OK, I now have one installed & can chime in here. Here's the background & experience (advanced warning, will be a bit long).
I won't be ordering my LEAF until next year, but due to my tax situation, even if the EVSE tax credit is extended for 2011, I won't be able to use it. So, silly me, I thought Nissan would be willing to help their customers and install the EVSE this year. I put in the request and never did hear back from them. It was only until I called them and asked them what the status of my request was that I was told it had been denied. The reason given was that Nissan decided to focus their limited installers on people actually ordering LEAFs this year. Understandable, but I also think avoidable with proper planning by Nissan and AV. This was in November.
So, I started looking into alternatives and hooked up with Nathaniel Villarreal of Captive Fuel http://www.captivefuels.com/home
He was quick to come on over on short notice and prepare a quote, which, of course, was significantly less than the quote I had received from Nissan/AV. The next issue was to actually find someone who was actually shipping EVSEs this year. The only ones I could find were Coulomb and EV Charge America. I did contact Clipper Creek & got one quick e-mail but never did get a quote form them. I'm afraid that from what I could tell, EV Charge America didn't have much of a history and I know Coulomb, even though they are a start up, has significant backing and are likely to still be around in several years. So, even though the Coulumb EVSE seems over priced and over built for my needs, since I could cover half the cost through the tax credit, I decided to go with the Coulomb EVSE.
So, (sigh), here are the costs for the install.
Install - put in approx 100 ft of Romex cable from breaker box on outside of house in back underneath house to garage & application to PG&E $830
CT 500 EVSE - $2071 (including tax & shipping)
City of Milpitas Permit - $199.25
I know that if I waited until next year, even after the tax break, for the same amount of cash outlay I could have had an AV EVSE or similar installed for the same or perhaps a bit lower price. I'm justifying this to myself by thinking by going ahead and getting the Coulomb EVSE now, I'm able to afford a top of the line unit
Note that I decided not to put in a sub-panel & meter for the car and thus have to go to to the E9A schedule. I don't have air conditioning and our electricity use is pretty minimal, so I think I can live with it. Supposedly the Coulomb EVSE has an "utility grade" meter built into it but I doubt if PG&E will read off of it.
Some notes from the experience so far.
- Had to badger Coulomb's distributor to get basic things such as payment receipt and shipping information. They should hook up with Amazon.
- Inspection for permit was interestng. There was a hiccup when the inspector asked for UL 2202 certification which wasn't listed in the installation manual. The tech support team at Coulomb got the guy who works on their certification on the line and it turns out that the Milpitas regulations were a bit outdated. UL 2202 is the certification for an actual charger which directly charges the battery on the car. Since it is an EVSE, the correct certification is UL 2594. Kudos for the Coulomb team and hopefully Milpitas LEAFers can thank me for getting the city regs updated. Definitely early days here.
Regarding the CT-500, it seems to be a very well built rugged unit made with heavy duty “metalized” plastic & a well armored cord & a holster for stowing the business end of the coupler. Rather than an EVSE for a single family residential home, it looks like it really was designed for more comerical applications such as a car port charger for an apartment complex. I showed it to a buddy of mine who is a meter tech for PG&E and he said it looks well built.
It comes with a CDMA connection & 2 years free connection. Interestingly, the picture of the devices shows 2 antennas but it only came with 1. As far as I know, the connection allows automatic software updates over the air, but not sure what else it does yet. And at this point, what I find most interesting about the device is that it comes with a full fledged installation manual, but no real “proper care and feeding of your new expensive device” manual. Just comes with a one page card showing how to charge the vehicle.
One thing is with all the new EVSEs coming online next year, I’m willing to bet Coulomb will be dropping their prices to remain competitive, so you might want to consider them as an alternative.
Will post more once I actually get the car & try charging it. In the meantime, it’s back to watching the 49ers loose (barely at this point) & commercials showing just how patriotic it is to drive big gas guzzling ICE cars.