Column by Commissioner Tery Cook
This past summer, I had to consider that my 2000 Sienna van may be reaching its expiration date with the mileage approaching 380,000. I knew I didn’t want to invest in another internal combustion engine, yet it is still early for an electric vehicle adoption.
I hit the internet and Consumer Reports shopping for prospects and reviews. Early on I was drawn to the 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 with its designation of 2022 Car of the Year (not just EV car of the year). The videos were strong selling points. I was sold on a car I’d never touched nor ridden in. I wasn’t even sure of the interior, other than the console could be pushed back, freeing valuable floor space.
My husband and I visited Round Rock Hyundai for pricing and availability. Well, high and long were two descriptors — quite the price and an eight- to 10-month wait list. Regardless, I put $500 down — my husband thought it was crazy — and we hoped for the best.
Next, I explored what all these charging stations for garages are all about and if we had the ability to add a 240V line to our power panel for a charger. I contacted an electrical contractor to do the analysis and lo and behold, we had a breaker slot that could accommodate the 60 amp/2 pole 120/240V circuit breaker. This is not a Home Depot item. Off to Elliott Electric Supply I went, but this breaker was in short supply, so I had to go to a Bastrop location to pick it up: $32.48 + gas + time.
Another research project informed me the level 2 charging station was the most affordable and practical. What brand? We settled on the ChargePoint Home Flex EV Charger from Amazon costing $810.79 with tax. We took our 100-foot climbing rope we brought from Colorado and routed it through our attics and to an exterior wall with the circuit panel (outdoors) to estimate how much power line we needed. Again, Amazon Prime came through for us and delivered the incredibly heavy power line. My husband was game to do this himself, or should I say on the cheap?
Next, where to install it? Last available wall space was also the perfect spot for the charging unit. Down came the drywall as hubby had to create a very strong framing assembly to support the charger and a long cable that could reach the car even if it was backed into place. We even purchased a fire extinguisher and mounted it as you walk into the garage from the house, as if it’s really going to make a difference should a fire occur. We also threw the circuit breaker, and nothing blew up. Then we waited, and waited; fortunately, the van kept running.
I did check in with the salesperson twice over the following four months. The bulk of the orders were for models that I wasn’t ordering, nor my color, the lone wolf on the prowl. Then on Feb. 8, as I pulled into the parking lot near the Homerun Dugout at Dell Diamond, my phone rang — strange number — however, I answered. My now new salesperson announced that my long-awaited 2023 car would arrive about Feb. 28.