Volt home charger: $490 to buy, $1,500 to install

GM debuted its Level 2 in-home charger for its soon-to-be released Chevrolet Volt.

GM debuted its Level 2 in-home charger for its soon-to-be released Chevrolet Volt, which will be priced at $490. That doesn't sound bad, considering the average price of gas is $2.73 (as of Oct. 4) and a full battery can get you 40 miles before the engine turns on. But factor in the installation costs for the in-home charging unit and you may face sticker shock at the plug.

The Voltec is expected to cost around $1,500 to install, depending on the region and amount of electrical work required to install the 240-volt charger. The upside on going with a 240V charger as opposed to a standard 120V plug is time: the Voltec will fully recharge a drained Volt battery in about 4 hours, which is half the time it would take with a standard electrical cord.

But people will undoubtedly be focusing on the bottom line rather than watching the clock. Depending on a person's driving habits, it could take a long time to recoup in-home charging station costs. However, spending $500 on a charger and another $1,500 on installation is probably going to be the industry standard. AeroVironment says the Level 2 charger it will be selling to Nissan Leaf customers runs from $2,000 to $4,200 , depending on the costs of labor rates, which account for much of the difference.

Ecotality has also released images of its Blink Level 2 wall mount charger for the home, but no costs were given.

Of course, the cheapest in-home charger would be a free one, which the first 4,400 Chevrolet Volt customers will receive courtesy of a Department of Energy grant. The Volt and Leaf both use the J1772 charging system, so it stands to reason that if the Voltec can charge a Volt, it can also charge a Leaf.


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