Let’s face it: the end of the holiday season is financially tough. After spending what may seem like a small fortune on gifts for your family and friends the last thing you want to do is spend money on a costly electric charging point for your plug-in car.
Of course, it is technically possible to charge an electric car from a standard 110V domestic outlet in your garage. However, specially designed Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) can reduce your electric car recharge time and improves the home charging experience.
Nissan and Chevrolet are both keen to sell you their official home charging stations, but at anything from $2200 upwards fully installed the points are hardly cheap. So here’s five tips to help save you money on getting your home fitted out for your electric car.
Get Clued Up
ECOtality Blink Residential Charger
An informed buyer is a smart buyer. If you want to get the very best deal on an electric vehicle charge station then you need to know what features you need and which ones you don’t.
For example, some charge stations offer timer features to allow consumers to make use of cheaper rate electricity at night. However, both the 2011 Nissan LEAF and 2011 Chevrolet Volt feature timers within the vehicle offering remote start-stop charging via a smartphone.
To check out the basics of charging, take a look at Antony Ingram’s guide to charging your electric car at home.
It goes without saying that a little bit of research can save you money. While you can order EVSE through your car dealer, the costs are significantly higher than if you go it alone.
Olivier Chalouhi, the first U.S. customer to receive the 2011 Nissan LEAF decided to look for an alternative to the dealer-recommended installation, saving him over $900 in the process.
Earlier this year we looked at seven electric car charging solutions for your home, but the list of EVSE manufacturers is growing on a weekly basis. Plug In America, the non-profit electric vehicle advocacy group, keeps an updated list of every available EVSE on its website.
Find a Friendly Local Electrician
One of the ways Olivier Chalouhi saved $900 on his Level 2 EVSE was to buy the Aerovironment EVSE-RS equipment directly from the manufacturer and find a local electrician willing to fit it for him.
Although the unit was identical to one Chalouhi would have got through official Nissan LEAF channels, the local electrician charged a lot less to install than the Nissan recommended electricians.
If you do look around for an independent electrician to install your EVSE be aware that they will need to be properly certified with all the appropriate authorities or your installation will fail building regulations.
Generally, independent electricians will welcome the custom, especially if you’re willing to pass their details on to other electric car owners in the area. You may even be able to get a discount install if you can find other users in the area all needing EVSE installations.
Asking your local Electric Auto Association (EAA) could help find other owners nearby getting equipment installed. Visiting eaaev.org can help you locate a local chapter.
Think About Where Your EVSE Can Be Installed
It doesn’t take a scientist to work out that the shorter the cable from your EVSE to your domestic fuse box the cheaper your installation should be.
Before you get an electrician in to install your electric car’s EVSE make sure you know where the fuse box is, and where the cables could go. It will help your electrician and potentially save you money if you’ve thought about an appropriate route and place to install the EVSE before the electrician arrives.
You may find it is not possible to install the EVSE where you’d hoped due to building regulations however, so don’t be disappointed if your dream place for the EVSE is not possible.
Prior to an electrician’s visit you may also need to negotiate with neighbors if your home is a condo or a townhouse as electrical cables may need to be routed across their property.
Explain what you’ll need to do, why you’re doing it and offer a suitable recompense up-front if this is the case. It may save yourself a lengthy, stressful and expensive hassle getting your EVSE installed
Sign Up For a “Free” EVSE Installation
There have also been free chargers available for participants in the EVProject, which is offering customers a free home charger if they sign up for the service.
In addition, customers in Texas can make use of the evgonetwork, which offers customers the chance to pay a monthly fee to cover charger installation and maintenance over a three-year period.