As electric cars become more and more prominent on roads around the world, it is only logical that the demand for home charging stations is reaching a new peak, with companies scrambling to meet it. Already there are several options with a wide array of benefits that give consumers a choice, but the question becomes how does one find the best charging station for them and their particular situation? Fortunately, it's fairly easy to compare several of the top brands.
Converting Your Car
The first thing to keep in mind is that it's actually very easy to convert a car from using petrol to employing electric power, and there are quite a few reasons to make this change.
For one, it costs a lot less to run an electric vehicle. For a handful of change you can travel as far as a full tank of gas would otherwise bring you. According to a study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists “Based on electricity rates in 50 cities across the United States, the analysis found drivers can save $750 to $1,200 dollars a year compared to operating an average new compact gasoline vehicle (27 mpg) fueled with gasoline at $3.50 per gallon. Higher gas prices would mean even greater EV fuel cost savings. For each 50 cent increase in gas prices, an EV driver can expect save an extra $200 a year.” Those who live in energy deregulated markets (read more about those here) can pair this with an energy provider who uses green energy to pack a double punch against their carbon footprint.
Luckily for car owners who want to make the changeover but are wearing of the price tag of electric cars the actual conversion of a gas powered car to one that runs off electricity can be done for much less than the cost of a new electric car and it will produce zero emissions when it's finished. Making this change is therefore not only good for your budget (in both the short and long runs), but also the environment.
Leviton has gone to great lengths to start thinking ahead. That's why the new Evr-green system is not only designed for both Level I and Level II users, but it also includes a pre-wire system that can be installed in a home in order to make the transition to an electric car easier. The system starts at around $200 but does not including installation, which is best left to the professionals.
That being said, it's a bit pricey at $1,129.54 and doesn't include DC fast charge, making it one of the slower units available on the market today.
What stands out about AeroVironment is largely their commercial operations, offering both Level II and DC fast charge units, but its residential operations just got a big boost in the arm by securing the exclusive contract to be the installed station for Nissan LEAF home charging. At $899.00, it's an excellent deal.
What makes this particularly useful is that AeroVironment is now forced to comply with standards of a major automobile brand, so you should see a consistent progression of improvements on the model and more cars making use of the system in order to partake in already installed units. On the other hand, the units are designed with specific cars and receptacles in mind, so if you get another car later you'll likely need another charging station to go with it.
General Electric WattStation
Part of what makes the GE WattStation such a great station and will be fantastic for home use is that it's the only one with WiFi smart grid technology built into it, so it's easy to connect to when you require remote access and help finding additional charging stations when you need them on the road (you can even check out a map of stations on their site). Add to that the GE name, which has built its reputation over quite some time, and you have a charging station you can count on.
That being said, it is by far the most expensive at $2,999.00. What's worse is that is for a station that only does Level II charging. It is clear that you are very much paying for the GE name with this charger.
Despite being around for decades, Clipper Creek isn't well known in the charging station industry. They're very much a quiet competitor, largely because they haven't put much effort into the design of their stations. Moreover, they only do Level II charging. That being said, they are the install of choice for the Tesla Roadster and despite just being gray boxes, are highly reliable charging stations. These will last as long as your car and probably more than that, as well as having a wide variety of voltage and amperage settings to choose from.
The price for a Clipper Creek station runs anywhere from $379 to $899, making them also the least expensive option despite their limitations.
NRG eVgo is a company that is aggressively trying to establish itself as the center of home and public charging, and they're doing it by not only offering a high quality residential unit for a good price, but also offering service and maintenance at your house for when things go wrong. The drawback, however, is that you only get 12 to 25 miles of travel per hour of charge, making it great for a standard Level II if you don't drive a lot, but terrible if you're looking for something that will last a while. The width of the variance also makes it uncomfortable to gauge your driving capacity.
You can get a home charging NRG eVgo station for $699.00 or you can sign up for their monthly Freedom Station network for $14.99 per month plus a recharge fee.
As you can see, there are quite a few options for almost everyone’s budget if you’re considering converting your existing car to, or purchasing, an electric car. It’s important to note with all this technology that while the upfront costs may seem like a burden, they will pay for themselves in the long run and help you sleep better at night knowing all the good you’re doing for the planet.