• Oct 7, 2010
Sure, the sticker price for the 240V Voltec home charging unit designed to quickly and efficiently recharge the Chevrolet Volt is a wallet-friendly $490, but this is a case where reading the fine print is important. That's because the cost to install this charger in your garage is slightly more. General Motors estimates that installation of the Voltec unit will cost you around $1,475, so we're talking about a near $2,000 premium to have your Volt suck down electrons faster than it would if just plugged into a wall.
The Volt can charge just fine from a standard outlet and comes with a 120V-to-J1772 charger. Using that method will take around ten hours to reach a full charge from empty, while using 240V charger Voltec charger will cut that down to around four hours. For people who have short commutes or plan to leave the Volt plugged in every night, a 240V system might be overkill since the Volt has a gasoline-powered generator on board to extend its range should the electrons dry up.

The Voltec system's $2,000 overall cost, however, is in line with the Aerovironment 240V charge station for the all-electric Nissan Leaf. Nissan says that charger will cost $2,200 installed, though Leaf fans began complaining that Nissan was forcing owners to use just one installer and the automaker has since pointed out that there are cheaper alternatives available.

Of course, there are ways to get free chargers (i.e. luck out and live in place with local incentives or be one of the first Volt buyers), but most people looking to add a Volt to their garage will need to cough up an extra $2,000 to receive quick-charging functionality. For an in-depth look at Chevrolet's Volt chargers, click here.

[Source: General Motors]

PRESS RELEASE

Chevrolet Volt's 240V Home Charging Unit Priced at $490

2010-10-06

DETROIT – Chevrolet has an agreement with a supplier to offer Chevrolet Volt owners one of the most affordable 240V home charging units on the market. Priced by SPX Service Solutions at $490 before installation, Chevrolet's "Voltec" 240V home charging unit is one of several 240V home charging units that will be offered for sale by SPX Service Solutions, a national provider of home charging installation services and equipment.

The Voltec 240V home charging unit can charge the Volt's battery from depleted to charged in about four hours, compared with 10 hours with the standard 120V charge cord that plugs into a household outlet. Installation of the Voltec 240V charging unit is estimated at $1,475 but can vary based upon electrical requirements.

In addition to Chevrolet's Voltec unit, SPX will sell a variety of home charging stations and manage all aspects of installation for Volt owners, including the home survey, installation, permitting, Department of Energy and utility coordination, and identification of available programs and incentives for reduced charging rates
.


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  • 60 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      So the charger is $490 for what essentially amounts to a 240V extension cord. I'm sure there is probably a DC converter in there and perhaps a breaker but the manufacturing cost of this "charger" is probably less than $50. If it has "Made in China" stamped on a lot of the components then it is probably made for $20 or less.

      One of the biggest problems we have in our economy is the insane markups on products and services that end up going to the giant corporations who then pay the person actually doing the work a tiny percentage of the massive profit margin.

      I had to buy a piece of ducting for my new hot water heater and Home Depot wanted $28 for a 6" to 3" duct connector. Sorry but there is less than $1 worth of aluminum in the part and the labor to make one piece is nothing. Home Depot probably paid less than $5 for the piece any they would have made over $23 if I bought it. Instead I went to a local metal yard and bought a sheet of scrap aluminum for $5 and made an adapter myself. I also saved $400 by installing the new water heater myself.

      It is easy enough to learn how to install a 240V breaker and as long as you do it right there won't be any issues. If you call an electrician there is no guarantee that he will even care about doing it right. if more people would learn how to do things themselves then the price of calling a professional would go down by a lot. Since most people can't even do the simplest home improvement jobs the professionals have enjoyed the freedom to mark up their services to insane levels.

      • 4 Years Ago
      The volt looks better, rides better, is a better car. The battery of the volt is liquid and thermal cooled and the Nissan has no thermal battery management. Nissan said the battery in a few years will lose its charge. Going from 100 miles down to maybe 50 or less. So people who get the leaf will be getting stuck all over the place. That extra money for quality will really be worth it.

      It also has an onboard generator to get you back home ( Worth 20k more in my opinion)

      Also the diesel fumes produced by the tow truck will be bad on the environment ( LEAF)

      The range of the volt can go into the 60's on a charge if driven well

      IF you drive nuts maybe 30 but you have to be drag racing at every street.

      So the LEAF actually might have the close range to the volt when all the numbers and testing is finished.

      The volt will be able to get you home.

      Sure the volt cost more but it’s MUCH better. It’s like paying extra for the Cadillac its more expensive than another car for a reason.
      .
        Ladson
        • 2 Years Ago
        This is not really a reply to geisemann99; however, I placed it here so many of you can read all the mis-information below ths posting: EVSE: Both cars have an onboard charger that controls the charging cycle of the batteries; The charger is fed by either a 120 vac current or 240 vac current from a hand shaking device called a EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment); this device that includes the power cord, tell the car what voltage and what current is available from the AC source. The EVSE is not a charger but a smart ac voltage cord that communicates with the car's battery charger. There is now on the market, a EVSE that provides direct current, high voltage, high current electric flow directly to the battery and bypasses the onboard charger, this is called a Level 3 DC EVSE and works with voltage in excess of 400 volts and current of about 75 amps. However, the car must be equipped to handle and control this increase amount of power. This device can charge the car's battery up to 80% in about a half hour. Mileage: The temperture, rolling friction, weight, hills and aerodynamic drag all affect the mileage of the car, as does the way the driver brakes, accelerates, and the velocity he drives. In other words, there are a lot of factors at work to lower mileage. Nissan is careful to make sure all new drivers know this. My point here is that driving an EV requires planning before you drive and knowing where your charge points are when you drive a long distance. Also, you must be willing to spend time waiting for charging the car. In effect the Leaf is a commuting car at this stage of it's development; while, the Volt is a commute car with less distance unless you drive less than 30 miles per charge and run it on its battery. The gasoline motor is there to offer security and about 200 miles of gasoline driving if necessary. Also, the Volt can be driven on gasoline only, if you don't want to wait for a re-charge on a trip. Armed with is information, now read some of the FUD below:
      • 4 Years Ago
      Isn't this just a 220V line? Can't someone just open their panel and insert a double pole breaker, then run 3-wire to a new box? Do we live in a world where someone has to pay $1500 to install a simple hard-wired charger?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The majority of these people don't even know how to change their own oil on the car and now you are going to expect people to dazzle with 220v 70 amps electrical lines lol....not to mention you will be doing such job illegally since I'm pretty sure not all will be license Electricians...Sure laws could vary from state to state but in mines, You need a building Dept permit then only a license insured electrician can touch the job then after completion the buildings inspector comes to give it the ok...Not to mention those little fine prints in the home owners insurance policies that state you are not covered from a fire due to your illegal negligence...People should just pay the 2K and get peace of mind....
        • 4 Years Ago
        My breaker box is already in my garage, so the cost to add a 220V outlet next to the box would be minimal for me. If your breaker box is a long way from your garage, then it could cost significantly more, depending upon how hard it is to run the wire.
        • 4 Years Ago
        We live in a world in which at least one cheapskate is going to fry himself trying to DIY the installation of a 220V AC line.

        Electricity seems innocuous, because we live with it every day, so we ignore the fact that these 220V AC systems can be dangerous and deadly.

        So no, it's not a particularly complicated installation. But the devil's in the details, and if that 220V feeder line isn't properly installed, you're looking at a very nasty short when the power is switched back on.
        • 4 Years Ago
        $1500 is going to be the high end, for people like me with detached garages in the back yard and an alley. You would be drilling a hole through the foundation of the house, then someone has to be paid to bury the wire, or rent a ditch witch (or dig a 24" trench that is 40 feet long by hand, no thanks), then come up and into the garage and then install the outlet. I think this qualifies are over the head of your average DIY handy person, not to mention the people buying these brand new cars.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Phez; i'd be happy to do the installation myself because i am very familiar with electronics and electricity, but i would never tell the average joe to do it themselves.

        The margin for error is pretty high. Yes, you could save a lot of money... but like i said, people who are forking over $30-$40k+ for an electric car are not exactly cheapskates in the first place.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Joe,

        Grats for you, but I don't think you represent the whole of the Volt (or Leaf for that matter) buyer base...

        But here's a golf clap for your skill: /golfclap
        • 4 Years Ago
        You could; but are you a liscensed electrician? This is some heavy duty stuff, with a lot of liability involved.. such as being electrocuted to death or burning your house down. Trust me... there are a lot of ways to screw it up.

        The connectors themselves and the electronics inside to control charging are not exactly homebrew items either. You don't just plug into your washer outlet and call it a day; it is NOT that simple. This stuff is in the kilowatt range, so components are going to be ridiculously expensive. There is no easy 101-in-1 electronics kit version of these.

        Who's gonna fork over $41k and complain about a $2000 in-home charger installation anyway? I think that price, albeit a little high, is worth the security of knowing that you're not going to burn your house down because of a loose connection or wrong wire gauge.
        • 4 Years Ago
        We are thinking the same thing. (See below)

        You are right. People are not capable of this. I am betting the type of greenie who buys a Prius, Volt, etc. are even less likely to know how to do anything for themselves.

        /stereotyping
        • 4 Years Ago
        It doesn't matter if I'm a licensed electrician, or not. I rewired my entire house, and it's fairly simply to install a breaker and tie it into some 3-wire. I'm not sure what amperage this runs at, but I'll bet that a $15 breaker at Home Depot and 10' of 10/3, plus some rigid steel piping, etc will set me back about $100, and I can have the entire thing installed just as fast as an electrician.

        Further, Middle Way, all electrical connectors are simple. Wire feeds into one side, connects via some mechanism, and goes out the other side. The connector is probably a quick connector, similar to those used for forklifts, which crimps on to the feed side of the wire. Simple installation.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Level In NJ, where I live, you don't need a licensed electrician to do electrical work on your own home, nor does it need to be inspected, nor do you need a permit. If you're a homeowner, and you're doing the work yourself, the only thing that needs to be permitted and inspected is a service panel change, since that involves a cut over of main wires coming from your weather head (the pole that goes up the side of your house with the main wires in it). Homeowners insurance also does not care who installs your electrical system, only that it is to code. As long as a homeowner follows the NEC and does things correctly, they're fine.

        Believe me, though, I've done many repairs for friends and family in their homes, who have had a licensed electrician do work beforehand, and some of the shoddy work that I've seen would make anyone cringe. Even brand new houses with teams of licensed electricians working on them are done half-arsed, and there are, in many instances, very dangerous situations that I've had to correct for people. Most recently, I found a live wire in a wall that was just taped up with electrical tape. There were no wire nuts, and the end of the wire wasn't even properly sealed in a box, it was just laying on sheetrock on the ceiling. That was done by a licensed electrician, and inspected by a town inspection office. On a new house.

        Remember, most inspection officials are people that can't actually DO the work themselves, and in many instances, the homeowner will be more knowledgeable about the task, and code, than the official.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wonder if Volt owners are going to complain when their electric bills skyrocket?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not up on my battery charging info, but I can't imagine the battery costing more than a dollar or two, if that, to charge fully.

        And it depends on what you're heating - my 1,100 square foot loft costs $45 a month in the winter for eletricity (heat and regular use, two computers on 24/7, etc). That said, I don't know how much it would cost to heat a 2,000+ square foot house with a basement, but I can see how that could get into the hundreds of dollars really, really quickly. :P
        • 4 Years Ago
        Except that they won't when you consider the money they're saving on gas.

        Might wanna check out what electricity costs...their bill won't skyrocket.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @jrm125 Actually my electric rates went up 29.7% back in January. Most people had $500+ electric bills in February, because heat is from electric baseboard heaters (there are no gas lines available). Baseboard heaters are on 220 lines, and gobble down power like no tomorrow.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Volk, Where does that coal come from? America. Where does the money spent on the electricity to charge your electric car? back to America. Electric vehicles are going to help improve America's security position by reducing economic reliance on the natural resources of un-friendly countries. The volt is not really an environmental breakthrough, it's a national security breakthrough.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @GodWhomIsMike

        Missing the point. How long are you running those heaters for? All day, nearly all day? Probably at least all evening. How many heaters are you running...probably more than one.

        At this voltage the car is charging in 4 hours, so think of this car as one heater for 4 hours. It's also eliminating all your trips to the pump.

        The car's impact on your electric bill will be less than your heaters and be saving you money on gas (the cost per mile is especially noteworthy in difference).
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Volk

        Yeah, good thing gasoline doesn't have to be extracted from the ground at a high cost, shipped around the world, refined at a high energy cost, and then trucked to your local gas station. I believe whenever they build a gas station, they just pound a pipe 10 feet into the ground and gasoline magically starts pouring forth.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good luck to all guys you are marking the realists down - you're living in a wonderland and no words would convince you. But would still say just two things - amount of coal burned to produce those 4 hours of electricity plus amount of diesel fuel to dig out and haul all that coal, then the batteries then all the elements needed to produce the batteries and the charges etc etc etc greater exceeds energy and pollution produced by the gas a car would consume. The second thing is a prediction - let's return to this in 3 years. In first 3 years the sales would be robust though just a small fraction of gas-powered cars. When all the dreamers get their dream, the sales will irreversibly decline until most realize how ridiculous the idea was. There always of course will be "environmentalists" who will keep to deny reality.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My electric bill goes up around $85 in the winter and I have crappy electric heaters in a cold climate, I only heat one room at a time too because the dumbass contractors didnt put in a thermostat. If this car doesnt retain a charge making you plug it in every day then I can see it running up your bill about as much as you would pay in gas, if it does retain a charge well then it shouldnt be too expensive since most people only drive around 10mi a day anyways.

        Now if you buy one of these things then your savings in gas for the year goes out the window.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @GodWhomIsMike - You need to replace those electric resistance baseboard heaters with a high quality heat-pump. The mini-splits are affordable, quiet and insanely efficient even down to very low outside temperatures.

        A good heat pump will use about 1/3rd the electricity that a resistance heater uses. Plus you get very efficient air conditioning should you need it in the summer months, too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm sure they will,
        and with this Time-of-Use (TOU) hydro meter who'll be charging during the day?

        On-Peak price -- 9.9 cents per kWh
        Mid-Peak -- 8.0 cents
        Off-Peak -- 5.3 cents
        (For the province of Ontario)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Seems a lot of people are under the mistaken impression that electricity is cheap, in fact the price of it has skyrocketed in recent years and when you double your daily usage, which charging a car every night will do, I think you'll notice when your utility bill doubles. Does no one remember when people in California were dieing because they couldn't afford to run their AC and the state was plagued by rolling brownouts? Electrical prices are a hell of a lot easier to manipulate than oil prices. Ask Enron.

        If everyone gets electric cars, the grid will have to be upgraded, what do you think your power rate will look like then? This bubble will burst a lot sooner than a lot of people realize. The personal transportation problem has NOT been solved.
        • 4 Years Ago
        GodWhomIsMike

        No option to heat with Oil? It gets delivered in a truck to a tank in your basement.

        Electric is prohibitively expensive to heat with in cold climates. Unfortunately many homes were built with it when electricity was very inexpensive/subsidized or comparable to gas or oil.
      • 4 Years Ago
      All the automaker with electric cars must pray god for Hyundai to enter this segment.
      Oh you will see all the magazines and all the blogs writing wonders about electric cars
      and all his advantages.
      • 4 Years Ago
      $2,000 would cover an awful lot of gas-recharged miles. Even at "just" 40mpg with gas at $2.80 that's 28,570 miles worth of fuel for the on board generator. With a leaf, the home charger makes sense, with the Volt, it may be bling.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I pretty much agree. The very fact that the Volt has a range extender deems the quick charger essentially unnecessary.
        Even if you didn't get the battery fully charged up(for whatever reason), you'll only lose a few miles of battery power before the range extender kicks on. It's not necessary to have a fully charged battery every night.

        Unless you were using the Volt enough that it doesn't sit for 10-12hrs each night(perhaps as a taxi?) then I would think that a normal 110V plug would work fine. Even if you had to be somewhere in an emergency situation, the Volt will still run just fine if it hadn't been plugged in for the full time or even at all.


      • 4 Years Ago
      My thinking about the 220 volt is that it takes 4 hours to fully charge the batteries. And it takes 10 hours with 120 v circuit. Well has anyone thought about Splitting the batteries into two packs and charging each one with it's own 120 v circuit. That way it should only take 5 hours and you would not need to install anything in your house. Just plug it in with two cords. This really would be a better way. Every place has more than one 120 v circuit.Think of how many places available that have 120 v service and don't have 240 v service available.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The problem is that the outlet with two plugs still has only one wire going to your electrical panel. This wire is smaller gauge than a 240V line, so its more about how many amps it needs to draw, rather than just voltage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Let me make myself clear about using two 120 volt circuits for charging the volts batteries. the 120 volt circuits are each on its own 20amp breaker. Thus sending 20 amps at 120 volts to 1/2 of the batteries. Instead of having only one 20 amp circuit charging the whole battery pack you have two 20 amp circuits charging the batteries. Is really easy to understand. Every part of your home has its own breaker. Most power panels have room for more breakers. And most of the circuits are way underloaded. The kitchen can even have a 120 volt 30 amp breaker for just the kitchen. Charging your battery pack this way with two circuits would add to 40 amps about the same as the 240 volt connection. But you would not need to install a separate system for the 240 volt. Yes it is not the voltage that you need to be aware of.The 240 volt is really two 120 volt circuits piggy back on one another.
      • 4 Years Ago
      First of all, The Volt may get good gas mileage, but is not an economy car. Someday the basic technology will become cheap enough that someone who is tight on money might consider a plug in series hybrid, but that is not a Volt buyer.

      The main reasons people will buy Volts are to make a social/political statement and just to be on the bleeding edge of technology.

      That said, you don't HAVE to have this charger if you have the car...if your good about plugging the car in when you get home for the evening then the 110 charger should have the car ready by morning for most people.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Middle Way

        Considering the majority of the time is spent on electric only (running around town, going to work, etc) the fuel economy becomes less of an issue.

        A typical car would still be seen as pretty efficient if it's managing 33 mpg, and in the Volt's case that's quite good considering it's carting around batteries.

        It's not a car for everyone, but I think the fuel economy number becomes less important when you consider gas is used far less often. Just think of it as handling the problem presented by electric-only...which is instant range extension, and don't think of it as the primary method of moving the car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Although this is offtopic, i'll respond to it anyway.
        The fuel economy of the Volt is certainly in question right now.

        Apparently it has a 9.2 gallon gas tank ( or is it 9 exactly? i forget. ) and they claim the car can go 340 miles.

        40 miles is the electric battery capacity.

        300 / 9 = 33.3333...mpg.

        Hm.. would you consider that to be good gas mileage? many economy cars will pull ~33mpg average for 1/3rd of the cost of the Volt.

        I guess i'd have a hard time forking over that kind of cash for something that still burns gas.
      • 4 Years Ago
      so if your house uses 110v, you can just plug it into the standard outlet. But it's not that hard to convert an outlet to 240V, so what exactly has to be installed here for $1500?
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is just the average price to run a 240 line to your garage from your electrcal box. It could be done by a homeowner with some basic electrical skills.

      We should not act as if this is an added cost for the car iteself. Garages just don't happen to have 240 outlets in the U.S.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ", but every home near here has 220 already in the garage, for those who choose to use an electric (vs. gas) clothes dryer."

        You must be in a warm climate. In Michigan we cannot keep dryers and washers in the garage or they freeze.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't know where you live, but every home near here has 220 already in the garage, for those who choose to use an electric (vs. gas) clothes dryer. I have a 220V, 20A service in my garage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If the garage doubles as the laundry, and lacks gas, it does.

        Can't wait to see what happens when some enterprising homeowner splices a Volt or Leaf charger into his dryer, tho...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds like they just quoted the worst case scenario for a 240 installation. I would think even if a homeowner can't do it themselves they could find a local electrician to do it for far cheaper.

      As the article said...it's not even a necessary installation, just an option to make it quicker.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Keep in mind a decent number of garages are detached, for anyone who lives in a big city with alleys. In my city, unless you live on an extreme hill, you have an alley with a garage in your backyard, and electrical cables buried in the yard coming from the main house. This is probably along the lines of "worst case", but it is not a super rare case, as there are 600 thousand people in this city alone, most with alleys.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think that it's an all-included price, including permit and inspection fees.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Thats the whole point of the Volt

      Its like trying to teach children at times I think the USA education level has really dropped.

      The VOLT WILL NOT USE GAS

      It runs on electricity.

      It only uses GAS if you run it out of a charge and the motor kicks in to charge the battery and that is 40-60 miles depending on how you drive. If you drive crazy it a charge might only last 30 miles

      SO if you might only use GAS on a weekend long trip to the beach. The first 40-60 miles of that trip will be free.
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