Ford’s home EV charging station stacks up against competitors


January 16, 2011

Ford Motor Company, Executive Chairman Bill Ford charges the Ford Focus Electric using the home charging station

Ford Motor Company, Executive Chairman Bill Ford charges the Ford Focus Electric using the home charging station

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Home charging stations aren't included in the purchase price of the growing numbers of electric vehicles from major automakers, so unless you live next door to a public charging station or are one of the 4,400 Volt owners to snap up a free one from GM, you’ll be forced to shell out some extra cash if you want a faster charging option than is possible with the included 120-volt cable. At least Ford’s home charging station for its new Focus Electric is shaping-up to be little cheaper and more flexible than some competitor offerings.

Instead of being hard-wired into the electrical breaker box, the home charging station for the Ford Focus Electric, which was jointly developed with Leviton, plugs into a 240-volt outlet. This means removing and replacing the charger, when moving for example, is as simple as unplugging and plugging it back in. The station is manufactured in the U.S. and its exterior housing is made up of up to 60 percent post consumer recycled material. It will recharge the 2012 Ford Focus EV’s 23 kWh battery pack in around 3.5 hours and Ford says it will also be compatible will all the company’s upcoming electric vehicles.

With a standard installation, Ford’s home charging station is expected to retail for approximately US$1,499, which doesn’t stack up too badly with its competitors.

The Chevy Volt’s 240-volt (level 2) Voltec home charging station will recharge the vehicle in around four hours and will set you back US$490, plus an estimated $1,475 for (permanent) installation.

Meanwhile the Nissan LEAF’s 240-volt home charging station, built and installed by AeroVironment, takes around seven hours to recharge the LEAF’s 24 kWh battery pack and costs around US$2,200 including (again, permanent) installation.

There is also a 500-volt level 3 quick charging option available in Japan for the LEAF that will charge the vehicle’s 24 kWh battery pack to 80 percent of full charge in less than 30 minutes. Although this will require an expensive three-phase connection on top of the JPY1,470,000 (approx. US$17,730) purchase price for the charger.

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Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

it would certainly be handy to have a spare set of car batteries at home, so that you could swap them over and we charge the exhausted ones. Otherwise, what happens if you just come back from a long journey, and have to go out and make another long journey, immediately? These chargers seem to be very expensive, although as the petrol prices in England are currently going through the roof, it does make electric vehicles more attractive. It is a shame you cannot just plug into an ordinary wall socket. When I first read the article, and I saw this comment: \"the first 4,400 Volt owners\" I didn\'t quite understand it. I thought, that\'s a high voltage!

There is still this problem of recharging time. If you are out somewhere, and you\'re lucky enough to find a recharging point, you can\'t really hang around for five hours, can you? Or even half an hour come to think of it.


If you think the chargers are expensive, then forget about a second set of batteries. The price of the fast charger (which if you want to install it in your house would require major upgrade to your electrical service) is probably comparable to the cost of a second set of batteries. The current vehicles being made available to the public do not have exchangeable batteries. The Better Place cars do, but they really don\\'t intend for people to exchange batteries at home, since a battery swap station costs over a million dollars.

If you are worried about having charge for long trips, buy a Volt (or Ampera in Europe) or don\\'t buy an EV at all. EVs are not intended to be long distance trip vehicles. They are the daily commute vehicles, where people typically drive 40 miles a day or less.


Many houses have a 240 volt plug for the electric stove. Perhaps the charger could plug directly into it if the cooking is by gas. The stove circuit is normally on a 50 amp breaker which should be adequate for either the Ford or the LEAF.

240 V x 50 amperes/1000 watts/Kw = 12 Kw on a 50 ampere, 240 volt line which means a rate of 12 Kwh per hour charge available from the stove plug

Charging power is greater for the first part and less later on of the cycle but average power required during the charge time would be:

Ford Focus: 23 KwH/3.5 hours = 6.57 Kw LEAF: 24 KwH/7 hours = 3.43 Kw

Adrian Akau

I believe replacement battery packs are over $10,000. The installation in a permanent situation is high. However with the charging pack for the Volt, they mention that it can be portable. Which would lower installation greatly. I had to add a 240 line to my laundry room for a new dryer. The full cost for that was $150.


Don't forget - Nissan is cutting level 3 Charger cost now - soon to be available - maybe even here in N. America - Gas pumps at the Gas Station cost $10k - $15K and more -

And - if your issues are that your drive a lot in a day - and have regular emergencies - get a Prius PHV - for the best gas fuel efficiency and the option of Driving Electric first - or Last - on your trip!

Robert Weekley

I am wondering if there is a reference to know what the pricing for a new residential Level II charging station should be. Most of the dealers I find online do not list prices. This dealer show prices but IMO they are overpriced. You also have Home Depot where the stations they advertise are not available. I am having a hard time figuring out what is a fair price to pay and where to buy.

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