• Aug 30th 2010 at 4:52PM
  • 58
Let's repeat the Leaf purchasing process, as outlined by Nissan, one more time. The four simple steps to secure your place as one of the thousands who will own Nissan's zero-emissions vehicle next year are as follows: reserve, home assessment, charger installation and ordering. The process, as we've reported before, has chugged along with nary a hitch - or has it?

According to a group of interested fanatical future Leaf owners who post on the My Nissan Leaf forum, a potential problem with the Leaf's purchasing process has been brewing for some time now. It's an issue that we've touched on before, but perhaps a refresher course is in order. Nissan, along with partner AeroVironment, has conducted the home assessment portion of the ordering process. This assessment is followed by charger installation and, as we've pointed out before, most of the quotes are in line with initial expectations.

Nissan previously disclosed that its charger, installed by AV-trained electricians, would cost home owners an average of $2,200. Okay, fine. But the My Nissan Leaf forum posters have noted that installation costs are astronomical, over half the price of the charger itself. The high quotes have driven many future Leaf owners to look for alternative chargers, or in some cases, contact Nissan and AeroVironment to voice a complaint. Some complaints have already been addressed and AeroVironment responded by dropping the install price, but this appears to be the exception and not the rule. If it seems as though some of the My Nissan Leaf forum users are whining over nothing, then consider this lightly edited post we found over in the forum:
I just got my quote from AV for a garage-installed wall-mounted charger. I was informed that AV charges a fixed price for easy installs. I already had a 50-amp 220-volt plug installed when the house was built. So, AV is charging me $1,199.90 to install two bolts and to plug in the unit.
In this instance, an install price of $1,199.90 seems downright ludicrous, but there are ways to work around the high fees. Many forum members have been in contact with Leviton, General Electric and Coulomb to source a charger while some have decided to resort to using a 110-volt Level 1 system. Though not a long-term solution, the Level 1 charger will tide Leaf owners over until either AeroVironment reduces its install fees or a better option arrives. Whether you call it a hitch, or a snag in the process, it's readily apparent that Nissan and AeroVironment have truly upset some potential owners with a problem that could have – and should have – been avoided. Hat tip to EVNow!

[Source: My Nissan Leaf]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Living in America in Oc Maryland was a bit of a nightmare for my mother who decided to move there for her retirement. It was a mistake from the beginning to a degree, because the thing about Washingtonians moving to the coast is there are those there who would just love to get a large charge on her Visa like EV charger insallers air conditioning installer upgraders & the list goes on of hidden charges or extras they decided not to advise her including electrical upgrades amidst power cutoffs by suppliers because of weak infastructure & less power & water avilable with community growth acceleration in the area!
      Her contractor had the gall to admit he didn't even have to place windows in this new home without extra charge! ha! So, America in general is ripping people of considerable age off especially in Florida whenever they have the opportunity or can talk you into extras you don't really need to live happily! They don't tell you when selling you a large motor home for 200,000 ...you'll lose 50% off the value in just one year or if you change your mind about your choice & decide to seek else where you may lose your deposit outright! That's true there in Florida. Anyhow the housing market fell along with the value of motor homes and she ost everything since the ability to sell was cut off! As a result of all this loss, I invited her to Europe but the change she thought would have hindered her since she is very American in heart as well as all her grandkids she loved were there. So, live carefully & consider more frugally if you're going to live in the US. Now she has to contend with Earl with her doorstep a few miles from the coast!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Waiting for the Leviton unit myself as being in Florida
      sets a December order date anyway. The power and
      the socket will be waiting for a very simple install.

        • 7 Months Ago
        Thanks for the info jake and john. Leviton is complying with regs even though they allow you to unplug the charger if you want. Their unit seems smaller than Nissan's also, I like smaller. Voted you guys up!
        • 7 Months Ago
        I like that Leviton charger because it plugs in. I can take it with me to some one else's house and have the ability to plug in their utilizing level 2, 220V charging. I don't see how Nissan thinks people will not demand this feature, it is utterly brain dead on their part.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Yes, the Leviton charger satisfies NEC 625. Careful reading of the rule in fact reveals that an EVSE is only required to be hard-wired if it is used outdoors - check it for yourself if you don't believe me. However, Leviton's pre-install kit does include a lockable outlet cover for safety. Options are good.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Do you know if the Leviton charger satisfies NEC 625? I thought that was the reason why level II chargers needed to be hard wired (for example, the ones specifically for the Leaf and the Volt).

        It looks like AeroVironment is letting their early mini-monopoly get to their heads. Hopefully there will be significantly more competition for them soon.
      Bryan Citrowkse
      • 3 Years Ago
      I got my $3k Qoute from AV and desided to just get a GE charger $1018 from Lowes with a new credit card. I did the install myself and let me tall ya Piece of Cake. There was alot of calles to my City inspector and one 1hr consultation with him but all and all smooth. FYI my house is a Detatched Garage with only 110V 15A running to it so I did have to dig a trench and run new 240V 50A. Its only 4 wires how hard could it be :-) Saved myself $1700
      • 4 Years Ago
      I recently had a home assessment for a Nissan leaf charging dock by aerovironment and was shocked when i received my quote.It was $2100.I called environment to find out why the price is so high. They told me that my city is charging $235. to pull a permit and a total of $600 in taxes and fees. The changing dock is $750, electrical material are $500, and $250 for a certified electrician labor. They also let my know that there is separate tax rebate for the charging dock at $1000! That brings my total to $1100.
      My brother has owned a electrical contracting business for the past 22 years. I asked my brother if he would send one of his electrical employees to install my charging dock, if i bought the charger. He told me that if the aerovironment labor cost for a certified electrician is $250 in California and they install the charging dock and pull all permits aerovironment is going to lose money on every install. My own brother refused the job and told me that he would have to make at least $450 on every job to break even.
      When i got all the facts i realised that are local and state government are the people who are jacking up the price and not aerovironment. They are hiding all the outrageous fees and taxes in the quote Just like how the sate charges $0.18 per gallon of gas and the federal charges $0.18 and then they hide it in the price per gallon. As always the government has figured out a way to screw us.
      Many cities are hurting financially and see this as a opportunity to make allot of money and have came up with special E.V permit pricing.
      When you order your Nissan leaf online it will be delivered to your local dealer. I asked a sales men at a nissan dealership how much the dealer profits per car. He told me $3000 and it is easyest money he can make,because the costmer does all work for him online.
      I drive a Toyota v6 Tacoma and average 19 mpg. I drive at least the American average of 15,000 mile per year. If i pay $3.25 for a gallon of gas my total gas price per year is $2565. I change my oil every 5,000 miles and it cost me about $120 per year. That totals is $2685 per year.I have had my truck for 8 years with 120,000 miles and have spent $21,480 in gas and oil changes.
      Now a ll i have to spend is $1100 for a charging dock and $20,500 for a Nissan leaf and never have to give my money to a oil prince in saudi arbia. This is the best deal in America.

      • 4 Years Ago
      They should include the complete charger into the car. At home or at uncle joe house Where you stop for at least 4 to 10 hours if it's in a range of approx 90 miles on a hot day or inside a range of 30 miles in winter you just plug a 110 volts electric cord or a 220 volt electric cord included in the purchasing price of the car because nobody have already a 220 volts electric cord. Remember to always bring with you these electric cords ( the longest possible) . Each half an hour of charging in mob like residential zone
      or into commercial where business have closed their outside electrical outlets, verify that nobody have stolen the cord or some childs have disconnected it for fun of seeing your face after a 10 hours waiting at a coffee shop.

      Remember too that the big cheap flaschy and fun cars of the fifties and sixties and seventies have been stolen by wall streets financial traders to be replaced by atrocious box car like k-car, celibrities, pintos, chevettes and small peoples cars from japan to increase the price of gas and cut in half the quality of cars and that projected battery cars are headed to cut again in half the actual specification of cars. As soon as a profit is made by the consumer, then as soon as wall street traders make regulations agaist it and redirect the plus-value outside of u.s.a, protected from taxation for them and subsidised by american taxation. Racism and fear are a big business in american news agencies. There is always no energy available and it must be imported, the truth is that the money can leave the country.

      In one word the traders jus
        • 7 Months Ago
        "Are you saying I can put a three prong outlet with 220V connected to it and plug the Leaf in as if I were plugging into 110V and it would be charging on a level two charge?"

        IANALOEE (I am not a lawyer or electrical engineer), but I believe that would be in violation of SAE J1772. 240V level 2 charging is supposed to do the signaling dance. A USA or Japan car knows its portable 120V cord can supply a maximum of 13 amps. But the charging station *has* to tell the car how much current it can supply at 240V, otherwise a car like the Tesla Roadster that can pull 70A will blow a 20A circuit breaker. I hope the car makers engineer their on-board chargers so that if presented with 240V and no signaling they pull some minimal current (I think 16 amp is the effective minimum for a home 240V circuit), but it would be to spec to simply shut down. From the 2001 SAE J1772 spec, "If the serial data link cannot be established under the above circumstances, the process must be terminated and the fault condition displayed by the EVSE."

        Whether the charging station (remember, the *charger* is the AC - DC conversion electronics in the car) is hardwired is a separate issue covered by section 625 of the National Electrical Code , which is even harder to figure out than the SAE spec. To me it seems to say an electrician is supposed to check the premises for ventilation and the height of the plug and bunch of other issues, but obviously Leviton thinks that by making equipment that meets the SAE J1772 and NEC 625 requirements and that is designed to plug into one of a NEMA 6-20R, 30R, or 50R socket (and thereby knowing the maximum current it can draw), it doesn't have to be hardwired.

        I don't see what stops you carrying a Leviton evrgreen SAE J1772 box in your car with a 240V extension cord so you can plug into 240V receptacles while out and about. You just have to choose the appropriate NEMA plug the box uses as I think that tells the box how much current it can deliver to the car.

        Europe has it easy -- 230V everywhere and 13 amps, so the emergency charging cord in the boot can charge twice as fast as USA and Japan, and public charging stations can be as primitive as a home electrical socket in a waterproof box. The problem in Europe comes when your car can pull more than 13 amps at 230V; SAE J1772 and the VDE-AR-E 2623-2-2 "Mennekes" blue plug promoted by the Germans are competing standards.
        • 7 Months Ago

        Agreed- all the restrictions being placed on chargers and the SAE stalling on picking a Level 3 standard makes me think that some interests in this country that don't want electric vehicles are influencing the charging standards...

        I just look at how much easier they have it in Japan- where the whole country will already be connected with Level 3 charging in January and where you can just plug in the wall for Level 2 charging. Countries that are on the ball like Japan will jump ahead in electric vehicles, while we pay catchup.
        • 7 Months Ago
        The car comes with a 110v cord. All the electronic charging for Level 1 and 2 is within the car. In Europe and Asia (where higher voltage is standard), you can just plug it in to the wall for 220v.

        However, in the US, there are regulations that prohibit you from plugging an electric vehicle directly into a 220v outlet. You need the EVSE that switches on 220v only when it senses that the car is plugged in properly.
        • 7 Months Ago
        I'm not sure how it would work here, but there is some sort of protection circuit on the Japanese/EU cord- see below:


        I do not believe the US cord (which also has some sort of protection circuit) will let you use 220v... but I may be wrong.

        However, if you could get a cord and a standard outlet from Europe or Japan and install it, it would probably work.

        Whether that is legal or not is another question.
        • 7 Months Ago
        The price they're asking is NOT realistic for the work being done. And what's dangerous about it? If you can install your own jacuzzi with a 220 VAC circuit, then you can do this. Some simple tools, basic knowledge and some common sense is all that is required.
        • 7 Months Ago
        Fine, I will plug the charger into a 220V outlet then I will plug in the car using the j1772 connector from the charger.

        That the charger should be hardwired is ludicrous. This as got to be changed. Their is not safety issues with plugging in the charger and then plugging in the car from the charger. What the hell is this some kind of business conspiracy to make people use level two charging facilities when away from home? What a bunch of crap.

        I admit plugging in 220v can be dangerous, hint don't let your finger slide onto the metal when plugging in and don't let any of the metal get touched by other metal when plugging in.
        • 7 Months Ago
        lne937s said: The car comes with a 110v cord. All the electronic charging for Level 1 and 2 is within the car. In Europe and Asia (where higher voltage is standard), you can just plug it in to the wall for 220v.

        So wait a minute here. Are you saying I can put a three prong outlet with 220V connected to it and plug the Leaf in as if I were plugging into 110V and it would be charging on a level two charge?

        In other words, at a few of my buddies houses we have installed 220V so could charge faster. The receptacles have the 14-50p connections now (modern dryer outlet). Are you saying all I have to do is change the 14-50p receptacle to a regular three prong household receptacle and the Leaf will utilize it as is. The 220V charging in Europe will need no charging station for 220V level two charging?

        If it would work this way I would not need to carry a charger with me. I would think it would not. Perhaps they send a different version of the Leaf to Europe.
      • 4 Years Ago
      One mechanic friend of ours said of our decision to buy the Leaf when it comes out in Canada (release date to be determined, but more like in the range of about 9-12 months after the US release): It's a good idea to wait about a year for them to fix all the initial build issues.

      Not that we don't have to wait an extra year anyway, but this kind of thing makes us kind of glad that we'll have to wait an extra while.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The AeroVironment "charger" is only a smart extension cord. The EVs from the early 90's needed an off board chargers that supply carefully regulated DC current. Due to improved technology the new crop of EVs and PHEVs have small light weight onboard chargers. The Aerovironment and other home chargers simply supply AC current to the car. They are nothing more than a durable safe extension cord with a very limited intelligence to communicated with the vehicle and receive the "ok to turn on now" signal.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Maybe you're talking about homebrew conversion kits. AeroVironment has sold DC fast chargers to industrial clients for years, but it's unclear what if any passenger cars accepted them. I believe all the 90s electric cars made to meet the California ZEV mandate used either the Avcon rectangular handle or the Magne Charge inductive charging paddle to receive AC power. California Air Resources Board and SAE and the automakers came up with the level 1, 2, 3 terminology we're still using today, and the original SAE J1772 REV NOV 2001 standard picked the Avcon handle; what we call SAE J1772 these days is really the 2009 revision.

        SAE J1772 signaling is much more complicated than "an extension cord". The car and EVSE have to go through a complicated signaling dance before any power flows, during which the EVSE has to signal how much current it can deliver. I can't find the 2009 spec online for free, but the 2001 spec is at http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/stakeholders/infrastructure/finalsaej1772.doc . Prices of charging stations should continue to drop.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That "complicated signalling dance" is very simillar to signalling that occurs when you connect your computer mouse to USB port.
        Yes, I'know what I'm talking about.
        The cost of "charger" electronics should be simillar to the cost of that mouse.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The connector on the all the level 1 and level 2 "chargers" for leaf and volt have five pins. Three large pins are hot, hot and ground. Two small pins are signal. The signal is very simple. It is something like 5v+ means ok, 5v - means ground fault and so on. I think there will be a cheap charger soon. The price of the installation should drop as well. The home charger is a fancy gfci extension cord and should cost less than $300 with a similar installation cost.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm glad that ABG is running with this story. I have registered my dissatisfaction with Nissan and requested a revised quote from AV. Our garage is pre-wired to the drop point and they want $1300 installation; this is nearly this is nearly twice the cost of their charger! At this point, unless the revised quote is substantially lowered, I am planning to go with the Leviton solution on principle.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Household electrical systems are not like installing cable television in the house where the routing is similar from house to house; and cost can be spread across the board. Every house will have different obstacles in the installation. Some might not even have space in the circuit breaker needing to piggy another breaker board..Not to mention the installation has to be done by insured and Lic electrician to meet city codes/permits which is pricey by nature..This is not price manipulation it is industry standard..Sure you might save 100 or 2 from shopping around with different Lic Electricians but the industry average is level across the board..I'm pretty sure people don't want their house burned down to the ground...
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Level: This is not about safely installing a household branch circuit. It's about Aerovironment gouging a seemingly captive audience of potential EV buyers. For my install they need to hang the box on the wall and run 12 inches of 8/3 wire -- $1100. "Simple people" want neither their house burned nor their bank account. Ordered my LEAF today. AV will not be installing anything.
        • 7 Months Ago
        I understand what you are saying, but what I am saying is that electrical jobs aren't cheap...To an electrician it's no different from installing wall outlets for a washer to installing EV outlets...I payed to have installed top hats in my entire basement to the tune of 5k and $75 each just to have outlet replaced to more fancy units...I find it ridiculous to whine about how much it cost to install an EV charging stations, like if EV charging stations have to get some type of discount from electricians..It ain't like installing cable TV where you can have a fixed price across the board and it is not controlled by the Buildings Dept no Lic/Permits/Insurance required ...

        You see 12 inches of 8/3 wire -- $1100, a License Electrician that is Insured sees $100 in parts $300 in labor/truck/gas $400 in insurance/permits $$ warranty cost and $$ in profits the potential liability if that 12 of 8/3 wire were to go bad or if the worker were to get hurt on the job...From the moment the electrician starts dabbling with your wires he has cost of insurance not to mention his license on the line and pretty sure if he is Lic/Insured his union also..

        I'm pretty sure a none License electrician with no insurance might do that job for 300 bucks..and will prob do the job just as good but we live in a world where buyer be ware..EV owners need to adapt to the industry standards it's not the other way around..
        • 7 Months Ago
        I don't think anybody is debating a high price if the licensed electrician has to actually install wiring. That is a lot of permits and expense. You pay for the profession backing of certification, permits and insurance. You pay for paper, essentially. The actual labor is fairly cheap.

        However, this blog is more about homeowners who already have 95% of the work done. Who have wiring permits or have a 240v line already run to the proper location. But AV not having the business/customer service sense to be able to itemize their actual costs.

        Since they have a contracted monopoly on Leaf buyers at the moment, they have no real incentive to give price estimates that reflect actual expenses.

        So they essentially treat all customers as if they needed the entire installation job done.

        *** They could also be afraid that if your house caught on fire and you only payed AV for the 5% of the installation work that was needed (because you had previously had 95% done).... they might still be held at fault and held liable for a claim.

        So it might be speculative insurance that is causing a bloated price tag.

      • 4 Years Ago
      So to own a leaf you have to pay for an offboard charger plus installation fees and you are restricted to charge only at home and no where else except at 110 volts 10 hours recharge time.

      It's easy to see that this car is a hoax from petrol-goverment industry. Low performance, high price, no small gasoline range extender, no convenience. Nobody will buy that except head-fu&ker for masochism political reasons.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's about time this story was written after the many suggestions. To clarify, the people being overcharged are not fanatics but all the people buying a Leaf that have very basic to 95% complete installations prior to AV doing their assessment. I had a bid done and I had already wired the entire project and the AV assessor said it was the "easiest" he had seen and agreed the install was a matter of screwing the unit on the wall and making the connections. He listed those specifics on the bid with pictures and after waiting a month for the bid the labor for the work (exc permit time ) was $1300! When I called them repeatedly they asked me to right a letter, then after more weeks they promised a re quote and admitted the mistake and said I would have it in a couple days, a week later nothing. To top it off they stated the lowest possible labor charge is $700! Right, as a contractor I can say these guys are insane. To add icing to the cake AV is a government contractor with too many hands in their pot and they use scare tactics saying people will not get the tax credits if they don't buy the EVSE form them and go to Leviton or elsewhere. NIce try AV, can I get a spy drone with that EVSE for that price?

      AV is a discrace to the EV industry.
        • 7 Months Ago
        AV should not be in the residential EVSE space, perhaps large commercial. EVSEs for residential use should be installed by any competent local or regional electrician not big corporations. The EVSE is a basic electrical appliance and they have been around for many years, there is nothing complex about a smart junction box with a cord. I bet AV thought this was the "next best" green opportunity, well good luck because most people don't need a large corporation to install a glorified outlet. Best of luck AV, you are too big and slow for this.
        • 7 Months Ago
        There's undoubtedly some birthing pains here. I sympathize with those who would rather not pay exorbitant fees for admittedly easy work (did some wiring myself this weekend), but we all knew that early adopters would have to put up with some bull$h!# to be the first to get the new Leaf.

        Stick it out, don't give up. You'll forget all about it when that new Nissan is sitting there in your garage.
        • 7 Months Ago
        I suspect part of it is that AV has never done anything remotely like being a service company. It takes a bit of shuffling of the corporate structure to make it possible to have flexible contracts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think Leviton is going to clean up on their product and they thought it through well. I expect to see these at Lowes and Home Defect in time.
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