Getting charged: Installing a ClipperCreek HCS-40 home charging station

After years of writing about the delights of EVs, I decided it was time to walk the walk. I bought a 2015 Nissan LEAF from Tampa Hybrids for 12 grand out the door. That was the first delight of going electric – the chance to buy an almost-new vehicle at a bargain price.

While it’s true that new EVs command a substantial premium over comparable legacy vehicles, when it comes to the used market, the reverse is true. A Prius (for example) of comparable age and mileage would have cost me at least 15 big ones. The gas savings are just gravy.

The second delight is of course the driving – once you’ve experienced the silky smooth handling and effortless acceleration of an EV, you’ll never go back to gas.

Fresh out of the box and ready to install

The third delight turned out to be the ease and low cost of installing a home charging station. After a few weeks of using a portable charger plugged into a dryer outlet, I decided to install a proper Level 2 home charger.

Car dealers may steer you toward an “OEM approved” charger and an “official installer,” and some may say you need a networked charger with a touchscreen and a bunch of fancy features, but there’s just no need for any of that. You can buy a simple Level 2 charger from any of a dozen manufacturers, and have it installed by any licensed electrician. Depending on your installation situation, the whole thing should cost you a grand or so.

I opted for a ClipperCreek HCS-40, which retails for $565. Fortunately there was room in my electrical service box for another 240-volt circuit, so my electrician buddy installed a new breaker, ran some conduit and hooked up the charger in less than two hours. Total installation cost: $200 for the electrician, and about $100 worth of wires and other parts (your mileage may vary).


I had to dig a short trench to run the conduit to the driveway

 

Installing the conduit
Fishing cable through the conduit

Hooking the charger up couldn’t be easier – I screwed it to the wall, my man mounted a junction box and connected two wires, and we were done!