In an effort to be creative and resourceful, neither of which has paid any real dividends, I have explored four different option.
1. AreoVironment. This is the company blessed by BMW to install home EVSE’s and their version comes with a cool BMW logo on it—although the electrons flow freely to any brand of electric vehicle. We were required to have the nice people, and they were, at Aerovironment inspect our home and provide a quote for an EVSE install. My quote was $1,750 for the cost of the EVSE and labor to install it. But this did NOT include the labor needed to run conduit from my electric panel to the garage—the problem being a doorway in between the two. So on to plan B.
2. Coulomb/ChargePoint America. They offered a FREE charger, can’t beat that right? As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as free electrons. The problem with obtaining a free anything is that you have to wait in line, assuming that the free anything is worth something. And this anything is worth something, so I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I did obtain a site visit from Clean Fuel Connection (the subcontractor for Charge Point, who then sub’s it out again to another electrical company), which went well but presented two new options for my home EVSE:
A. Subpanel Install. A subpanel has to be installed because my main panel has a full dance card and can’t make room for one more potential spark. Adds a bit of cost, but whatever it takes is fine by me. Or I could choose option B:
B. Second Meter. Southern California Edison offers a special EV rate of 10 cents per Kwh for vehicle charging from 9:00 p.m. to noon, but only when a second meter is installed dedicated to tracking only the EV usage. The second meter is provided free of charge, but I have to pay the labor to install it. And SCE must conduct a site visit to determine the placement of the second meter and whether I have enough juice in the existing wires to feed two meters.
|My gate and battered electric meter|
So scratch plan “second meter.” I don’t really need a second meter anyway because I have solar and by using net metering and time-of-use billing for solar and EV I can obtain a very similar result to having a second meter. It just limits my prime EV charging time from midnight to 6:00 a.m.
And my quote from ChargePoint for the EVSE install? Don’t know yet.
|Leviton evr-green 160|
But not so fast because (1) the cost of the additional panels were way higher than expected, and (2) the EVSE that they wanted to install (a Leviton "evergreen 160") was a 3.8 Kw unit. Keep in mind that the Active E can consume up to 7.2 Kw and most EVSE’s being installed have a 7.2 Kw output. Not this one. They found the small Sony Walkman of EVSE’s in an iPod world, and while it looks ugly it's also entirely underpowered. Wait those are both bad things. Power down this option.
My only hold-up under this plan is…I can’t get my electrician to call me back.
The Hard Charging Conclusion. That’s four options, four different avenues to a home EVSE, and only one partial quote in hand.
I don’t want this process to be difficult. I can steer through it because my wife and I really want an electric car. So unlike most people, we will slog through the unpleasantries to get this technology. But I also want everyone else to want electric cars too. And with hurdles like this to overcome, the dream that EVs will be widely adopted is still out of reach.
Of course, the companies in the EVSE arena appear to be very busy, which is good. But there’s not enough EVSE usage to keep every electrician busy. So at some point, there has to be a shift so that more companies have the ability to learn about and install EVSE’s.
There is one thing the EV adventure has taught me: patience. By the time we’re done I will be a regular Zen master.