My Year with an All-Electric MINI


Possible electrical upgrade cost issue

Posted in Uncategorized by Timothy Gill on March 25, 2009

My detached garage is 100+ feet from my house, and my electrician had quoted me $5,000 to bury a wire from my basement 240V panel to the garage.   As much as I’d like to drive a MINI E, that cost was too much on top of the lease payments.  So I suggested that we have the utility drop an above ground wire (like all connections to houses in my older neighborhood) directly to my garage—about 30 feet—and have them put in a 2nd meter.  My electrician said “Good idea!” and thought there would be no problems and no cost, in her experience, since the utility would always be happy to sell more power.  She  applied for the permit and submitted the required form to our utility.

A couple of days ago I got a call from the utility to confirm the details of the property and the work order, and to tell me that an engineer will be coming out within 2 weeks to inspect the site and “determine if a 2nd meter can be installed and what the cost will be.” When I asked for clarification, the guy on the phone was abrupt, but conveyed that it was not a given that it would be approved.

This is a disappointment.  It’s not over, but now I have doubts.

If I knew the tax credit was going to apply, I’d be in better shape.  But without knowing that, I can’t see paying the lease + $1800 + utility installation costs…

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4 Responses to 'Possible electrical upgrade cost issue'

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  1. robert said,

    Tim,
    Hope everything works with your Garage, have you tried contacting Clean Fuel Connection maybe they have experience on more ways to do this? It sounds like after the inspection they will take care of all the permits and extra work that needs to be done, assuming you’ll pay the bills 😦

    I dont expect any problems with my Garage, but I am thinking of having a 220v outlet added outside at my fiancee’s house (no Garage), so we can drive the MINI E when Im there, otherwise I’ll just slow charge it there and only use it to go back and forth.
    Robert

  2. Steve Schibuola said,

    Tim – don’t be discouraged just yet. I’m on the West Coast and it appears CFCI is doing the inspections and maybe the installs here first, so hopefully you’ll be the beneficiary of lessons learned by both CFCI and Mini.

    In my case, I’m facing a similar (though probably far less expensive) challenge. I just had the CFCI inspection – I’m okay with my basic panel etc. but I too face a long conduit run because though my garage is attached, it’s as far from my panel as possible. They need to go up through the attic. The CFCI rep didn’t really know if Mini would cover that part of the cost – they are just estimating each job and presenting to Mini, who will then take stock.

    So bottom line – nobody really knows (including I suspect Mini) at this point just what Mini will pay for, so don’t pull the trigger on any upgrades – until you’ve had the CFCI inspection.

  3. tg2009 said,

    Robert & Steve: Thanks for the encouragement. I do hope to learn from reading the NAM forums and other blogs what experience people have with CCFCI, and yes, maybe they will have a surprise for me. I haven’t contacted them because MINI had asked us not to, but I am certainly ready to ask them when they contact me about my issues.

  4. David said,

    And remember, CFCI must install the charging post (at MINI’s expense) but you are NOT required to use the CFCI crew to do the upgrade. Find out what you need and then shop around. I had several prices that were all over the map and ended up paying $670 to run a 220V 50amp line to the garage from the panel. Then when the CFCI guy was here to inspect he said that I’m good-to-go.


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