Why US consumers could be in for a shock when buying EVs

General Motors has revealed details of the charging station that it will offer with the Chevrolet Volt - a piece of kit that could add several thousand dollars onto the price of a vehicle.

The 240V home charging unit is called "Voltec" and will retails in the US at $490 (€354) before installation, the automaker confirmed October 6.

It can charge a Chevrolet Volt from empty in around four hours, compared with a ten-hour charge using the standard 120V cord that plugs into household electrical outlets.

However, to get it working for only $490, customers will need to be handy with a screwdriver - Chevrolet estimates that installation of a Voltec will cost $1,475 (€1,064), "but can vary based upon electrical requirements."

Home-charging equipment came under the spotlight last month when influential US consumer group Consumer Reports described the cost of the Nissan Leaf charger as "shocking."

As home fast chargers require a dedicated 240-volt circuit, the group warned that older homes may need to upgrade their home circuitry to run the technology, which could cost thousands of dollars.

The price of a Nissan home-charging dock and installation in the US averages around $2,200 (€1,588) and the unit is sold as a "one-stop-shop" process that includes a home assessment by Nissan's partner AeroVironment.

The automaker has also mandated that its charger must be installed by a certified electrician, meaning that those wanting to get their hands on the unit must either get qualified or cough up.

http://blogs.consumerreports.org/cars/2010/09/nissan-leaf-electric-car-charger-installation-cost-proves-shocking.html

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