You’ve read the reports, drooled over the spy shots and saved your pennies for an all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric car.
But do you know how you’re going to charge your new car at home, the office or at your parents’ place?
There are many different chargers available now or soon to help you charge at home. In fact, we hear of a new charger almost every week.
But before you pick any charger, do your research.
Make sure you know how quickly your EV can charge, and what power and connector requirements it has. Nearly every car on the market today features a J1772 connector, so most chargers now feature this as standard. But charging current can vary from car to car and charger to charger.
Below we've listed just 7 solutions we think you should know about. There are others, but these 7 are the most popular at the moment.
But first, nomenclature. Although we may call them chargers, these units aren't technically electric car chargers: they are more correctly Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (or EVSE). But since everyone is used to calling them chargers we're going to continue that tradition for now.
And now on with our 7 soultions you should know about.
Clipper Creek Charger
1) Clipper Creek CS-40 EVSE/Charger
When: Available now from www.evtechinc.com
Power: 7.68 kW Max. 240V AC at up to 32A (Level 2)
Price: Starts from $3,000 MSRP, excluding installation
Useful Information: Clipper Creek Chargers are an established charger company with many years of EV charging support behind them. Clipper Creek also manufacture the High Power Wall Connector that Tesla owners can use to charge their roadsters at home at 70A, 240V.
2) AeroVironment Level 2 EV charger
When: Available now from evsolutions.avinc.com
Power: 7.2 kW Max. 240V at up to 30A (Level 2)
Price: Varies. Starts at around $1,199 for basic installation, but costs rise quickly for non-standard installs.
Useful Information: AreoVironment chargers are the de facto equipment recommended by NissanUSA for customers of the 2011 Nissan Leaf. However, many Nissan Leaf customers have rebelled against Nissan’s recommendation, choosing to source a cheaper charger independently of Nissan.
Coulomb Technologies CT-500 electric vehicle charging station
3) Coulomb Technology CT500 Home Charger
When: Available now from www.coulombtech.com
Power: 7.2 kW Max. 240V at up to 30A (Level 2)
Price: Starts from around $2,500, excluding installation.
Useful Information: Ford has partnered with Coulomb to provide free charging stations to some of its first electric vehicle owners and also are quickly rolling out their ChargePoint network for pay-as-you-use smart grid charging away from home.
ECOtality Blink Residential Charger
4) ECOtality Blink Residential Charger
Where: EVproject target areas, eventually nationwide
When: Available now from www.blinknetwork.com
Power: 7.2 kW Max, 240V at up to 30A (Level 2)
Price: Free for customers signed up with EVproject.
Useful Information: ECOtality are the company behind the EVproject and have just detailed plans for the largest electric vehicle infrastructure rollout to date in the Seattle metro area. The residential charger features an on-board timer to make use of cheap rate electricity for charging.
GE WattStation Publicity Shot
5) General Electric WattStation
When: Limited availability now, widespread availability by Q2, 2011. Details at www.geindustrial.com
Power: 7.2 kW, 240V at 30A (Level 2)
Price: Expected to be $1,500, excluding installation
Useful Information: GE’s WattStation was unveiled earlier this year. A relative newcomer to the electric vehicle market, the WattStation is one of the more stylish chargers available - and even comes in a range of colors (so your garage is properly color coordinated).
6) Chevrolet Voltec Home Charging Unit
Where: Nationwide, but only to 2011 Chevrolet Volt owners
When: In line with 2011 Chevrolet Volt Rollout.
Power: 3.3 kW, 240V at 16A (Level 2) or 1.6kW, 110V at 15A (Level 1)
Price: $495, excluding installation for Level 2 unit.
Useful Information: We're cheating a little here. The Chevrolet Volt comes with the option of two different chargers: A wall-mounted level 2 home unit which costs around $1,500 to install and a level 1 portable charger. Not available to anyone else.
7) Domestic Power Outlets
When: Now. You probably already have a socket in your garage.
Power: 1.6 kW, 110V at 15A (Level 1)
Connector: Domestic appliance plug
Price: $0-50, depending on existing wiring.
Useful Information: For customers not worried about the time it takes to charge, a domestic outlet will power an EV. But remember, at 110V a 2011 Nissan Leaf could take as much as 12 hours to recharge. If you have access to a level 2 charger outside of the home, or make very short trips charging on 110V is possible. But slow.