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Installing Wall charger estimates

Hey all, I recently got an estimate to have the wall charger hooked up in my garage. The system needs to be upgraded by another 50 Amps and I got quoted what feels like a ridiculously high price. Was wondering if anyone has had a good experience with this and with what company. I'd like to know if these folks are trying to take advantage of me and if so, be pointed towards a good company to take care of things.

Do you mean an additional or larger panel needs to be installed?

are you just talking about the installation of a 240 outlet? if that's all s/b less than $300. There is a string on this elsewhere.

not just the outlet, but feeding another line through the main box and adding a 50 amp circuit to the system. I wouldn't imagine it'd be more than a $700 job, but the first estimate i got was 4 times that

You need a 100 amp circuit to use the wall HPWC properly. A 50 amp RV circuit would take car of your home charging needs unless you want to be able to recharge quickly.

It all depends on what size service you have and what else you are using from the service. Most modern homes built in the last 30 years have 200 amp service. A lot used electric heat that has been upgraded to gas so there can be excess capacity in your box. If that were the case, the solution is simple -- just put in a 100 amp breaker (or 50 if you don't use a HPWC) and you are good to go. $200 or $300 should cover that.

Another problem might be that your box is full and there is no room for additional breakers. In that case you could see if you could replace a couple of "fat" breakers with slims thereby making room for the new breaker for your new circuit. That would also be fairly cheap.

If your service is not 200 amp or you have a lot of heavy loads like electric heat; large air conditioning; or irrigation pumps you could upgrade to a larger service. That can be expensive.

Another option would be to just add a dedicated service for running the car and that would include a separate meter. The advantage to that is that you can probably put it anywhere. You could also put in a couple of NEMA 14-50's so that other EV visitors could charge while they are there. That can be done without much expense. In fact Home Depot can sell you a "temporary service" that you can install like they use on construction sites for less than $500. You just need a permit and a little advice from the "helpful hardware people".

I wanted to give an update to how this whole thing ended. I just had the my electrical system upgraded and HPWC installed. The initial estimate to have this done was ~ $2800. When I submitted my order, I agreed to have SolarCity aid in the installation. However, they were not available in our area and instead used a company that they handed the work off to. These are the people that quoted an estimate of nearly $3,000, for a job that ended up costing only ~ $400. After the initial quote, I visited the Tesla store in the Bellevue Square Mall and when I asked them if they could recommend any electricians, they pointed my way towards Neighborhood Electric. These folks were timely, efficient, kind, and got everything working without issue. I give my thanks to both them and the folks at the Tesla store for helping me out with this and hope that the powers that be might look into some of these side companies' business practices.

Just thought you all should know in case you happen to experience a similar situation. Hope this helps

Wow! That's quite a difference! I wonder if that was their "Tesla" markup? Ridiculous! Glad to hear it worked out!

Cheers!

I suspect that the difference has more to do with how big the electrician perceives the job to be. Obviously all you want is your HPWC installed. That always involves running wires to the location where you want the unit to operate from. The first variable is the distance from the energy source and that tells the contractor how much wire and conduit he needs. The location also may be easy or difficult to get to depending on the conditions and minor variations in the location could avoid extra costs.

There is also a question of whether your main box can supply the additional power. Most modern homes have at least 200 amp service so that there is no question that the power is available. However, if your main box is "full" it might appear that the job will involve adding another sub panel. That can be very expensive. However, usually the existing panel can be reconfigured using a few "slim" breakers that will allow enough extra room to install the two extra breakers that are needed to control the new circuit that will operate the new HPWC. That issue is subject to the electrician's skill in design.

Another question regarding the main supply is whether there is enough capacity to supply the new unit. This question is not answered by simply adding up the number of amps that each circuit is capable of delivering because it is unlikely that all circuits will be operating at capacity at one time. Instead there are formulas that can be applied based on the type of loads that the service is supplying. This calculation is also subjective and can vary. The HPWC is an especially variable load and your projected use should be considered in this calculation.

There is also an issue of whether the HPWC requires a separate cut off switch. A 100 amp cut off switch can be very expensive besides requiring extra labor to install. This requirement is partially dependent on local codes but in most cases the breakers in the main box will suffice as the kill switch. Again, each electrician may see a different requirement and corresponding costs.

Finally, if the price you are quoted seems too high you can ask the contractor to refigure the job using a lower supply load to the HPWC. It is capable of operating at lower amperage and contains dip switches that can be set for amperage lower than 100. If you reduce the load, you can use smaller (and cheaper) wire; demand less power from the main and those changes may make the job a lot cheaper. You just have to ask.

"Finally, if the price you are quoted seems too high you can ask the contractor to refigure the job using a lower supply load to the HPWC. It is capable of operating at lower amperage and contains dip switches that can be set for amperage lower than 100. If you reduce the load, you can use smaller (and cheaper) wire; demand less power from the main and those changes may make the job a lot cheaper. You just have to ask."

Sorry just because you can operate the charger at 50 amps does not mean you can use smaller wire.

It still must be a 100 amp circuit because the charger is rated for 100 amps,if someone came along and changed the dip switches you will overload the wire and start a fire.

mitchell.shon | JUNE 25, 2013
I wanted to give an update to how this whole thing ended. I just had the my electrical system upgraded and HPWC installed. The initial estimate to have this done was ~ $2800. When I submitted my order, I agreed to have SolarCity aid in the installation. However, they were not available in our area and instead used a company that they handed the work off to. These are the people that quoted an estimate of nearly $3,000, for a job that ended up costing only ~ $400. After the initial quote, I visited the Tesla store in the Bellevue Square Mall and when I asked them if they could recommend any electricians, they pointed my way towards Neighborhood Electric. These folks were timely, efficient, kind, and got everything working without issue. I give my thanks to both them and the folks at the Tesla store for helping me out with this and hope that the powers that be might look into some of these side companies' business practices.

Just thought you all should know in case you happen to experience a similar situation. Hope this helps

Sounds like you got a good deal,but was the job inspected by your city's electrical inspector? Was there even a permit pulled for this job?

Did they supply any of the material used on this job?

For $400 did they send out a seasoned journeyman electrician or a someone who has very little experience doing electrical work?

For $400 I would be very worried about their electrical work and you should have your city's electrical inspector look at the work that they did.

Just because it works does not mean it's safe.


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