Costs for Equipping a Home with Electric Vehicle Charger will Vary

Automakers prepping plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles frequently tout the low cost of recharging, but we seldom hear how much it’ll cost owners to install the charger itself. Depending on the age of the home and its existing electrical infrastructure, the cost could run from a reasonable $750 to a significant $10,000.

To obtain the quickest charge time, most customers charging at home will likely be forced to use a semi-permanent charger, powered by either a 220- or 240-volt supply. All U.S. homes are equipped to handle a standard 110-volt socket, but older structures may not be equipped to handle the greatly increased voltage and corresponding current. Upgrading the power feed could prove to be a major contributing factor to the cost of a home EV charging station.

Jonathan Read, president and CEO of ECOtality (the company working with Nissan to create home charging stations for the Leaf EV), told The New York Times that the hardware for the charging station will be around $300 to $350, and typical installation costs will range from $500 to $1500. This, however, is for homes equipped with a typical 200-amp or higher electrical service. According to Richard Lowenthal, CEO of charging company Coulomb, the cost of installation could increase to as much as $10,000 “if new service and panels are needed.”

It’s uncertain, though, if early EV adopters will have to carry that cost entirely out of pocket. Lowenthal says chargers may be included in the car’s purchase or lease (as is the case with the Mini E), and some automakers could subsidize some of the cost of their installation. Additionally, several cities are offering rebates towards charger installation, as is the federal government itself ($2000, good through December 2010).

Source: The New York Times