If you own a plug-in electric car, what's the best (and cheapest) way to get a second charging cable to supplement the one that came with your vehicle?
Turns out there are several options--as electric-car owners and advocates suggested when we asked the question.
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2014 Ford Fusion Energi charging in driveway [image provided by owner Brandt Buffham]
It all started when reader Brandt Buffham of Santa Clarita, California, bought a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid sedan.
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I have a 2014 Ford Fusion Energi. It comes with the charging cable--but if i want to charge the car at a station, I need to take the plug with me from my house every day, which is sort of a pain. I have to get to the wall outlet, then wind the cord up to put in the car, then do it all over again at the station at work, then back at home again.
I looked into getting another cord to leave in my car to avoid some of the hassle, but it cost $900 [from the Ford dealer]. WOW. My question is, Do you have any idea where I can get a cheaper cord?
We chatted with a number of sources, and came up with the following suggestions for anyone who's interested in getting a second charging cable for a reasonable price.
(1) Check with junkyards (aka vehicle parts recyclers) for used charging cords from any wrecked Fusion Energi, C-Max Energi, or Focus Electric cars that were scrapped.
Brandt responded that he'd done that--but that since the cable is pretty much all copper, charging cords are one of the first parts to be taken by metal scrappers.
(2) Search for used charging cords on eBay
Remember that eBay registered users can set up a permanent search that will send an alert every time a new item is listed with the terms you specify.
2011 Chevrolet Volt plugged into Coulomb Technologies 240V wall charging unit
The largest number of carmaker cords are likely to be those from Chevrolet Volts and Nissan Leafs. But Volt owners cautioned that early Voltec charging units had a tendency to fail--and that the unit has since been redesigned.
(3) Get an Aerovironment TurboCord 120-Volt/240-Volt portable charging cable
Several readers suggested that if Brandt is buying a second charging cable, the TurboCord offers the advantage of providing both conventional 120-Volt recharges and faster charging where a 240-Volt outlet is available (usually for an electric stove, clothes dryer, or air conditioner).
TurboCord Dual 120V and 240V adapter
(4) Install a permanent 240-Volt Level 2 charging station
Depending on the existing wiring in the house and garage, owners may be able to buy a permanent 240-Volt charging station and have it installed for the same $900 cost quoted by the Ford dealer.
There are now a number of stations offered for $500 or less. Several readers recommended those from Clipper Creek.
(5) Build one yourself
A couple of people suggested the JuiceBox open-source 15-kilowatt charging station, as described here. Do-It-Yourself kits start at $149, and a fully assembled station starts at $399.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Green Car Reports is passing along suggestions by electric-car owners and advocates; we are not recommending any specific products, as we have not tested any of the products listed.