When my husband was trying to sell me on the idea of leasing an electric car, he told me that installing a battery charging station at our house would be free thanks to the EV Project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, and executed by ECOtatility. Will it turn out to be true?
Maybe. In about two months we will find out.
Mark Hammerschmidt, (pictured above) co-owner of Meandal Electric Inc came out to the house Thursday to meet with my husband and check out our home electrical system and and met with my husband. Hammerschmidt explained that if we can find a way to build the charging station within five to 10 feet of our existing electrical panel, and if the local building permit is not too pricey, we will not spend a penny on the station. The project essentially gives you the Blink-manufactured 240-volt charging station if you commit to the program for three years, allowing the project to tap your charger for information. The total amount covered, according to the electrician is $1,200, but I am still a little unclear about how that $1,200 breaks down because some of the project material -quoted below- says that it only covers up to $400 for installation. The U.S. government, by the way, owns the charger for the first two years. Hmmm.
Building permit? You ask. Yes, the installation requires a building permit from your local city hall, and it turns out, that some communities, according to Hammerschmidt, charge up to $400 just for the permit. That’s right, do the math, that is one-third of the grant, which equates to about $1,200. Some of the so-called “green” communities in the San Francisco Bay Area are the worst ones when it comes to cutting through the red tape for installation, but that is blog post for another time.
Hammerschmidt’s company will deal with the red tape for us, he says, and we are still waiting to find out how our community charges for a building permit. His company has three installers, and five others dealing with the paperwork and red tape.
The charging station can be built indoors or outdoors, and homes with overburdened electrical circuits need to either upgrade their system, or settle for a charger that runs on a lower electrical current. He thinks our home can support an optimum 30 amp charger. Ours is a 2012 Leaf, but the new 2013 model will draw 24 amps so a 16-amp charger would require a longer charging time. He recommends that we go for the 30-amp charger, which is the industry standard.
The project essentially gives you the the Blink-manufactured 240-volt charging station if you commit to the program for three years, allowing the project to tap your charger for information. Here’s a brief explanation of the project from its Website:
” a portion of The EV Project funding supports home charging units, or more correctly called “Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment” (EVSE). In exchange for allowing the collection of vehicle and charge information, participants receive a Blink wall mount charger at not cost, and in select locations, up to a $400 credit toward the installation. This information includes data from both the vehicle and the EVSE, including energy used and time and duration of charger use. No personal information is being shared or included in the data to be analyzed.”
It will be at least two months before we get our new charging station, which will cut the time it takes to charge from zero to a full load from 21 hours to 6-8 hours. Within a couple weeks, we will know if the $1,200 credit is going to cover all the costs. I look forward to that, but meanwhile I am hoping that our community does not charge $400 for a building permit. And to maintain marital bliss, I know my husband is hoping for the same.
How much did you pay for your home charging station?