General Motors and SPX Service Solutions (the car`s exclusive retailer) will soon offer an affordable 240V home charging unit for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt electric car that will go on sale starting December, 2010 at a starting price of $33,500 (including a $7500 U.S. federal tax credit).
Available at a base price of $490 “before installation,” the unit will shorten the charging time of the Volt’s 16 kW*h lithium-ion battery pack from ten to much less frustrating four hours when compared to the standard 120V charge cord that simply plugs into an outlet in your garage or basement.
Perhaps, for a normal household where you have all night to charge the car, this sort of electric ‘turbocharger’ won’t make a huge difference. However, for a small company that is eager to attract green-minded customers with an extra freebie, a couple of SPX units may be a nice choice.
Or you can install one at your parents’ house to get you EV fully recharged while paying them their weekly visit.
SPX Service Solution covers the unit with a three-year warranty. This is the good news.
The bad news is that, according to GM’s press release, the cost of the charging unit will rise four times to almost $2000 if you add a cost of an on-site survey, securing all necessary permits and the installation (around $1475.)
Living in Europe, I wonder how will cost a similar kit for the upcoming Opel Ampera EV that also uses GM’s Voltec technology.
Perhaps, the main thing that worries me here is that the device is probably not compatible with other electric cars currently available on the market.
While it makes the Volt more competitive against other EVs, it clearly doesn’t help the whole idea of an affordable and practical electric vehicle to become more widespread. Even now, when the price of oil again going over $80 USD per barrel and the costs of fossil fuels again going through the roof, with all their incompatible standards, limited mileage and confusing mixes of technology, an EV still remains to be an enthusiast’s choice, and the way car manufacturers promote their own standards clearly doesn’t help to make their futuristic products more desirable for an average Joe.
Photos: General Motors, SPX