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Bosch selling cut-rate home charging station

Automotive supplier has a new power source for electric cars that's roughly half the price of most units.

By Clifford Atiyeh May 10, 2013 9:28AM
Bringing home an electric car requires some rewiring -- and spending upwards of $1,000 on a charging station and an electrician to install it.

But Bosch, a huge automotive supplier, is introducing its own branded home charger for $449.

It's similar to the 15-amp $490 Voltec charger it supplies for General Motors, currently the cheapest such unit on sale, although only Chevrolet Volt owners with valid VINs can order one.

The Bosch charger, called the Power Max, will be available starting in June to all EV owners looking for cheap, 240-volt charging. This price is for the 16-amp version and will likely entice lower-budget EV buyers and those without 30-amp service in the garage.

Kevin Mull, vice president of business development, told MSN Autos that Bosch "removed unnecessary features" found on most home charging stations, such as a full LCD display and data capability for connecting to corporate charging networks, to bring the price down. It also cut the cord, which Mull said comprises a quarter of a station's cost, from 18 feet to 12 feet.

The 30-amp version, which promises a faster charge and a longer 18-foot cord, costs $593, or $400 less than the AeroVironment charger that's sold with the Nissan Leaf and other electric cars. Similar 240-volt home units from Eaton, which run at 16 amps, cost $950. The 30-amp GE WattStation sells for for $849 on Amazon.

Bosch's unit is a considerable deal, especially as federal tax credits for home charging stations are set to expire by the end of the year.

Currently, EV owners can claim tax credits for up to 30 percent of the charging station price. A few states offer similar incentives, although Oklahoma is the most generous, with a tax credit of up to 75 percent of the price.

Installation isn't included in those prices, including the Power Max. If your garage or parking site is already wired with the correct amperage, you'll probably need to pay only around $100. If you don't have wiring in the first place, expect to pay much more.

But despite charging stations being standardized by the Society of Automotive Engineers, you might be able to skip them altogether. Tesla Motors offers customers the ability to plug into standard 240-volt outlets – the kind used for clothes dryers – with a much cheaper adapter cord. Porsche is doing the same for its new Panamera S E-Hybrid, and is even offering more than 20 international plug adapters to fit nearly every outlet in the world. If you're smart about your cords and stay indoors, you won't need a special station.

The real benefits of a home charging station, like a garden-hose wall attachment, is its plug and play simplicity and safety. Unlike an outlet, a charging station connector is never live until it is secured into a car's charging port. It's also rated for outdoor use and is designed to keep rain, snow and other moisture from short-circuiting the connection. For those reasons alone, especially with kids and pets nearby, it's worth the price.

And if you don't own a Tesla or a Porsche, well, you don't have a choice.

[Source: Bosch]
May 17, 2013 7:25AM
If your rich, you don't need electrical safety.
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