Ford And Taxpayers Giving Away 4,600 EV Home Chargers, Nissan Not So Much

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Worried about the high MSRPs on most of the electric vehicles scheduled for launch over the next year? Don’t forget to include the cost of buying and installing a home charging station. Nissan reckons the charger for its Leaf will cost about $2,200, including a home electrical inspection [er, that’s a medical marijuana grow…] and installation. Oh, and it won’t be Nissan coming into your home: Aerovironment, a firm otherwise best known for its Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, has the contract to supply and install the Leaf’s charger. Coulomb Technologies supplies the home charger for Ford’s first EV, the Transit Connect EV, and according to Automotive News [sub], they’re partnering with Ford to give chargers away to the first 2,000 buyers of the electric-drive delivery van. But, as usual with good news in the EV sector, the charger giveaway is actually being funded by tax dollars…

The chargers are being given away as part of Coulomb’s ChargePoint program, which seeks to improve EV infrastructure in nine US regions. That means the free chargers are only available to customers in or around

Austin, Texas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Fla., Sacramento, Calif., the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, Redmond, Wash., and Washington DC

Which is kind of ironic considering the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturer’s (which Ford is a member of) recently lambasted a regionally-based infrastructure development bill, arguing that it

risks resulting in federal resources becoming overly concentrated in a small number of communities, which could establish electric cars as boutique vehicles… Electric cars and their infrastructure should be available to everyone nationwide, not just people in select communities.

Ah well. In any case, $15m of the ChargePoint program’s $37m budget is being paid for by a stimulus bill grant (via the Department of Energy’s Transportation Electrification Initiative), and Coulomb hopes to fund the rest of the program with money from local governments. In return for the free Ford/Coulomb publicity, free chargers for early adopters, and a free sense of green self-satisfaction, the ChargePoint program will conduct a two-year study of EV and charging network use for the government.

And though the fairness and efficacy of government subsidies for home-chargers is debatable, it’s not likely to let up anytime soon. There is currently a federal tax credit worth half the value of a home charger installation (up to $2,000) which is set to expire in December of this year. That will help Nissan and GM, which do not have access to a government-funded charger-giveaway program like Ford’s (although local governments like Los Angeles are also rolling out home-charger subsidies). Look for that credit to be renewed before the end of the year, as governments the world over have clearly signed on to the idea that EVs are worth being subsidized from every possible angle. And considering that costs for installation could, in some cases, reach all the way to $10,000, home chargers are going to need all the help they can get.

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2 of 9 comments
  • Davejay Davejay on Jun 03, 2010

    I'm one of the people who has made a deposit on the Leaf, and part of the signup process involves filling out a questionnaire about where the Leaf will be parked, where your electrical panel is relative to your garage, and so on -- and this questionnaire was kicked off after I was offered a chance to get a free charger + installation from eTec. Here's an article that mentions it: Here's the link I followed to sign up: So note that Nissan (and the taxpayers, natch), in this fashion, is indeed offering free chargers for folks. According to the email I was sent on 4/28, they're going to let folks know by June 30th whether they qualify or not.

  • Gimmeamanual Gimmeamanual on Jun 03, 2010

    Detroit? No trip in Detroit metro area is short. Surprised Boston didn't make the cut.

  • Kwik_Shift Ever see the movie "Rubber"?
  • Bunkie Perhaps, I am wrong, but I believe that the issue is that high-power electronics in an EV cause interference with the AM radio signal. As for listening to radio in the car, I don't. I had SiriusXM for a few years but hated the awful sound quality and the signal dropout caused by obstructions like terrain (which made listening to any talk-based content painful), not to mention the annual game of having to threaten to cancel in order to get a decent rate. These days, I use either music stored on my phone or one of the streaming music services to which I subscribe. Sometimes I even listen to CDs, I will miss the CD player.
  • 28-Cars-Later Can we send them all into space? Pleaseeeee?
  • Mike Beranek People tend to get pissed at me because I don't speed on 25 mph residential streets. I don't speed on those streets because there's nothing to be gained, like there would be by speeding on a highway.Also, a question for drivers: If you're in the passing lane, why are they passing you?
  • Wolfwagen I worked for a few companies that have used Transit Connects for service or delivery and of course as Cabs in NYC (NV200 are the best cabs in NYC- plenty of legroom). I had never seen one as a passenger vehicle until a few months ago when I saw one at the local HD parking lot. It looked great for a small family or even an active couple that needs secure storage. However, I have never seen any advertisement from Ford for this model/trim