AC Level 2 Installation

AC Level 2 Installation

Looking into options for installation of the AC Level 2 charger. I'm wondering if anyone has gone through the process? Any suggestions.

I'm currently in northern california. Curious as to which electricians you recommend and what you think of the whole solar city debacle.

thanks in advance.

DouglasR | October 21, 2012

What is the Solar City debacle?

rwang | October 21, 2012

have heard many folks complain about the young and inexperienced staff, the lack of detailed project plans, rush to sign contracts w/o gathering site details or conducting site visits.

BYT | October 21, 2012

I used SolarCity and they were fine. They ask for information and pictures of the site upfront and even then it's just an estimate. If they come out to do the work and the estimate is higher, you can cancel and lose nothing.

DouglasR | October 21, 2012

Well, I've signed a contract with them. So far it's been fine. They got all the relevant site details, and their estimate was slightly less than that of an electrician who came out to the site (and whom I've used before). They were quite responsive, which is one reason I chose them. On the other hand, they haven't started the project yet, so I can't say how they will do. I will report back when the job is completed.

rwang | October 21, 2012

Thanks. I'll start that process and report back as well.

Mtlord | October 22, 2012

@DouglasR or @BYT: do you mind sharing what Solar City quoted you? And are you actually getting a second PG&E meter, or just coming off of your main panel with the same meter?

I'm looking at getting a quote from Solar City, since they are already going to be putting in solar panels in a couple months. But I'm wondering if an electrician would be cheaper.

BYT | October 22, 2012

$450, easy install, had room on my panel, just a quick run and they have yet to bill me. Someone else has to come out and inspect if first.

gMS | October 22, 2012

SolarCity did an outstanding job at reasonable cost. Highly recommend!

DouglasR | October 22, 2012


$1460. I have to go about 70 linear feet from the main panel to a detached garage, including tunneling under a concrete walkway.

Mtlord | October 22, 2012

@BYT, @DouglasR--thanks.

My estimate from Solar City is $950 for a NEMA 14-50, because of the distance. The Solar City base charge is $450, if you are very near the panel. My quote includes an extra charge they put on for running through attics or crawl space (on top of the additional distance charge). However: I'm installing this in my driveway, outside. I'd assumed that I could put a NEMA 14-50 plug in some kind of weatherproof box; they are checking into that. Has anyone else done this?

I may end up with the high power wall connector, since this works outdoors. We'll see what the final quote on that looks like.

DouglasR | October 22, 2012


I also have to go under a back deck (like a crawl space) and end with a NEMA 14-50 outlet in the garage. My local electrician, whom I've used before, quoted me $1600 after coming out to look at the site.

Aleksandyr | October 22, 2012

m quote was $3100 from solar city. I have to get an upgraded box, no room. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed it was so high when I am getting the high power wall connector on top of it.

gimp_dad | October 22, 2012

Mine was about $1500 from Solar City. I have over 100 linear feet, most of it under the house. This is for 100A install for HPWC (which I don't have yet). They initially connected a 6-50 outlet and have to do the upgrade on Tesla's dime when the HPWC finally comes in.

I have an electrician I have used a number of times before and he quoted $4560 for the same work.

I did not have upgrade my panel as I had enough left on my 400A service to cover this addition.

Mostly they did fine and seemed more aware of exactly how to do charger installs which made me feel more confident that they were not going to have surprises. However, I will say that the first electrician that came out had one issue and ultimately needed a more senior electrician to come out and finish. They were pretty prompt with the second visit and everyone worked fine (have been using it for the last 2.5 months without any trouble).

I also feel peace of mind they will know exactly what to do when the HPWC comes in.

Mtlord | October 22, 2012

Can Solar City sell the HPWC directly, or do you have to but that from Tesla? I got my quote tonight from SC for the HPWC install, and my sales guy is claiming it includes the HPWC itself, but the price looks too low, so I think he's confused.

Vawlkus | October 23, 2012

HPWC _should_ only be available from Tesla since they're building them, BUT, since SC is building the super charger stations, they may be authorized sellers.

ReeceWeb | October 23, 2012

@Mtlord "I'm installing this in my driveway, outside. I'd assumed that I could put a NEMA 14-50 plug in some kind of weatherproof box; they are checking into that. Has anyone else done this?"

I installed a Connecticut Electric CESMPS54HR exterior NEMA 14-50R box/outlet, and it seems very well made. It has room to close over a normal right-angle plug, but not Tesla's charger plug which is several inches too deep. In my installation the box is protected from vertical rain by an overhang, and the branch is on a GFCI.

gimp_dad | October 23, 2012

@Mtlord I don't know if it has changed but my HPWC is definitely being handled by Tesla, not SolarCity. SC is just doing the install. The sales interface for the actual device is Tesla.

Slindell | October 23, 2012

Aleksandyrm, I had the same problem. My house/power panel are over 45 years old, and the cost of replacing the panel put total cost over $3000.

But Solar City throws in a new power panel if you buy a solar system. So I did.

DouglasR | October 23, 2012


The HPWCs and the superchargers are totally different animals. The HWPC is AC, and uses the car's built-in charger(s), while the supercharger is DC, and bypasses the car's built-in charger(s).

mrcool1122 | October 23, 2012

SolarCity talked me into getting solar panels along with the car charger. It was way cheaper than I expected.

DouglasR | October 23, 2012

And they talked me OUT of getting solar panels, which was pretty professional.

Vawlkus | October 24, 2012

I know they're different Doug, but given the links between the two companies, I'm no longer sure about Tesla wanting to do charger sales when SC is in the business and already doing the supercharger stations. Conservation of resources, which would allow Tesla to focus more on the cars.

Brian H | October 24, 2012

Charger sales? AFAIK there has never been any indication whatsoever that's in the cards. What made you think it was?

Vawlkus | October 24, 2012

Because Tesla has up to now been selling their own chargers perhaps? I dunno Brian, it's a theory.

Since Tesla made their own standard for chargers, what else could they do but sell their own chargers? Now SC can do that along with the other work needed to install the chargers and make sure house circuits can handle it.

Beaker | October 24, 2012

Don't forget the C in HPWC is Connector not charger, the charger (or chargers if you bought 2) are in the car not on your wall.

DouglasR | October 24, 2012

I guess it's possible, Vawlkus, but then how would the customer get an HPWC if the installation were being done by someone other than Solar City? Either TM would sell it, in which case there would be no point in letting Solar City handle the sales, or Solar City would sell it, in which case they would need to open a retail product sales operation (which they don't now have). I think it's much more likely that the representative who spoke to Mtlord was confused.

Brian H | October 24, 2012

What? TM does not sell chargers. They implant them in cars and SuperCharge units. What are you talking about?

DouglasR | October 24, 2012

Brian, we're not talking about chargers. We are talking about wall connectors (HPWCs).

Brian H | October 24, 2012

Vawlkus: "Tesla wanting to do charger sales when SC is in the business "
Doesn't sound like wall connectors to me. Unless you use either word for either one whenever you want?

DFibRL8R | October 24, 2012

Any thoughts on installation of surge/lightning protector? Is that something "built in" the Model S? I'd hate to fry such a fine piece of engineering!

GeorgeA | October 24, 2012

Good question. I would be surprised if TM did not have that already built into the car to protect all those batteries.

Installation: I am installing the heavier 100amp wire 60 foot from panel to garage then stepping down last 6 feet to lighter 50amp wire down to NEMA 14-50 outlet. Why? Planning for future higher capacity batteries ie 170 kWh could likely require 100A circuit to charge in a reasonable time since I elected to get 50A supply now. Much cheaper to install main 100A wire run now than to tear out 60 feet of 50A wire later in attic or crawl space or if under concrete driveway and then have to replace it with 100A wire/pipe. In future, just replace 6 feet of stepdown 50A wire, replace 50A breaker with new 100A circuit breaker, and add a shutoff box for your 100A circuit.

DouglasR | October 24, 2012

Brian H,

So Vawlkus misspoke (I didn't). In context, it is clear we were both responding to Mtlord's comment that the Solar City rep told him that the cost of the HPWC is included in his bid. The question is whether Solar City is selling these devices or not. I suspect you intentionally misunderstood.

Brian H | October 25, 2012

Cars are natural Faraday Cages. The charge stays on the outside. Usually.

Volker.Berlin | October 25, 2012

Any thoughts on installation of surge/lightning protector? Is that something "built in" the Model S? I'd hate to fry such a fine piece of engineering! (DFibRL8R)