High Power Wall Connector Install Cost?

High Power Wall Connector Install Cost?

I take delivery of my new model S in about 2-3 weeks! Tomorrow I have an electrician (recommended by Solar City since they do not service the Seattle area) coming out to give me a quote and possibly install my HPWC that I received today. I'm wondering what people have paid to have this install done, so that I can decide whether I should get another quote on the install once I hear their price. Thanks in advance. Much appreciated.

Mark Z | June 13, 2013

Costs will vary depending on the length of the electrical run. Smaller gauge wire costs more. My electrician used the recommended 3 gauge wire. He said he would use 2 gauge to the cutoff switch next time! A 100 amp installation will be more expensive than a 60 amp install, due to the cutoff switch needed. Try to get the costs divided into labor and materials. It will be easier to compare electricians. Don't forget the cost of the electrical permit and have the city inspector check the final install.

Here in Southern California the local utility is called to inform them of obtaining an EV. They check the transformer and wiring statistics to see if upgrades are needed. If a second meter is installed for a lower electric rate, that requires more work and time. Once you enjoy driving your Model S, the expense of just what you need to charge your vehicle will be worth every penny. Enjoy the drive and the benefit of the HPWC.

jbunn | June 13, 2013

No offense, but can we kill these threads? How much it osts depends on dozens of factors. Better to discuss these on the state by state forums.

welockett | June 14, 2013

I am in the Seattle area and had my HPWC installed first week of April. They used #2 romex and the charger is about 15 ft from my panel. The quoted cost for that install was $600.00. My house was built in 1972 and the original panel didn't have a main breaker, so I opted to have a new panel installed with a whole house surge protector as well. That pushed the price up considerably.

r0bertk1em | June 14, 2013

Thanks welockett. Should give me a good ball park target. My charger will also be about 10-15 feet from the panel. Newer house built in 2009, so I imagine our breaker panel should be fine.

Gas_Passer | June 14, 2013

I had Solar City install my outlet in Bellevue. Cost $500, but the electricians who put in the electricity in my house when it was built in 2008 wanted $750. Very happy with Solar City.

r0bertk1em | June 14, 2013

Interesting that Solar City would come to Bellevue. I am in Edmonds, and they told me they don't service the area. Was that $500 for an outlet, or did you have a HPWC installed as well?

Reilly McHugh | June 14, 2013

I live in Seattle...was quoted $425 to install a nema directly below box in garage and $625 to have it 15ft from box...found another electrician that quoted me $200 for directly under the box. I recommended not telling them its for a tesla...when I said I was putting a dryer in my garage is when I got the $200 quote :)

Paul Koning | June 14, 2013

Mark Z: Cutoff switch? Do you mean the circuit breaker? You need a breaker no matter what; for example, a 14-50 outlet for the mobile charger cord also needs to be on a dedicated circuit. Or did you mean some other cutoff switch? If so, why? I remember an explicit statement that no disconnect switch or GFCI is needed.

On the original question: the two main contributions to cost will be the cost of copper (the wires) and the labor. If you can do the work yourself, the wire will probably easily be 75% of the total. The same sort of thing applies even for the 14-50 (50 amp) setup -- I did that the other day, and as I recall the wire amounted to half the materials cost.

AmpedRealtor | June 14, 2013

I was quoted approximately $3,000 for the HPWC connection because I would need to upgrade from a 200A service panel to a 400A service panel. Adding a 50A NEMA 14-50 outlet will cost only $300. I'm going with the NEMA initially, as that is the lowest cost option. I've been told by Solar City and even folks at Tesla that an HPWC is totally unnecessary and tremendous overkill for the vast majority of Model S drivers. In my case, not having taken delivery of the car, I don't really know what I'm going to need. The NEMA 14-50 is the next fastest option to the HPWC, so can't go wrong trying that first.

My daily driving is approximately 100 miles per day, so the NEMA 14-50 should charge me back up in 3 hours.

Gas_Passer | June 14, 2013

@r0bertk1em: Just the 50A NEMA outlet. Initially told I would have to trench down to my basement fuse box and then back to my carport where the meter & cutoff switch are. But Solar City did some research and found that in WA, you can tee off the cutoff switch, install a fuse, and put the outlet there. Saved lots of time, money, and lawn. Passed inspection, too.

murraypetera | June 14, 2013

About $30 for parts if the wires are up and your labor. AWG #2 is a real pain to work with.

I did full install with run of about 40' first with 14-50 plug then upgrade to HPC.

Parts for wiring, etc. ~$400 from Homedepot

About a days labor.

Paul Koning | June 14, 2013

AmpedRealtor: that sounds strange. Unless you have a VERY large house with an incredible quantity of stuff in it, I can't imagine why you would need to upgrade your service above 200 amps merely because you're adding a 100 amp device. (I didn't know 400 amp service even exists...) I'd suggest asking for a second opinion.

jbunn | June 14, 2013

Like I said, meaningless. Prices from $30 to $3000. This question has already been asked dozens of times.

r0bertk1em | June 14, 2013

Thank you everyone. This is all very helpful. Electrician today also said that I would need to add a second panel to upgrade the house service above the current 200 amps if I wanted to add a 100 amp device, and possibly even if I only wanted to add a 60 amp device. They are going to do a load calculation for me and let me know the max amperage I could add to the current panel. We have a pretty new house, and panel, for about a 3000 sq foot house. Gas furnace, gas hot water heater, but electric oven, hot tub, lighting, dryer, and a few other misc items...enough to matter I guess. From what he was telling me, after doing about 2 dozen or so installs for Tesla vehicles, they are running into this issue fairly often, especially among older houses in the area.

And jbunn....if you find a thread meaningless, you can always choose to simply ignore it instead of repeatedly stating how meaningless you find it. Thanks.

AmpedRealtor | June 14, 2013

@ Paul Konig,

This is all rather Greek to me. Apparently my 200A panel was "de-rated to 175A" per my solar installer. It was my solar guy who told me that I needed to go to a larger panel in order to accommodate the load. However, my electrician (different guy) said no, we can still add a 100A circuit and that I would be unlikely to ever exceed 175A load at one time.

From my perspective, the hardware and labor to run a 100A connection vs. a 50A connection should be roughly comparable if I don't have to upgrade the panel or do any of that nonsense. So if I can go with 100A, I will spring for the HPWC. If all I can do is a 50A without circuits tripping, then that's what it will be. This definitely calls for a site visit! :)

justineet | June 14, 2013 the cost of the electrical work is meaningless to you then I think you are not only on the wrong board but also on the wrong site......dude maybe it's meaningless to you but not to the vast majority of EV owners...just chill out buddy!

David70 | June 14, 2013


I have a similar situation. How much extra did the panel and its installation cost?

r0bertk1em | June 14, 2013

@welockett, They are working on the load calculation this weekend, to see what will fit into the current board, but it looks like the cost for a second new 200 amp board (which also requires a larger meter on the outside), would start at about $3000 vs $600-$800 to install into the current board. I'll know more Sunday or Monday.

michael1800 | June 14, 2013

What Jbunn is saying is that a HPWC install can vary greatly (300-3000 is conservative IMHO) and there are a lot of dynamic factors to consider, including the area you live in (local building codes and local labor). We've discussed all these factors countless times and sometimes it's hard to remember not everyone has read the 'hpwc install cost' posts countless times. Volkerize can help with varies install costs.

My contribution is this: the best way to figure out a good ballpark figure is to solicit estimates from 3 different electricians/companies. Let each guy know upfront that you are getting 3 estimates after they arrive (but be nice, not combative since most provide you with valuable estimates for free).

jbunn | June 14, 2013

Thank you Michael. That's exactly what I mean. The COST is not meaningless. The question does not come with enough information to be solvable with any degree of useful precision.

If the question were "For an HPWC with a run of X feet from the service panel in metallic conduit, what gauge wire do I need? What type wire? What gauge conduit?" we could give definitive answers to all of those questions quickly.

To add to the advice Michael gave, I would also note that electricians prefer to work in a service area, so you want to shop locally. If you can find someone within 20 miles, he's in a position to give you a better price. He'll come once to give you the estimate, and back again to do the work. He may need to be there a final time for the inspection. If you're too far he may still do the work, but charge you a transit fee just to show up. It's for this reason I suggest the local boards on this site. (One question asked was "does anyone know an electrician in the bay area?" The problem is the greater bay area takes up to three hours to drive from one end to the other. So the question becomes meaningless without more information.)

Also, if you can, do as much prework as possible. For example, if you can clear the areas around where he'll be working so it's clean, safe, and well lit, you'll be in a position to get a better price.

I hate to say it, but cash rules as well. I suspect it goes unreported, but at estimate time you might ask casually if they prefer cash. They may have a preference.

Under other things I hate to say, if you really want three bids, you may need to make more calls than that. I hate to disparage my fellow tradesmen, but not everyone you contact will bother to come out and give you an estimate. I've seen that number as low as 30% response. If they are busy, or your project small, it's really not worth their time to be part of an RFP, particularly if they think you are going with the lowest bidder anyway. Having worked in most of the trades I have a rough idea of the cost, so I've often handed the bid to the first person to submit if he's in the ball park. One rule of thumb some people apply is to add up the cost of the parts, and double it, then some allowance for travel time and permits. Usually the total bill is half parts cost and half labor assuming you're not trenching, core drilling through concrete, or working in a confined space like a crawl space.

If you go the commercial route, make sure he's licensed and bonded in your state. Handymen can and do electrical work, but they are not licensed, so you'll either be going without a permit, or he'll ask you to file for the permit and inspection. In the states I'm familiar with, homeowners of residential property can apply for their own permit. Assuming you understand code and do tidy work, you should be fine.

Finally, stores like Home Depot occasionally have ex-tradesmen that you'll run into. Chat them up, and they can tell you everything you need to complete the project yourself should you be inclined. Or perhaps you have an experienced friend or feel comfortable reading a book. A project like this is NOT beyond the average person's ability, but you do want to be very careful. 240 volts can kill you rather dead. It is possible to work safely if you are careful however.

irishstoutaz | June 18, 2013

@AmpedRealtor.... We have a 200 amp panel and were able to connect a 100 amp subpanel in our garage with the HPWC connected to it without any issue. *That being said it does depend on what you currently have connected but would finid it difficult that you would be using more than 40 or 50 amps at any given time. Keep in mind that the HPWC also limits itself to 80 amps even though you are connected to a 100 amp circuit. We also live in AZ and can let you know who did ours (they did a great job and no complaints).

justineet | June 18, 2013 follow up is much better answer than this thread is "meaningless"......:))

togliat | November 16, 2013

I found this thread very helpful. I read the various posts and various set ups and simply plugged in the data into my scenario to gain a better understanding of potential (ball park) figures. Thanks to those of you who took the time to document your set up and costs for us n00bs who want to have some idea before contacting certified electricians for estimates, etc.