GE and EVs

Last Friday I mentioned the GE Nucleus, GE's effort to help homeowners manage energy and appliances.  Not only is GE focused on energy consumption in the home, GE is also active on the electric vehicle (EV) front as well.  On the GE Reports site they have some nice articles on EVs. We wrote about preparing the home for an EV back in February, but GE Reports has a nice post on 5 Steps to Wiring your home for an EV. They state:

1. Call a qualified electrician. You can use a provider site like ServiceMagic a GE partner, to find a local, certified electrician who is trained to install electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). You will be able to charge most new EV’s with ordinary household current, though they probably won’t get a full charge overnight that way. The Chevy Volt, for example, will require ten hours or more to fully charge through a standard 110-volt wall socket. A dedicated Level 2 charging station, such as GE’s WattStation, is an amped-up alternative, literally — it lets you fully charge most new EV’s in as little as four hours.
2. The electrical contractor like Sydney electrician will check whether your home electrical panel has sufficient load capacity to power the charger. Homes built before 1980 may require some new wiring.
3. The WattStation is hardwired to home circuits on a 40-amp 220-volt line. If necessary, the technician will install a new circuit breaker between the charging station and your home’s circuits.
4. The electrician will run a new power line and conduit to the garage where the new EV charger will be located. Ty Kasperbauer, Senior Vice President of New Channel Development at ServiceMagic says that in terms of electrical load requirements, “It’s very much analogous to hooking up a new hot tub.”
5. The electrician will mount the EV charger on the wall, test the connections, and then you’re ready to charge your new puppy. Kasparbauer says new wiring requirements will vary from home to home, but most installations should take four to eight hours to complete, and cost around $1,500 (not including the price of the charging unit itself).

We mentioned level 2 charging stations in our post on Electric Car Charging Stations, of which GE was mentioned with their Wattstation electric vehicle charging station. Hopefully the cost of charging stations and EVs will come down now that GE is committing to buy 25,000 EVs.

Of the 25,000 EVs being purchased, 12,000 will be from GM, beginning with the Chevrolet Volt in 2011. Other vehicles will be added as manufacturers expand their EV portfolios. With a tipping point now occurring in terms of EV production, charging technology, and consumer interest, the EV landscape is now focusing on what can drive the market on a large scale. For example, global charging infrastructure is set to grow exponentially over the next five years, from about 20,000 charging stations in 2010 to 3 million by 2015. As GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said in the video above about how the charging infrastructure and fleet purchase decision fits into GE’s ecomagination strategy: “We’ve always believed that clean energy is about commercialization. It’s not a novelty.”

In order for Electric Vehicles to be a reality, we need our big corporate leaders to get behind the technology and commercialize it so costs can come down.  It looks like GE is leading the way on this one, who is going to be next?

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Makes a lot of sense to plan ahead when doing home upgrades; I'm realizing that when I put in solar, and rather than installing a 200A panel I just put in a subpanel on my 100A service, I probably shoulda been thinking ahead to an EV and just upgraded the service then. I wonder how many electricians will be forward-thinking enough to suggest going a little further on a job to accomodate EVs in the future?
ckmapawatt's picture
It's definitely something worth bringing up with the customer. It would also be nice to integrate a home energy monitoring system with the EV charger so you know exactly how much juice the car is consuming. I'm pretty sure many charging systems are going to have this integrated though.

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