pgrovetom
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Level 2 Charger Confusion

Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:45 pm

I have a Leaf reserved and received an email to set up a charger assessment which led to some confusion when I called the Nissan leaf customer service and they transferred me to AeroVironment customer service.

Because of my great interest in getting a leaf, I quickly clicked on the link to set up the assessment. I was surprised that I was required to provide a credit card, $100 and agree to not insignificant legal contract just for an assessment. I went ahead even though my dealer knew nothing of this due to my interest.

I called Nissan and was told I could buy the EVSE ( fancy name for 220V extension chord) myself and have my own electrician install it. I was transferred to Aerovironment who told me NO I couldn't and the only way I could get the federal tax credit was by having them install it. They claimed it was a safety issue but I pointed out I can pull a permit and have an electrician install a 220V outlet for any equipment that needs it.

What is the reason I must use Aerovironment's EVSE? The SAE J1772 connector is standard and the SAE 2847 communications standard is not complete. It appears all the EVSE does is light some LEDs, provide a standard GFI and in the future will provide an optional PLC ( Power Line Modem) or wireless modem so the Leaf charger can talk with the yet to be deployed smart grid.

Can I just get my Leaf with the level 1 and add the Level 2 later when the SAE 2847 is really operational?

Could I get an explanation of the whole EVSE situation? My dealer is trying to find out?

Since only the 220V pins which are really just the two 120V legs to earth are standard and the Leaf does the charging, why is the reason Nissan says its about compatibility and I would have to prove that if I wanted to use another EVSE? I'm confused as to why this is being made complex? Or is it simple and I just spoke with the wrong people?

thanks for any help!

Tom
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Bicster
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Re: Level 2 Charger Confusion

Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:52 pm

You could buy the EVSE and get your electrician to install it, except you can't get one yet, at least not for less than AV's price.

Having AV install one will not affect the tax credit. How could it? FUD.

Also Nissan will probably require you to sign a waiver acknowledging that your non-AV EVSE (if you can find one) might not work with the Leaf.
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sjfotos
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Re: Level 2 Charger Confusion

Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:03 pm

Bicster wrote:You could buy the EVSE and get your electrician to install it, except you can't get one yet, at least not for less than AV's price.

Having AV install one will not affect the tax credit. How could it? FUD.

Also Nissan will probably require you to sign a waiver acknowledging that your non-AV EVSE (if you can find one) might not work with the Leaf.



Could the Coulomb unit be used? It just passed the Leaf compatibility tests, but they don't talk about price....anyway, these are all great questions and the good thing is we have a few months to sort them out!
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Re: Level 2 Charger Confusion

Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:06 pm

The Coulomb unit that passed is a public charging station, not a residential EVSE. CT2100 datasheet

Dirt cheap EVSEs will come but it will take a few years. As the OP pointed out, they are very simple devices.

We don't yet know if the estimated $2200 install price is an average or a minimum. I suspect it's an expected average. We'll know in a little over a week. Keep in mind that the EVSE will not likely make up the bulk of the install cost.
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pgrovetom
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Re: Level 2 Charger Confusion

Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:12 pm

I have been told by Nissan that ONLY the Aerovironment EVSE may be used and received an email saying "I must provide proof of compatibility of any other EVSE".

That seems to force everyone to either use the Level 1 120V slow charging or pay for the AeroVironment at whatever price they demand. Aerovironment told me I could only receive the federal tax credit if I used them. Seemed very odd. They claimed safety but everyone would use the SAE J1772 connector and only the communication is left. The SAE 2487 communication is not as yet defined since the Smart Grid is not yet deployed. AV provides a card that allows some future upgrade depending on how the Smart Grid communication protocol goes. Other than that, they light some LEDs. So that only leaves the GFI circuits which have been used for years.

Remember the Level 2 is just 220V which is just two 120V legs to earth so from an earth to conductor point of view, there is no safety difference. Its almost impossible to put your body across that SAE J1772 connector to get 220V so from a safety point of view, Level 2 EVSE's are only marginally more dangerous than Level 1 and every 120V chord and outlet in your home represents a greater hazard. So what's the safety issue? What's the compatibility issue since the Comm channel is TBD?

So any EVSE can provide physical layer compatibility with the 220V through connection and GFIs.

At the upper layers, the common channel is up for grabs even though a PLC or Power Line Modem at level 1 makes most sense to get back to the meter. If they want to get to the homes internet connection, they better think that one through carefully. I see just about every communication protocol is being considered - just like everywhere else from Zigbee, to Bluetooth to PLC to WiFi.

Something is wrong!


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Re: Level 2 Charger Confusion

Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:22 pm

Yes, it's a simple spec and you could build your own EVSE without much trouble if you could get the connectors and knew what you were doing.

Nissan is just covering their ass. Their position on this will change once they have more experience and once other retail EVSE's are available. Right now, there are none. AV is the only game in town.
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mitch672
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Re: Level 2 Charger Confusion

Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:26 pm

I think it's more the fact that AV has been spending a lot of money on marketing, and developing a relationship with Nissan, so they EXPECT a payoff. In reality, as soon as the "chinese" EVSE's hit the market, for those of us with some electrical knowledge and their own good electrician, the jig is up for AV.
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evnow
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Re: Level 2 Charger Confusion

Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:49 pm

If you can find a UL certified EVSE that can pass the inspection after installation at home, you should be fine. Otherwise you will may have problems not only trying to get the tax credit - but also home insurance.

Ofcourse with tax credit & insurance you may get into trouble only if there is an audit or a fire.

I suggest a call to all known EVSE vendors - AV, Ecotality & Coulomb to find out if they will sell the EVSE and at what cost. My feeling is they will not sell the EVSE directly, since anyway it is supposed to be installed by a certified electrician. They will probably have some certified trained electricians in every city and they will sell the EVSE only through them. Thus, they will all end up costing the same.

Call this the early adopter fee.
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mitch672
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Re: Level 2 Charger Confusion

Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:05 pm

evnow wrote:If you can find a UL certified EVSE that can pass the inspection after installation at home, you should be fine. Otherwise you will may have problems not only trying to get the tax credit - but also home insurance.

Ofcourse with tax credit & insurance you may get into trouble only if there is an audit or a fire.

I suggest a call to all known EVSE vendors - AV, Ecotality & Coulomb to find out if they will sell the EVSE and at what cost. My feeling is they will not sell the EVSE directly, since anyway it is supposed to be installed by a certified electrician. They will probably have some certified trained electricians in every city and they will sell the EVSE only through them. Thus, they will all end up costing the same.

Call this the early adopter fee.


Probably all true, but by the time the Leaf is available in "other" areas (none 5 EV Project states), the chinese EVSE's will already be flooding eBay. 2nd Half of 2011 is what we are hearing for Leaf availability in Massachusetts.

We can only hope the EVSE credit is extended into 2011 and beyond.

also, I have an "ACE in the hole", my electrician is a friend of mine, I sent him to the AV link for "electricians"' to sign up for the EVSE installer program, so maybe he will become an AV installer, and then might have access to AV EVSE's,...
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evnow
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Re: Level 2 Charger Confusion

Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:37 pm

mitch672 wrote:Probably all true, but by the time the Leaf is available in "other" areas (none 5 EV Project states), the chinese EVSE's will already be flooding eBay.


Even then - if it is not UL certified - you won't really be able to use it without peace of mind (or for that matter use it at all - if you can't get local permit).

also, I have an "ACE in the hole", my electrician is a friend of mine, I sent him to the AV link for "electricians"' to sign up for the EVSE installer program, so maybe he will become an AV installer, and then might have access to AV EVSE's,...


Yes, that would be one way to get better rate as well. May be he can find out the price as well. I think they will sell the EVSE for about $1K.
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