TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Charging Station Installation

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by Vibmeh, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Vibmeh

    Vibmeh New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Illinois
    Hi folks, I just ordered my Model S (85 non-performance) and am extremely excited to get ride of my gas guzzler. As I am waiting for the car to be built I was looking at getting the charging station installed (NEMA 14-50 with 50amp) at my place. I called the SolarCity recommended electrician to give me a estimate and I also called my local electrician (he has done a lot of good work in my area and came recommended). They both came onsite and looked at exactly the same information (at different times) and gave me a written estimate. To my surprise the SolarCity partner's estimate was more than double. So I asked the guy why so high and he said cause this is a Tesla package that has minimum charge and then his labor and additional work. My local electrician can run the same cables and install the Nema 14-50 receptacle without a problem.
    So my question is am I missing something here. Is there something special that the SolarCity preferred partner will install for me that I will not get if I go with my local electrician. Does anyone else have similar experience? Did anyone go with a local electrician instead of the SolarCity preferred electrician? I am located in the Chicagoland.

    Thanks
     
  2. youlikeadajuice

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    365
    Location:
    Bloomingdale, NJ
    I don't think the Solar City installer will do anything different from your local installer. A 14-50 is a pretty basic installation. I went with a local electrician to have mine installed, and everything is great! I think Tesla recommends Solar City in order to streamline the whole process for the customer, but it should be no different if you call someone else. Welcome to the forum, you're gonna love your Model S!
     
  3. tpoltron

    tpoltron Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2013
    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    Palo Alto, CA
    We had solar panels installed on our house to charge our MS. Solar City was almost double the local guy. I think they are taking advantage of their premium reputation and relationship to Tesla a bit too much - their service was no where near as competent either. The panels are working great.
     
  4. HHHH

    HHHH Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Henderson, NV
    Same thing happened to me.
     
  5. kendallpb

    kendallpb Model S: P 8061

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,185
    Location:
    MD, USA
    Weird. I'm in a different part of the country, and while I did not get two quotes, the original Solar City quote I got for installing a HPWC went down twice. They didn't even mention the second reduction. It started at $1050, then we talked on the phone and it turned out (despite what I'd told them) that they'd been quoting a wacky "go outside the house to hide the power run" (my panel and the garage are on opposite sides of the house), so they lowered it to $800. But the final price was $500--over half the original quote, and substantially less than the $800 quote--and I'm not sure why. I'd expected it to be in the $600-800 range, from what they'd told me.

    Any two contractors will give different quotes; I wonder if either Solar City planned an insanely long cable run and didn't mention it (like for me) for aesthetic reasons, or if they just over-estimate up front as a matter of course. The SC guy's explanation to you makes no sense (literally; I don't understand what he means) at all. So I'd say ask SC for more details so you can compare the cable run; if their plan was like the original one for me...well, distance is a big factor on cost, so that may explain some of the difference.

    Otherwise, just go with the other, lower quote since it's so wildly different, if you trust the other electrician. :)
     
  6. evmile

    evmile Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    San Jose
    My experience with Nissan recommending Aerovironment and Tesla recommending Solar City were similar. Both were twice what a local electrician would do it for so I think there is a lot of markup for pretty much nothing. Especially since the Solar City subcontracted to the same person who did my J1772 for the LEAF but they wanted twice as much money.
     
  7. steve841

    steve841 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    1,397
    Location:
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    A certain CEO has a financial interest in Solar City...

    You can figure out the rest...
     
  8. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    4,883
    Location:
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    I was a little upset after finalizing last year in November. I got a call from Solar City asking if I needed solar or charging station or plug installation. I had already done my own, and clearly indicated that I did not need those services and did not request a call from Solar City. Apparently Tesla shared my information with them anyway!
     
  9. HHHH

    HHHH Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2013
    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Henderson, NV
    I didn't even get a call. I had to call them. They said they would get back to me the same day but didn't so I got a few other quotes. Long story short, they farmed me out to someone else who said she would email me a quote but never even took down my email address.

    Needless to say, I went with a local installer who has done several of these HPWC's for other Tesla owner's in Vegas.
     
  10. Luder94

    Luder94 Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Messages:
    170
    Location:
    Algonquin
    Vibmeh,

    I'm in Chicagoland as well, up north in Algonquin. I used a guy based out of West Chicago and if you're interested, I can share his info to you in case you want another estimate. I'm really happy with his work.

    Just private message me if you're interested.


     
  11. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2013
    Messages:
    4,688
    Location:
    Buckeye, AZ
    Solar City via Mr. Electric quoted me $5,000 for installation of an HPWC that my local solar installer said would cost no more than $350.

    Solar City: "You need a higher capacity panel, you are maxed out on load".
    AZ Solar Concepts: "Nonsense, your panel is just fine. Just don't turn everything on in your house at once and charge at 80 A. If you need to run both ACs, heat or cool your pool, bake a turkey, run all four induction cooktop burners, turn on every lightbulb in the house and charge your vehicle, then just dial down your car charger to 50A".

    Solar City: "You need surge suppressors on both sides of your electrical connection per Tesla specifications".
    AZ Solar Concepts: "No... clearly read the installation instructions several times and there is no such requirement".

    After I told Solar City that I was not interested at their price, I was told "okay, but don't get mad if your house catches on fire or if you damage your expensive new vehicle". Perhaps Solar City has to do their quotes a certain way, but my solar guys seem to be more interested in saving me money and giving me ways to work around my limitations. I think it was a punk move on Solar City's part to try to scare me at the end.
     
  12. Pollux

    Pollux Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    Merry land / District of Confusion
    Hi, @AmpedRealtor,

    From my particular background (engineering), I tend to run conservative on planning electrical loads. I don't like to instruct members of my family as to combinations they can turn on at the same time. I don't like to permit user error to potentially escalate into something bad. So I'd take a look at the total power budget of the house, add in the budget for the car, assume that everything is on simultaneously, and make sure that total is 80% or less of the line power coming into the house. A lot of engineering is done this way, making sure that conservative margins are built in. And typically the electrical code is constructed by people with a conservative outlook.

    I have no idea whether you really needed $5K of work to install that HWPC. But it's not at all obvious to me that the approach you outline from AZ Solar Concepts would conform to your local electrical code, satisfy permit requirements and, worse, ultimately be the safest thing for you. Just because the cabling out to your car is solid doesn't mean that you can't cause a problem somewhere else in the house.

    I don't agree with the Solar City representative's scare tactics that you quote, but I very much would advocate installing any HPWC fully conforming to code and permit requirements. It's a lot of amperage to leave running around unsupervised. :)

    Alan

    P.S. I'm having the local power company install a new transformer and double my house service from 200A to 400A so that I can accommodate a Model S today and possibly a second electric vehicle in the future. No $350 installation for me. :)

    P.P.S. Thank you very much for your summary of finance options & contact information in another thread. Very helpful!
     
  13. PhilBa

    PhilBa Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2013
    Messages:
    1,355
    Location:
    Seattle
    @pollux, while I also have a pretty conservative nature when it comes to this sort of thing, I think the right calculation is to be realistic about loads. Worst case isn't always going to be everything on at full draw - no one heats and cools at the same time, for example. Heating equipment has a duty cycle that means it won't be a continuous load. Motors have a start up surge and run a lower continuous load. A good electrician can do a pretty good analysis. It sounds like the Solar City guy did a "scare em so they'll pay" analysis.

    On surge supressors. When are those called for, if ever?

    On installing an HPWC or two. Do you really need the full 80A charging? I got an HPWC and have it set up on an 80A breaker which means 64A charging. I really could have gotten by with a 50A circuit and 40A charging (i.e. a NEMA 14-50 and skipped the HPWC). I like having faster charging but it was a significant expense that I really didn't need.
     
  14. Aardvark

    Aardvark Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    South Florida
    "Mr. Electric" called me (who gave them my phone number) and told me that they were ready to install my HPWC.

    After a few moments of being stunned, I asked for a price quote for the install, and for a regular 240 install. YIKES!

    I called three reputable electrical contractors, and all three came in at one-third the price.

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
     
  15. Galve2000

    Galve2000 Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Messages:
    373
    Location:
    NYC
    How much is your local power company charging to provide the second pannel/transformer for the additional 200 amps service? (if you don't mind me asking) -- in a perfect world I would do the same at my summer home but I have 400 amps coming in already so i figure I'll scrape together 80 amps at some point when the twin chargers need them..
     
  16. Pollux

    Pollux Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Messages:
    948
    Location:
    Merry land / District of Confusion
    Hi, @PhilBa, I understand your points and accept that that approach can work. As for full 80A charging... No, it's not a requirement. I just like the potential flexibility. I can return home from a late, wild night with one of my many mistresses and still have the car fully charged for my wife to go out to work at the crack of dawn.

    - - - Updated - - -

    @Galve2000, please send me a private message so that I'll remember to let you know once I have a price in hand. At the moment, I'm letting the electrician handle everything.
     

Share This Page