US company unveils "smallest EV charger"

A US company has unveiled what it claims is the smallest electric vehicle charging station on the market.

Clipper Creek, which manufactures charging equipment for electric vehicles including the Tesla Roadster and the BMW Mini-E, says that its new LCS-25 is the smallest high-power charging station available, and should make things much easier for consumers.

The new charger measures just 28cm by 10cm and can be wired into a junction box within an hour or two, which the firm says should help to eliminate the complicated installations that electric vehicle owners currently experience.

When buying an electric vehicle, early adopters must install the correct type of charger, which is often specified and even installed by the vehicle's manufacturer.

The installation cost of the Voltec home charger for the Chevrolet Volt, for instance, is estimated at around $1,475 (unit cost $490), while the Leaf's charger installation costs approximately $2,000, according to Nissan - and as the units are normally sold as part of the vehicle deal, consumers have to use the installation partners automakers select for them.

ClipperCreek's new model costs $995, and while it's unknown how much installation from a electrician works out at, it will give homeowners another option, as there is no requirement to have a certified electrician fit the device for the customer.

The company says that the unit is approved for use by all electric vehicles coming to market including the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, and the Wheego LiFe.

This week, a new survey by SPX Service Solutions, the firm contracted to install chargers for Chevrolet Volt owners, shed some interesting light on the homes it is currently working in.

It said that while most of its customers have electrical systems that can support 240V "fast" charging, over three quarters lacked a high-voltage outlet or line near their parking location, such as a garage or driveway.

As EV chargers require a high-voltage line, such a situation means that customers require more circuits to be installed, adding to the cost of an installation.

SPX said that most participants wanted the charge station in their garage, but also want the flexibility of charging their vehicles in their driveway.