in the panel, then you typically have to upgrade the service which can be costly. If a service upgrade is too expensive, then a lower power EV charger or the the Power Share reEVSE might be a good alternative.
How do I purchase one?Here are some ways you can purchase a Residential EVSE...
- Buy it as an installed option when you purchase your car. Nissan (AeroVironment), GM (SPX), and Fisker (EVConnect) are just a few car companies that have made installing a charging station very simple for the new owner...you just click a box and someone will be calling you for an installation time. You'll pay a bit more for this simplicity, but you get a lot for it...especially if don't have the time to find a qualified/trained electrician that knows how/where to install these new devices.
- Get one through a Government or Utility sponsored program. Ecotality and Coulomb have programs that will pay for the hardware and possibly the installation of your home EVSE. Check with US Government's nice database of incentives here: http://www.dsireusa.org/
- Buy the device directly from the manufacturer. Leviton and SPX sell them on their website (click on the Name of the Manufacturer below). You'll pay full retail.
- Buy the device from through a online reseller like Amazon or a big box store like Home Depot or Best Buy. You can buy many brands of residential EVSE's in just two clicks.
- Buy it through your electrician...and have it installed. Your local electrician can order one of these devices and install it for you.
The List...If you would like to read some user comments on these Residential EVSE's, you can find some great info at www.mynissanleaf.com or www.gm-volt.com.
|Residential Level 2 EVSE||Max Amperage||Outdoor||Networked||Wiring||Photo|
|Blink: Level 2 Wall Mount||30A||Yes||Yes||Direct|
|Clipper Creek: LCS-25||20A||Yes||No||Direct|
|Control Module Ind: ReEVSE||70A||Yes||Yes||Direct|
|DBT USA ||16A||Yes||Can be||Direct|
|EVSE Upgrade: Nissan Leaf OE |
(upgrades the Level 1 you get with your Leaf to a Level 2)
|12A/16A||No||No||Plug (NEMA L6-20)|
|General Electric: Wattstation Wall||30A||Yes||No||Direct & Plug (NEMA 6-50P)|
|Leviton: Evr-Green 160 ||16A||Yes||No||Direct & Plug (NEMA 6-20P)|
|Schneider: EV2430WS ||30A||No||No||Direct|
|SPX: Power XPress |
(Moveable & Permanently mounted)
|24A||Yes||No||Plug (NEMA 6-30)|
|SPX/Voltec: Sold to GM Volt owners only!||15A||Yes||No||Direct|