09-29-2010, 11:28 AM
My Volt order has moved to "Vehicle Being Produced" status and I am now pondering a 240-Volt charging station for my garage. My dealer has nothing to provide me regarding the charging stations, but advises that they will be sending out a list of authorized installation contractors in the near future.
Does anyone know:
1. Where to find the specs for the 240-volt circuit so I can provide them to my electrician? (e.g, 30 amps or 40 amps, etc.)
2. How to apply for a DOE grant refund for the cost of the charging station?
3. Has anyone contemplated a separate meter on this circuit? I understand that some electric utilities (e.g., Detroit Edison) offers special night charging rates, but a separate meter may be required?
Thank you in advance!
09-29-2010, 11:59 AM
Wait just a little longer. Now that GM has accepted your order for production, a "Volt Specialist" (or whatever they call it) should be in touch shortly.
09-29-2010, 06:15 PM
In some areas determined by zip code there will be free chargers made available. There are three gotchas.
1. There are a limited quantity of the chargers, I believe 4000 for the Volt and some similar number for the Leaf.
2. You have to live in a zip code where the program is offered. According to the guy from Coulomb that I talked to this is a moving target likely based on sales and the areas have been expanding. Nissan is ahead of GM here. Coulomb doesn't yet have any instructions from GM as to where they are going to offer them.
3. You agree as part of the free charger deal that the charger will be networked and your usage patterns will be made available to the government for analysis of EV usage. So you give up some privacy.
Now to your question of specifications...
The 240 volt chargers are capable of delivering 30 amperes and should have a 40-amp breaker and wiring. This means 8-gauge copper wire unless the run is more than 96 feet to the service panel, in which case 6-gauge is needed. Two conductors plus ground, no neutral is needed.
From what I've read the Volt charger is only capable of producing 3300 watts which means it will draw a maximum of about 15 amps at 240 volts. However, the charger should be fused at 40 amps and capable of delivering 30 in case it's used with a different EV in the future.
Coulomb quoted a list price of $1200 for their home charger if you want to just buy it. There are also a couple of other manufacturers out there, I haven't priced them. The Volt takes a J1772 connector and cord. All of the chargers I've looked at are environmentally rated as NEMA 3R which means they are suitable for outdoor mounting where they may get rain and moisture such as a carport but not submersible or 100% watertight.
Note that the "charger" is really just a a controller. The actual charging circuitry is in the vehicle. The controller has a contactor (essentially a power relay), a resistor which identifies its capabilities to the vehicle, some control circuitry and a proximity sensor to prevent driving away with the cord connected. The same connector pins are used for the 120 volt level 1 charger but the resistor value is different. Some details here:
George S. Bower
09-29-2010, 06:23 PM
This site is where all the Leaf guys have been going for the free chargers. You have to register.
PS I don't think it's specific to the Leaf--you will have to study it.
also put lots of margin in your wire run, you may want to upgrade to a bigger charger in the future. The volt and the Leaf both have 3.3 kw chargers but soon they will be 6.6 kw. I think the max current allowable in the j1772 spec is 70 amps but I'm not sure.