Today, electric cars are too expensive for most of us, even with prices creeping downward. A Tesla Model S will run you over a grand a month, and even Ford's electric Focus sells for nearly $40,000. Making matters even tougher on the wallet is the fact that a home charging station will set you back as much as another $2,000. The auto industry knows all of these prices have to come down if electrics will catch on. And finally — on the home charger side of things anyway — something is being done about it. Bosch is taking online pre-orders for a $449 home car charger that is set to ship in June across the US and Canada.
The Bosch Power Max is a 240-volt, Level 2 home charger that starts at about half the price of its bigger brother, the Power Xpress, which is also a Level 2 charger. Level 2 chargers power up EVs at about double the speed of cheaper Level 1 units, which usually take about 8 hours or so to fully charge up most electric cars. Often times, Level 1 chargers are thrown in free with an EV, but even on the aftermarket, they sell for about $600 — notably more than the Power Max's starting price. Level 1 chargers plug directly into a power outlet, while Level 2 chargers require professional installation, much like a washer or dryer.
A Level 2 EV charger for less than a full-size iPad
At $449, the Power Max includes a 12-foot cable, and charges at a rate of 16 amps. There's also a $593 model that charges at 30 amps, with an 18-foot cable, and a $749 unit that charges at 30 amps and has a 25-foot cable. All three variations of the Power Max include a three-year warranty. Bosch is selling the Power Max as low as $449 because it believes that as EVs grow in popularity, most owners will charge them up at home, said Tanvir Afri, the president of Bosch's automotive service solutions team. The Power Max charge has been designed to work both indoors, and outdoors, and with any EV on the market, Bosch said.