Chevrolet Volt home charging – Click above for high-res image gallery
It doesn't matter if you are switching from Windows to Mac, AT&T to Verizon or cable to satellite, there are usually some unanticipated costs associated with the change. The same goes with switching from gasoline to electric vehicles. The overall vehicle operating costs once you have made switch to electric will almost surely go way down (excluding the potential of a battery replacement down the road), but you do have to pay up front. We've often speculated on the purchase cost of EVs, but there is also the cost of setting up your house to effectively charge your new ride.
While you can nominally just plug in an EV to any existing outlet, this is not recommended unless you drive very infrequently. Most people will want to have a reasonably high current outlet available for charging (240 volts and 30-40 amps). Many newer homes already have 200 amp or higher electrical service panels, but older homes do not. As a result, homeowners will want/need to have at least the circuit breaker panel upgraded along with any associated wiring upgrades.
Although estimates vary, aspiring EV owners are likely looking at an electrician bill of anywhere from $1,000 for newer houses to $3,000-5,000 or more for an older house. Fortunately, it's a one-time upgrade (unless you eventually go 400V or more) but it's still a steep investment. Is it worth it? We'll find out soon enough.
[Source: New York Times]