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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    2012 GMC Terrain SLT-2 AWD

    One of the nice things about being a webmaster is with the right tools you can find out what your visitors are interested in without them telling you directly. With these tools, I can learn what the people who visit this website are interested in by the search term they used on Google to lead them here. Out of all models from any brand currently in production, none bring more visitors to Cheers and Gears than people searching for information on the GMC Terrain.

    Armed with that knowledge, I requested one from the GM Press fleet and they delivered this 2012 Terrain SLT-2 with AWD and nearly every bell and whistle you can think of for your reviewing enjoyment.

    One of the first things that struck me about the 2012 model is how much firmer the suspension feels. We've had both a 2010 GMC Terrain and its brother a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox in the past. Both of which were noted for their comfortable, car-like ride. I'm not implying that the 2012 Terrain has an uncomfortable ride, but let us just call it more "Professional Grade".

    The Terrain is GMC's entry into the mid-size crossover segment. However there is no smaller CUV in GMC's stable. In fact, no brand from General Motors offers a CUV smaller than the Terrain/Equinox siblings at least until the sub-compact 2013 Buick Encore joins the lineup sometime early next year.

    This Terrain came equipped with a 264 horsepower, direct injected, 3.0 liter V6. While that sounds okay on paper, things aren't so hot when you read the torque figure. You get just 222 ft-lb of torque at 5100 rpm. That relative lack of torque means the transmission is on a constant Easter Egg hunt for just the right gear. Equipped with all wheel drive, the Terrain V6 is rated an almost GMC Acadia like 16/22 city/highway.

    So what are your other engine options? Well there is the 2.4 liter direct injected Ecotec 4-cylinder rated at 182 horsepower and 172 ft-lb of torque. That engine won't get you there faster than the V6, but you'll at least be getting 22/29 city/highway.

    While the V6 is smooth enough, I've had a good enough experience with the 2.4 4-cylinder to tell you to skip the V6 in favor of the 4 and pocket the savings at the fuel pump.

    So that's it for the drive for now. We'll cover the interior and other options in future updates. In the meantime, gear up your questions for this 2012 GMC Terrain SLT-2.


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    Not a question, just some commentary: when the new 2.5L finds its way under the hood of these, it will make the 3.0 less necessary. They'll need a more powerful 6 cylinder at that point. 3.6?

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    I feel the Terrain is a great CUV, but underpowered for AWD. With that said, I also feel GM has diluted the Denali package by putting it on everything.

    The Terrain is perfect for a Terrain Typhoon Package. All Black with a V6 Turbo.

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    Drewbert, please let us know how the fuel mileage is with the 6 cylinder. When the Terrain first came out I thought it was small... now I think it's big. I have an aunt & uncle looking to replace their '97 Blazer (bought new, still in excellent shape, I don't take after them, ha), and they mistakenly believe these have no room in the back seat. I told them it slides fore and aft a good bit, they were surprised. They are still mad about the bailout, and currently like the Forester as a replacement because of its excellent visibility, handy size, and the fact Subaru did not participate in the US government bailout (duh, they're Japanese, I'm sure their government helps ensure their success, at least at home).

    I am trying to steer them away from the Forester and toward an Equinox or Patriot... the bailout is still big in their minds, however. Funny, since the bailout I've had a Colorado, Fiesta and Patriot.

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    How is the fit and finish, has it gotten better?

    How is the road noise?

    Could you see yourself taking this on a long road trip, 1500 to 2000 miles and not feel worn out at the end of a long 10hr drive day?

    For me I never thought there were blind spots, do you feel this vehicle has any large blind spots?

    Does it have remote start?

    Layout of the buttons, does it make sense or is it a jumbled mess?

    Does the cruise control work smoothly or does it speed up and slow down?

    Does this v6 seem to be thrashy at times when you step on it?

    Looking forward to your updated report. :)

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    So I sent another email to GMC about my Idea of the following:

    Terrain Typhoon Edition

    Black Chrome in place of traditional chrome. (yes in my eye's a metalic black or metalic red with the Black Chrome looks sweet) Even the limited run of bing cherry that they had on the escalade would look good with Black Chrome.

    Dual Scroll Turbo charged V6

    Dash has carbon fiber trim in place of brushed aluminum

    Dash has a Terrain Typhoon Edition Serial Numbered plate.

    Seats have TT embossed into them.

    Floor mates would have Terrain Typhoon embossed onto them.

    All windows would be dark tinted.

    What do you think?

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    blu, how could one seriously consider a Forester if they have driven one and already driven something else? Forester=turd......

    Hope the Eq/Terrain gets the 2.5 and the 3.6 becomes the option across the board.....

    I like the Terrain big time....

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    I am averaging about 20 mpg with the 3.0 - good mix of around town and highway. It gets better gas millage than the 3900 in my Malibu.

    Cruising at 70 mph it shows an instant mpg in the 30's.

    I find the ride quite nice.

    Gotten used to the 3.0 and the 6 speed. Would rather have the 3.6 (the LaCrosse can move quite well) in the beginning the trans would hunt and peck, but once I got used to the 6 speed I can keep it under control.

    I just hit my 1 year with the 2011 Terrain SLT2 FWD and no problems and no real complaints. I still love the interior, still love the looks. No problems and never gone back to the dealer for anything. It's the most trouble-free GM car I've owned so far.

    Here's my responses DFelt after a year of ownership:

    How is the fit and finish, has it gotten better? - No complaints at all - one of the best interiors I've seen in this class of truck.

    How is the road noise? - Relatively low for an SUV. No wistling or rushing wind noise at high speed even with the roof rack cross rails.

    Could you see yourself taking this on a long road trip, 1500 to 2000 miles and not feel worn out at the end of a long 10hr drive day? - Yes- though the longest I've probably been in it is around 2 1/2 hours. I find it comfortable and this comes from someone who much rather be closer to the ground in a Camaro.

    For me I never thought there were blind spots, do you feel this vehicle has any large blind spots? - Not that effects me. It has the standard (for all Terrains) back up camera that has the screen in the rear view mirror, so it makes backing up super easy.

    Does it have remote start? - SLT2s do. Not sure of the lowest level, but I think so.

    Layout of the buttons, does it make sense or is it a jumbled mess? - I love the dash. Everything is good - the radio buttons are a reach, but everything is duplicated on the steering wheel. My main complaint for 2011 (and not sure if it is fixed for 2012) is that you cannot Bluetooth streaming audio to the radio - I have to use a physical jack (that's all I listen to is Slacker off my phone). Not terrible, but I assumed when I bought it, it would work.

    Does the cruise control work smoothly or does it speed up and slow down? - Just used it on Tuesday and of all the times I have used it I have noticed no jerky acceleration. Smooth.

    Does this v6 seem to be thrashy at times when you step on it? - It could use more power. It took me some time to get used to the 6 speed and the lower-torque 3.0, but for regular driving once you get the feel of it, I am happy with it. It can get loud when you've got it pinned to pull out on the highway, but it gets out of its own way and gets you up to speed quickly. No complaints- but I will always want to see more power. The 3.6 would make this thing a rocket.

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    dfelt, don't forget some serious, non-blingy wheels and performance tires, upgraded suspension, driveline, brakes and exhaust system.

    reg, you're right about the Forester v. an Equinox/Terrain. I think the best way for US citizens to get their money back... is to support the home team, any of the three, but especially GM/Chrysler.

    Walt, been waiting to hear a long-term report. Nice to hear you still like yours after a year of ownership.

    Edited by ocnblu
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    Blu - ask your aunt and uncle how many American tax payer dollars has been handed over to Subaru for their assembly plant in Indiana.

    They are subsidizing them.

    (The factory was given $98 million in state and local tax incentives when it opened in 1988, and these remain in place.)

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    Fit and finished has improved over the 2010 Terrain I had two years ago. Maybe I had an earlier production vehicle back then. The fit issues I complained about then aren't there on this one.

    Road noise isn't Buick quiet, but it is close. You can hear a bit more engine than in a Buick.

    I don't know there is any vehicle that you can drive for 10 hours straight and not feel worn out. On the open road, this feels fine. I'm not planning any roadtrips in it.

    This does have remote start.

    The blind spots aren't bad. GMC put the small convex mirrors on the outside to aide in that. The back up camera in this Terrain displays on the NAV screen rather than in the rear view mirror like Walt's.

    The V6 is nice and smooth across the RPM band, exhaust is oddly tuned so that it has a sound with a hint of 3800 in there. People familiar with the 3800 will notice, people not familiar with it wont.

    The cruise control works as it should, but here in hilly Western PA, the transmission still has to downshift more often than I would like for a V6. I would expect it for a 4-cylinder, but if I'm paying extra for a V6 both on the sticker and at the pump, I want the power when I want it.

    I'm mixed on the buttons on the center stack. Once you learn them they are fine.... once you learn them.

    $36k sticker and there are a few things I think are missing that should be there.

    I HATE lane departure warning and crash avoidance warning. I leave them turned on just to annoy me and remind me how much I hate them. I don't think it would matter what car I was in, I simply do not like these features.

    MPG may not be a fair test on this one as I'm using the remote start often on account of the very cold weather we are having here.

    Rear seat leg room is almost luxury sedan like.

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    Glad to see GM sent you a 2012 Terrain SLT-2 AWD V6. I drove an '11 like this in the summer at the Philadelphia Main Street in Motion (I came away very impressed with the V6 over the 4cyl, but that's just me). I'm still tempted to go to the dealership and have them run leases numbers... but I do LOVE my Envoy and the size (and height) it has over the Terrain. Please post some pictures and keep the commentary coming. Looking forward to the Philly Auto Show (going on Sat 2/4) and once again checking out the Terrain in person.

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    Thanks Oldsmoboi for the update on the 2012, sounds like they are getting it closer to being dialed in as an excellent small suv. :P

    Still wish they had a Terrain Typhoon edition as I think a dialed in performance version whould be a perfect Halo vehicle for GMC.

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    I'm not saying I'm not impressed with the V6. I'm just saying that for the fuel economy penalty, especially on the AWD edition, I would expect more torque and thus less transmission hunting on hills. Switching to the 3.6, even just tuned to 280hp like in the Lambdas, would be an improvement.

    The 3.0 has never been a steller performer for fuel economy in any vehicle it has been in. Going from the 3.0 to the 3.6 costs you nothing in fuel efficiency but gains you a lot in power.

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    I'm not saying I'm not impressed with the V6. I'm just saying that for the fuel economy penalty, especially on the AWD edition, I would expect more torque and thus less transmission hunting on hills. Switching to the 3.6, even just tuned to 280hp like in the Lambdas, would be an improvement.

    The 3.0 has never been a steller performer for fuel economy in any vehicle it has been in. Going from the 3.0 to the 3.6 costs you nothing in fuel efficiency but gains you a lot in power.

    I agree with you 100%. I think GM is allowing Caddy to benefit the SRX with the 3.6L V6 for 2012, and the Terrain/Equinox will dump the 3.0L V6 for 2013 and have the 3.6L V6 in its place (like ocnblu already stated a few posts up). Honestly, I would wait another year for the 3.6L V6 engine to be the upgraded engine option (though if the 2.5L 4cyl is a vast improvement over the 2.4L 4cyl, maybe I'd consider that) for me to consider a lease option. I don't want a Denali version just to get a 3.6L V6 though; however, it could have that as the only engine available.

    dfelt, I'm not sure I'd want to see the Typhoon name return (and boy do I LOVE the original Syclone/Typhoon). I think the Denali name would suffice for what you propose to be a Terrain Tyhoon (btw, isn't a Terrain Typhoon called a Tornado? :lol: ). I still think GMC should offer the normal packages (W/T-SL, SLE, SLT) in addition to the Denali luxury and and All-Terrain off-road packages. Then GM could restyle the Hummer Hx Concept as a GMC Jimmy offering to compete with the Jeep Wrangler & Toyota FJ Cruiser, and I'd love to see an All-Terrain version of the Terrain (if possible, which I believe PCS/Oracle once said the Theta platform could be made into a beefier 4WD - a'la Jeep Patriot). Giving GMC those model packages could differentiate them enough from their Chevy counterparts (assuming the General doesn't give Chevy the same stuff).

    Anyway, I hope the 3.6L V6 engine is offered on the 2013 Terrains, and a slight MCE too would be nice (but not necessary).

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    I'm not sure the Terrain will ever get a V6 larger than the 3.0. The Terrain is going down in size/weight slightly for the next generation making room for a slightly smaller/lighter Acadia.

    I could very well see such a vehicle getting the 2.5/2.0T combination eschewing the V6 all together.

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    And with the recent news of the GMC Granite being dead in the water, I can see your gen2 Terrain vision coming to life. It would be nice though as a last hurrah to send the current Terrain out with a better V6 option.

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    GMCTruckGuy, I see your point, but one issue I have is that I feel GM has totally Diluted the Denali level by having it on every model they sell.

    I think the current GMC Terrain would be perfect in a Typhoon edition, Black chrome rims, Grill, etc with a Turbo V6 AWD limited Production run would be a Perfect Halo Auto.

    GMC Needs a Halo version Vehicle that would bring some passion back into what I see as a hohum product line with the same trim levels on everything including a bling version Denali. Not everyone wants a chrome bling version, some of us love our monochromatic vehicles with all the bells and whistles on it.

    Mercedes has proven that not everything needs to be chromed out.

    I email GM about this that they need to realize that there are plenty of people out there that want that sleeper look but still have all the luxury toys on the inside.

    I'm not sure the Terrain will ever get a V6 larger than the 3.0. The Terrain is going down in size/weight slightly for the next generation making room for a slightly smaller/lighter Acadia.

    I could very well see such a vehicle getting the 2.5/2.0T combination eschewing the V6 all together.

    With a smaller Terrain, I could see a pumped up 2.5T AWD as a Typhoon edition. Metallic black, Windows blacked out, the suspension tweeked to ride tight and the monochromatic version or at least a black chrome version to give it that sweet Darth Vader look. :D

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    Walking into a Buick dealer in 4 years, the CUV lineup may look something like this.

    Buick Encore - Gamma

    GMC Terrain - Delta-Gama

    Buick Something - Theta-Epsilon - SWB

    GMC Acadia - Theta-Epsilon-LWB

    Buick Enclave - Lambda

    All premium vehicle with equipment above what you get in a same size/platform Chevy if one exists.

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    GMCTruckGuy, I see your point, but one issue I have is that I feel GM has totally Diluted the Denali level by having it on every model they sell.

    I think the current GMC Terrain would be perfect in a Typhoon edition, Black chrome rims, Grill, etc with a Turbo V6 AWD limited Production run would be a Perfect Halo Auto.

    GMC Needs a Halo version Vehicle that would bring some passion back into what I see as a hohum product line with the same trim levels on everything including a bling version Denali. Not everyone wants a chrome bling version, some of us love our monochromatic vehicles with all the bells and whistles on it.

    Mercedes has proven that not everything needs to be chromed out.

    I email GM about this that they need to realize that there are plenty of people out there that want that sleeper look but still have all the luxury toys on the inside.

    I'm not sure the Terrain will ever get a V6 larger than the 3.0. The Terrain is going down in size/weight slightly for the next generation making room for a slightly smaller/lighter Acadia.

    I could very well see such a vehicle getting the 2.5/2.0T combination eschewing the V6 all together.

    With a smaller Terrain, I could see a pumped up 2.5T AWD as a Typhoon edition. Metallic black, Windows blacked out, the suspension tweeked to ride tight and the monochromatic version or at least a black chrome version to give it that sweet Darth Vader look. :D

    well. I don't think they will turbo the 2.5 directly. There will be a smaller displacement engine of the same family that will be turboed. It might even end up being another turbo 2.0, but entirely different from the current one.

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    My mother is nearing 1 year (in about a month) with her 2011 Terrain SLT-1 AWD with the 3.0L as her only option, and loves it. Fits everything, comfortable, quiet, and continue to be pleased with the 3.0L/6-spd/AWD combo. Better mileage than her 2010 Camaro 3.6L before, highway and around town, since day one according to my father.

    Having read reviews but never driven, I wasn't sure they'd like the 3.0L, especially after a 3.6L Camaro. A year later and almost 15k miles with a lot of long trips, neither has anything but great things to say about it. Dad, who usually complains of powertrains (thinking back to the years with a 300M, etc.) that need revved for power, thought I was nuts telling him about reviews of the 3.0L elsewhere.

    Great ride. Never have had a chance to test the AWD in bad weather yet, but glad she has it. After my CX-9 that's larger, I was still impressed with how large and silent the smaller Terrain felt inside.

    3.0L is simply smoother, quieter and quicker, even if it doesn't seem overly torquey. I know from driving also at Main Street the track difference of FWD vs. FWD model was small, but noticeable.

    Edited by caddycruiser
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    Is is possible that the AWD feels more "on" all the time?

    Wondering. I've only have driven FWD models. That said, they do have different gear ratios, and I've read reviews saying 4-cyl AWD models for instance take off differently...so presumably so for both.

    Interesting, however, my brother who drives an old V8 Regal and different trucks at work said "it's like it has no torque...have to prod the pedal to get it to roll even in the driveway", vs. her past vehicles, the Camaro, etc. Partly true. Does like to rev, but that's intended.

    Edited by caddycruiser
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    New question...that dash top center bin with the big hinged lid. I was used to the same on our Malibu's, unlatch & it very smoothly glided fully up & open.

    On the Terrain/Equinox, the same? My mother never uses it and when I tried it the last time she visited, it seemed like the hinge was broken to me...ratcheted up in notches, instead of just smoothly opening. How does it work on your tester?

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    He won't have it on the tester because it has the Nav. The nav screen deletes that.

    The one on my 2011 (I didn't opt for the nav) is nice and smooth. Much like the console door. It doesn't ratchet.

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    Ugh, I hate to break in here again with news like this... got a text tonight. Aunt & Uncle bought a 2012 Forester in gray, trading in their trusty 1997 S-10 Blazer they bought new. :/

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    He won't have it on the tester because it has the Nav. The nav screen deletes that.

    The one on my 2011 (I didn't opt for the nav) is nice and smooth. Much like the console door. It doesn't ratchet.

    Ah, right. I've thought this. But she never opens it, so oh well.

    Ugh, I hate to break in here again with news like this... got a text tonight. Aunt & Uncle bought a 2012 Forester in gray, trading in their trusty 1997 S-10 Blazer they bought new. :/

    Hopefully still a great ride. Foresters can be noisy and revvy with the old 4-spd, and have been prone to rattles. Still, mechanically tough.

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    New question...that dash top center bin with the big hinged lid. I was used to the same on our Malibu's, unlatch & it very smoothly glided fully up & open.

    On the Terrain/Equinox, the same? My mother never uses it and when I tried it the last time she visited, it seemed like the hinge was broken to me...ratcheted up in notches, instead of just smoothly opening. How does it work on your tester?

    Doesn't exist. This one has the navigation system, lane departure warning, and crash avoidance warning. Those lights take up that space.

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    New question...that dash top center bin with the big hinged lid. I was used to the same on our Malibu's, unlatch & it very smoothly glided fully up & open.

    On the Terrain/Equinox, the same? My mother never uses it and when I tried it the last time she visited, it seemed like the hinge was broken to me...ratcheted up in notches, instead of just smoothly opening. How does it work on your tester?

    Doesn't exist. This one has the navigation system, lane departure warning, and crash avoidance warning. Those lights take up that space.

    Thoughts on the lane departure, crash avoidance system? Seems like a lot of tech for only $250.

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    Having spent a lot of miles in AWD/2WD V6 and 4 cylinder Nox I have to agree with Olds that the 4 will be enough for most buyers. The only issue would be the tow package is only with the V6. The V6 does have more power but just does not give you the feel. I could see a Turbo 4 ending up here but not so much as a performace model but more as a better power option. The torque band would be much better for this application.

    I agree that I will be shocked if they ever put a larger engine in this vehicle. Like most vehicles now they have as large of an engine as they will ever see as most will move to smaller and more powerful smaller engines.

    While the thought of a performance Terrain sounds good on paper and it handles well I would have to give it some pause. While it may not seem like a tall vehicle it still has a high center of gravity and a not so wide stance. Even lowered these vehicles can and will tip. Being inbolved with the HHR web site I find many of them flip with the center of gravity even lower than the Terrain. Smaller taller vehicles are just prone to rolls and not much you can do about it unless they get wider and I do not expect that.

    We are still in a holding pattern on a new vehicle and with the time spent in a Nox I have it and the Terrain on our list of possible vehicles. I am not a fan of the Terrain grill but in some colors and the right price I could still buy one.

    The thing I noted was one of the Nox I had was a LT1 Rental that had the sticker in it for $23,000. The way it was equipt it was not loaded but it had all the things most people expect and a little more. I found it to be a good value and I think it is something Chevy should advertise more as it was a lot of vehicle for the money. It is not hard to sell the loaded ones but I feel there are many out there that could be interested in the lower models if they knew how inexpensive they were and that they were not stripped out hulks.

    The one we priced out that we wanted is stickered at $34K. We will take the current rebates and what is out late this summer to decide what we will buy. The wife has taken a liking to the new Buicks too being she is now in the new Buick target Demo of 30-40 years old females. I figure she is the one who has to drive it so I will play along with what she chooses. I like the utility of the Nox/Terrain but I also like the Heads Up and other features of the Lacrosse. I suspect we may end up with a Turbo Regal or V6 Lacrosse as she like more power in a car than anything else. But with her Job there are times a utility vehicle would be very handy for her.

    I am glad to see the present model is as good or better. Often this is the case of most GM cars as the models a year or two old are just more refined with time and added marketing

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    • The grand plan was a separate new service to the house of 200 amps so that the garage would have plenty of power for charging multiple EVs and I would have a separate bill each cycle for knowing what I was spending for EV driving. Waking up in the morning to a full charge of power and never having to stop at a gas station due to having a Level 2, 240-volt home charger is a luxury everyone should have allowing you to smile as you drive by a gas station with folks outside dealing with their fueling. The ultimate perk of EV ownership.  I started with reaching out to my local utility and inquiring of the process for a new service. My local utility was more than accommodating in helping me out with the details. As an engineer that loves to learn, this process was very eye opening into the costs, lack of efficiencies by agencies and electrical contractors with a surprising ending to my eventual solution. Let's start off by making one thing clear, every state has their own regulations in regard to electrical. While the USA follows the national electrical code as a starting point, each state, county and city then adds their own additions or subtractions to the code. Always make sure to follow your local code no matter if you hire a company, independent contractor or are a DIY (Do it Yourself) type of person. Full information on the national electrical code can be found here:  The National Electrical Code (NEC) - Electrical Safety Foundation (esfi.org) Another thing to point out is every state has their own way of dealing with electrical supply and competition. As such, some states allow their end users to pick among competitive electrical suppliers even to the point of choosing to use Green Energy (Solar, Wind, and or Hydro) or not (Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear). Other states tend to regulate this down to the city and or county within a state. Washington state is a regulated power supply state so that depending on the county you live in; you deal with your county or the state power supplier. Washington state has one of the greenest electrical grides in the country. It produces 7,816 MWh of electricity and it breaks down as follows: Figures as of May 16th, 2024 Petroleum-Fired - 0% Natural Gas - 21.3% Coal-Fired - 3.9% Nuclear 10.3% Renewables - 64.1% (Hydro, Wind, Solar & Ocean) Fueling Stations in Washington State: Motor Gasoline - 1,846 Stations Propane - 64 Stations EV Charging - 2,153 stations E85 - 5 stations Biodiesel, CNG, & Other Alternatives - 8 stations If you wish to check out your own state information you can do so here by clicking on your state:  U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis Starting off on my project I had decided to go ahead with a ChargePoint+ Home Flex Hardwired solution. Yes, there are a wide variety of good home chargers that run from $250 to $2000 dollars such as the Porsche home charger. Home Flex Hardwired Level 2 EV Charger (chargepoint.com) The choice of this charger was based on the following: Some of the best reviews out there by thousands of people Hardwired allowed me the best power supply available to the EV building in future protection as newer EV tech comes online. ChargePoint sells both CCS and NACS supply cords, making upgrades from my current EV with CCS to a future EV with NACS easy as a self-Upgrade to the charger. ChargePoint app allows for use both at their fast-charging network and to track my own use and cost. You can find a large diverse choice of L1 and L2 chargers on Amazon or from other sources. Many utilities will have rebates if you purchase through your local utility or in the case of my own system, I had to file a rebate form as my charger was on the approved list, but not available from my utility. ChargePoint+ also points out that till 2032 you might be able to qualify for a $1,000 rebate from the federal government. Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Incentives | ChargePoint Now that I have covered some of the basics about electrical and power source, lets dive into my journey for a Level 2 Home Charger. Karl at the Snohomish PUD sent me a form that I had to fill out, this was a "New Service Residential Request" form. Here I had to fill out the normal details such as my house address, current status of the electrical to the home, type of new service being requested, pictures of where the service would need to be connected to the house and where I wanted the service panel to be, etc. This form had an area for requested measurements from the house to the utility pole, gross measurements of where the wiring would need to go so that the service could be sized up accordingly. The last part was the direction from my PUD on checking with the city for any additional requirements. For those wanting to see what the new service request form looks like I supply it here: 1097R_NSQres.pdf City requirements were that any electrical changes to the existing structure that comprised more than 10% cost of the home improvement value as assessed by the county required that the electrical lines from the utility pole to the house be installed underground rather than overhead. Luckily for me, my estimated costs would be under this so I was not looking to have to figure this into the cost of adding the service or so I thought. Karl at SNOPUD said he would do the assessment and have out to me the updated info shortly. In the meantime, I reached out to a couple of recommended electrical companies from the SNOPUD website and a few independent electricians to get estimates on the work to be done. Specifically, I wanted two quotes, first is the all-new service added to the house with dedicated panel feeding the garage. Second was updating the existing panel to support a charger in the garage using my existing service. Here I was expecting a $5 to $6 thousand dollar install connection for the first service and based on the auto industry estimate of around $1,500 to $2,000 for the second. Boy was I off by a bunch. All the estimates from both the electrical companies I contacted, and the independent contractors had the new service install between $10 to $12 thousand dollars and the existing services was between $4,700 to $6,200. This also did not include the connection to the PUD. Here I was informed from Karl at SNOPUD that the service could be done but would require a new transformer to our cul-d-sac to support the added amperage pull. As such, this was more than just a wire connection but an outage to the cul-d-sac ending in an almost $15,000 charge. Who knew that adding a service where you pay them for the flow of electricity would have such a huge cost and impact on my project. This put the cost of a new service between $25,000 to $27,000 dollars. So much for the Auto Industry estimates of $1,500 to $2,000 dollars and it also did not include the required $125.00 electrical permit I would have to get from the city and inspection. I did keep in mind that the price of electrical work varies based on the cost of labor where one lives, power of the charger, distance from the charger to the electrical panel along with the job complexity. What about DIY (Do it Yourself), could I do this job myself and what would the cost be? First, I knew from all the quotes that I was greatly under my 200-amp service pull as I have Gas stove, Dryer, Water heater and Furnace. As such, the 240V 30-to-50-amp circuits that are in my panel are not being used at all. One of the independent electricians had stated that the cheapest way would be to pull an existing circuit breaker and run the wire into the panel with the new Circuit breaker, but most electricians did not like leaving existing wires from outlets in the panel even if they were sealed off, they just did not like doing this, so everyone had quoted based on adding a secondary panel. With this information, I researched from the ChargePoint+ website on installing the hardwired charger I had purchased from them. ChargePoint+ has installation videos and covers all the information on installation as well as becoming a certified installation expert. ChargePoint Home Resources | ChargePoint ChargePoint Home Flex (CPH50) Hardwired Installation Video | ChargePoint Become a Certified ChargePoint Installer | ChargePoint From the website above I gathered the following information on the materials that I would need. Conduit large enough to hold the wiring Brackets to attach the conduit and screws 90-degree wire access conduit Associated pipe nipple for connection into the panel Insulated bushing Appropriate washer and locknut for connection to the panel 6 AWG wiring Black, Red and Green wires per code ChargePoint+ clearly states to use 6AWG for their Level 2 Charger installation. 6 AWG wire stripper 70amp circuit breaker Some states require these to be Arc or GFCI for indoor or outdoor, national code for outdoor installation is a GFCI breaker upstream from the outdoor installation. Check local regulations for proper type required. Make sure to get the proper type of circuit breaker for your panel, I had D block circuits. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters vs. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters - Bob Vila Torque Screwdriver set Most do not know that depending on the size of the circuit breaker, when you connect the wiring to the breaker, the screws must be torqued to a certain range. The 70amp circuits per the side of the breaker states 45 in. lbs. Paintable caulking to seal both access points into the house for the charger. With having my list of materials, I choose to first compare prices online from Home Depot and Lowe's. What I found was that Home Depot was much higher in the cost of the wiring, but cheaper in conduit, circuit breakers and accessories. Lucky, I have both home improvement stores within a 2-mile radius of my house. What I also noticed was that neither home improvement store had the required tools I would need, so clearly, I would have to stop off at my local Harbor Freight tool store. Harbor Freight Tools | Quality Tools, Lowest Prices With the knowledge of what I needed and a shopping list, I headed out and accomplished the following: Electrical Permit from my city.  Wiring from Lowe's - Lowe’s Home Improvement (lowes.com) Conduit, circuit breaker and accessories from Home Depot - The Home Depot Tools from Harbor Freight tools company - Harbor Freight Tools | Quality Tools, Lowest Prices Opening up the electrical panel as you can see here, I have my household 200amp circuit at the top. This will kill power to everything in the house, below this was the kitchen and laundry room 240V circuit and then on down throughout the rest of the house to the garage with various circuits. At this point, I knew that I would be turning off the 200amp circuit to work on this panel and protect the rest of the house. Note to point out is that when you turn off this 200amp circuit, the power is not flowing to the rest of the panel, but you still have the power coming from the street to this panel and so there is live electricity in that 200amp circuit. One must always be cautious when working with electrical. One safety thing to do, remove ALL jewelry, watches, phones, etc. Have nothing on you that is electrical or any kind of metal and that includes a wedding ring. All these are places that can cause an electrical jump / short that can cause you harm. As one that grew up working on auto's and having great respect for the electrical system of auto's, homes, datacenters, etc. there are some things that I do not have a problem doing. In this case I kept the power to the house on while I pulled the panel cover off. A proper panel should have all the wires in 90 degrees to the circuit breakers and to the grounding / neutral bars that are silver in this case. Here I have not had any manipulation of the box done with patchwork electrical hacks. It is always best to learn the details or hire the proper person to do your electrical work. Being that I am comfortable with pulling out the circuit breaker that is turned off, I choose to pull and replace the 240V 30-amp laundry room circuit. Here in this picture, you can see it removed and a better view of the grounding / neutral bar of the electrical panel. At this point, I wanted to pull out the punch of where I was going to run the new electrical lines into the panel. Once I pulled out the punch, I drilled a small starter hole from the inside to the outside so I could line up properly the larger drill bit for the incoming conduit. Upon drilling, I attached the pipe nipple extension to the 90-degree wire access conduit, and I inserted it through the outside wall. Here I put on the washer, lock nut and insulated bushing as you can see here. Now the next step was to install the conduit, some love their hard conduit and gluing it together as it comes in 10ft lengths, and you then have to either use a special heater tool to bend the hard conduit or buy the proper pieces that are curved. I choose to go with liquid proof flexible commercial conduit. The benefit here is that while this is a bit more expensive, the flexibility of the line makes it so much easier to install. One thing no matter what type of conduit you choose to use is that one has to run the electrical lines through the conduit. Hard conduit can be with tight bends very challenging to run the electrical lines unless you have a special tool that allows you to snake through the conduit, attach the electrical lines and then it uses an electrical motor to pull it. I choose to run my flexible conduit out in a straight line, and I had pushed through my three 6awg lines through it so that I had the wire already in the conduit. Now this does make the conduit much heavier to install, but I found it faster and easier to do it this way. You will also notice that I have a Black, White and Green wire rather than the code dictating a Black, Red and Green wire. Both Lowe's and Home Depot were out at the time of purchase the red 6awg wire. So, I did what is allowed and that is on the ends of the wire at both ends, I wrapped them with red electrical tape. I started with connecting the liquid tight end connector to the flexible conduit and attaching it to the 90 degree wire access to the panel. I pushed the wires through to the inside and reattached the liquid tight cover and then started using the brackets to attach the conduit to the house. Two things to consider, one is the over all look of the installation, sometimes the cheapest approach is not the best especially when it comes to ones significant other, wife, partner, etc., not everyone likes to see conduit. I choose to do my best to minimize the visibility of the conduit and once I paint it to match the house it will truly not show up as the wife never noticed it when she came home till after I showed here. Upon installation of the conduit with the 6 AWG wires, it was time to mount the home charger in my designated place. Here you need to make sure it is level, supported by the wall which can sometimes require additional bracing. Here you see my ChargePoint+ unit being installed on the wall. With the charger installed onto the wall, I finished up the connection of the conduit / wires into the unit. Connected the electrical supply side and the charging cable side and reinstalled the cover. With the installation of the charger unit and wiring done, it was time to focus on the circuit breaker installation side. Here I had an LED head light as I finally turned off the 200-amp circuit breaker to the house. I attached the red and black wires to the circuit breaker, installed the ground wire and then installed the circuit breaker into the panel. I also at this time wrapped each wire from the laundry outlet in proper electrical tap and a wire twist to add additional protection and secured them out of the way in the panel corner. I also at this time used my torque screwdriver to ensure proper torque on the wires. With the installation completed at the panel side, I turned back on the 200-amp circuit enabling the house to have power and was time to go enable the charger unit. Here ChargePoint+ has an outstanding cellphone app to enable you to finish up the setup of the charger. I was able to connect to the unit via WiFi and set the unit to 70 amp circuit hardwired. I also then connected it to my house WiFi for internet access. This allowed me to do a update on the unit for software. Here ChargePoint has on the left side of the unit indicators for WiFi connection. Green is good and as you can see in the picture above, I have WiFi connection and the alert is showing green so no issues with the charger. Upon using the regular ChargePoint software app on my smartphone I was able to complete setting up an account and final configuration of my charger as a home charger unit. The unit is green when not in use but ready to be used. During Charging the unit is a pulsing blue. At this point, I had a functional Level 2 240V 50amp hardwired home EV charger with CCS connector. What did this cost me, simple a total of $1,032.23 Level 2 ChargePoint+ Home Flex hardwired charger: $549.99 plus $54.99 sales tax before $200.00 rebate. Total Cost of Materials: $391.77 which was from Home Depot & Lowe's. Tools bought for the job: $110.48 which comprised of a 6 AWG wire striper and a Torque Screwdriver set from Harbor Freight. Electrical Permit: $125 from the city. Best part of this is the cheap charging we get at home at .10 cents per kW. The ChargePoint app allows me to track and monitor in real time our costs and amount used, so it will make it easy to subtract it from the electrical bill to see the house use versus the EV. The app shows that I am constantly at the 11kW controller capabilities of home charging from Kia. This brings me back to why I titled this the Good, Bad and the Ugly. New Service request is the ugly as the costs of the new service from my power supplier has costs that have never been talked about before to me and I still have to pay for the electrical use which makes this the ugly when you are looking at a five figure cost. The bad is clearly adding the new service panel and the associated costs to an electrical company to do the work, pretty much double what the auto industry has stated having a Level 2 home charger installed would actually cost. Good is for those of you who are willing to learn and do the work, a DIY install is in my humble opinion a very cheap way to go even though it did take a chunk of my time, I have no regrets about learning the process to install and dealing with my city on installation. End result is a quality home charger that will serve me well for many years. Please post any questions or comments, happy to respond on this personal journey into home charging of my EV. View full article
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