Electric cars, quite obviously, get their power from electricity. This electricity is closely regulated, and most of our household appliances are plugged into lowly 120 Volt outlets. This is all well and good, except when it comes to charging something with a huge battery pack… like a car. It can take upwards of 15-18 hours to charge a full battery electric like the Nissan LEAF through a regular wall socket. The first company to come up with a cheap, efficient higher-speed charging unit will likely do well for themselves.
GM thinks they might have a winner, having announced that the Volt’s 240 volt charging system will cost $490. That’s not bad at all… until you factor in the installation costs.
For the record, the Chevy Volt can plug into any old 120 volt wall socket and be fully charged in ten hours. Those looking for a bit more efficiency might opt for the wall charger, which alone costs just $490. So if you’re a skilled electrician and have the certification, you can install it yourself and you’re ready to go. For the rest of us, installation will cost around $1,475, bringing total costs closer to $2,000. Yikes! And this is for a car that goes just 25 to 50 miles on an electric charge.
The cost of being an early adopter ain’t cheap. The charger is being offered by SPX Service Solutions, and it still takes four hours to refill a depleted battery. That is better than 10 hours… but the cost is steep. It is also right in line with what Nissan is offering LEAFbuyers. There’s a federal tax credit to recoup up to 50% of the cost of installation and local and state tax incentives might help bring the cost down even more, but if you’re the patient type, you might just want to wait until these wall chargers come down in price a bit before jumping in.