This question should be on the FAQ for new plug-in vehicle owners: should I shell out $2,000 for a wall-mounted 240-volt charging station that can fully recharge my electrified vehicle in approximately eight hours, or will a much less costly 110-volt setup suffice?

While there's no set-in-stone answer to this question, Dave Zehala, executive vice president of Plug Smart, is betting that, for some, 110 volts will do the trick just fine. Plug Smart makes the chipset that allows GE's 240-volt WattStation to communicate with PCs and smartphones, but Zehala says Plug Smart is working on a connected 110-volt charger, too.

Zehala envisions the cloud-connected 110-volt unit selling at Home Depot or Lowe's for less than $400 and, even though it will likely take ten or so hours to charge a Chevrolet Volt or Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid with a Level 1 setup, Zehala says internet connectivity means that plug-in owners can use their smartphones or PCs to dial in off-peak charging – just like with that über-expensive 240-volt unit.

Simplicity is key. Zehala told PluginCars:
You'll go down to Home Depot and there will be a version of our smart socket. All you have to do is plug it into a socket, and then hang it on the wall. You'll be able to meter the load, accept all the pricing protocols, talk to smart meters and your telephone.
But don't let Zehala's words mistakenly convince you that 110 volts is sufficient for pure electric vehicles. A Level 1 unit takes ages to fully charge a typical electric-only vehicle (somewhere between 14 and 30 hours). So, 110 volts will not suffice for empty-to-full overnight charges if you've got an electric-only ride. If your commute is a short one and you have a gas-powered back up, a low-cost 110-volt cloud-connected unit might make perfect sense, no?


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