When the Chevrolet Volt finally hits the market late this year, the U.S. Department of Energy will help out by providing free 240-volt home chargers for 4,400 early buyers. The chargers are made either by ECOtality (which will install 2,600 Volt chargers) or Coulomb Technologies (1,800 chargers). In all, the DOE is helping to fit around 15,000 plug-in vehicle chargers across America. Of course, 'free' might be a relative term here. That's what the headline says, but Tony DiSalle, product and marketing director for the Chevrolet Volt, said in a statement that, "For Volt owners who want to install a faster 240-volt charge station, we expect the Department of Energy project to save $1,000 and $2,000." We have heard that these chargers will cost around $2,000.
What does the DOE get from this? Data. Part of the deal is that Volt drivers agree to let the government agency collect information to help "understand what is required for widespread electric vehicle use." Nissan also has a partnership with ECOtality to bring home chargers to Leaf buyers and Ford is also working with Coulomb.