Ford EV Charger Tries To Stand Out

Introducing its new Ford Focus Electric at the Consumer Electronics Show, Ford trumpeted its plan to offer home charging stations through Best Buy stores for $1,499, including installation. Now we’re learning more about these Leviton charging stations and how they differ from some of the others on or coming to the market.

One of the advantages Ford is touting is the “non-permanent-style” installation. Note that the automaker didn’t use the term “portable.” The charging station can’t be casually hauled from home to office day to day; however, because the device plugs into a 240-volt outlet instead of being hard-wired into the electrical breaker box, you will be able to remove and replace it if, say, you move out of your house.

Ford Focus Electric charger, Leviton

image via Ford

Ford is also noting that the charging station is manufactured in the United States and the unit’s exterior housing is made out of up 60 percent post consumer recycled material.

Of course, what might be most appealing to users is that $1,499 price tag – around 30 percent less than what Nissan is asking for Leaf charging stations – and the speed that it delivers a charge: 3.5 hours for a full charge vs. about twice that for the Leaf. The charging station itself can’t really take the credit for that, however. It delivers electricity to the vehicle twice as fast, but is only able to do so because Ford built the Focus Electric with a 6.6 kilowatt (kW) onboard charger (that’s where the “charging” of the vehicle actually takes place).

The Leaf has an onboard charger rated at 3.3 kW, as indicated on the company’s website. There’s been desire by some for Nissan to go to a 6.6 kW charger with its 2012 models, but the company has yet to say what it will do.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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