In the beginning, arranging for the charging station installation will be part of the purchasing process of buying your first Electric Vehicle (EV). All approved chargers by the various manufacturers will be compliant with SAE J1772 standards for electric vehicles and electrical connectors.
You won’t be able to buy the car unless you are willing to install a charging station your home. Consumers who buy the Nissan Leaf will be required to use their exclusive contractor, AeroVironment, for installation of the home chargers. They may be able to install their own charging equipment if they sign a waiver.
The Chevy Volt will come standard with a 110 volt charger which will allow you to charge directly from your home wall outlet. For Volt customers who prefer to have a 240 V rapid charger installed, SPX service solutions is the exclusive contractor for the installation of their rapid charging station.
There is a big difference in the vehicles range due to the size of their battery packs. Chevrolet considers the Volt to be a hybrid vehicle which can be plugged in. GM describes the car as an extended range EV (electric vehicle) with a smaller battery. The LEAF is strictly electric with a much larger battery pack that is 2-3 times the size of the Volts. The Chevy Volts 16kwh battery will probably only ever use 8 kw of it. The Leaf will contain a 24 KWh battery, but will probably need to use 80-90% in order to increase the battery life. In order to fully charge the LEAF, it will need to be plugged into a 110v outlet for the entire day. It is expected that the cost to install a Level II home charging unit will run about $2,200.
Because the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt are expected to be the first cars which will require the installation of a Level 2 home charger until 2012, it is expected that the demand for home charging units will remain low, unless a surprising number of first owners opt to have the rapid chargers professionally installed.
Now there are a number of companies entering the charging station market. AeroVironment was the first company to devote itself to developing and building Level II home charging units. The reason they won the contract from Nissan was probably because they were the first one with a product to offer. Most of the other companies that are developing and building charging stations focused on industrial units for commercial and municipal installations. However that is changing as the first mass market electric vehicles are finally ready to launch.