Electric Car Chargers To Cost $1,000 This Year


Domestic electric car chargers should soon cost $1,000 as the big boys like Siemens, GE and Eaton get in on the act.

GE’s product called WattStation comes out in the summer. Sometime this year the ‘Siemens Charge’ is due.


The US government has put up $2.4 billion to develop an electric car industry and the China government has put up $15 billion.


Pike Research says the world market for chargers was only $69 million last year but will top $1 billion in a couple of years.


Incentivising electric car buyers are: GE’s plans to install 35,000 WattStations in the US; a US government subsidy of $7,500 per car; a further Californian subsidy of $5,000 per car.


Disincentives are: electric cars cost twice the equivalent petrol car; take eight hours to charge and have limited speeds and ranges.


Electric car models available for sale include Th!nk City, Nissan Leaf, REVAi, Mitsubishi iMiEV, Buddy, and the Tesla Roadster.


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  1. I have half a dozen heavy duty bridge rectifier diodes ready to make a single phase mains AC to 480 Volt DC unregulated converter. The limiting factor which stops me from making that into a 3kW recharge point is that the electric car manufacturers do not reply to a request for a specification which asked
    – what plugs or sockets does it need ?
    – what DC voltage is acceptable – 240V +-15% or 320 V or 480V or other?
    – does it need a ‘ready’ message from the onboard battery controller in the car and does this differ from the grounded pin of a 5V camera Li-ion battery?
    I have developed a cynical presumption that the $1000 dollar charger differs from the $50 charger mainly in it having some sort of proprietary code to convey permission to recharge. With us being only a few years of updates creep from a world in which you pay a corporation $40 for the permission code to load a battery with $5 worth of electricity, I think it more urgent than ever for skilled enthusiasts to get a creative-commons electrics design out, but I chickened out of releasing one myself.
    — written from home on solar power —

  2. Rupert,
    Do you consider MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) solar charge controllers as being way behind the times? What about micro-inverters?
    I would expect the price of street chargers to include the invariably excessive cost of installation on public roads.
    Simon W

  3. I wondered why electric car chargers cost so much – after all, they’re not rocket science. Only it seems that they are. A bit of digging shows that the state of the art in domestic high-current charging circuits is ancient indeed; the biggest market for such things has been in UPSs, where design hasn’t changed for twenty years or so.
    Same problem with the PV market, where chargers/converters/inverters to manage the output of solar cells are way behind the times – and expensive enough to be the limiting factor in plenty of cases.
    Looks to me as if there’s an opportunity for some inventive, fast-moving young company to do some proper R&D and come up with the definitive product.

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