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Condo EV Charging Solution??

RayK18

Member
Oct 28, 2017
11
2
United States
I live in a condo multi-unit condo: 4 stories, 25 units, 16 garages, in an over 55 community located in Northern Virginia. My M3 reservation is projected to be filled mid-2018. I am doing research before approaching the condo HOA regarding an EV outlet in my garage.

There are condo solution vendors EverCharge and ChargePoint that provide a smart power network that will distribute available power to the connected EV users on their system. It is a path as it is scalable so as not to tax the building’s available power nor the limited conduit space for wiring. All good except the EV owner pays much higher EV charging rates/fees. Still, it may be a solution.

However, in an over 55 community, where very high power, quick charging, is less relevant, this might be a workable plan:

-1- Have each EV owner get a 120 VAC/20 AMP circuit, tied to their electric meter, installation cost paid for by the EV owner.

-2- have that outlet be available on a timed basis – Off Peak (11 PM – 7 AM ) via power control timer (like had been used for electric water heaters). This outlet, with a conservative continuous 16 amp draw would provide in the order of 50 miles of charge overnight. Also, depending on the power company, it could be at an off-peak rate. For the EV owner, it would be very low-cost electricity.

-3- To offset the hassle factor and sweeten the pot, the HOA could be paid a monthly fee circa $10/month from each EV outlet owner.

It seems like a win-win. The power demand would be low enough given off-peak use so as not to tax the local power distribution transformer (more research needed). The only question is will the available conduit space be sufficient for each garage owner (16) to get wired from their meter to their garage (seems possible with 20 AMP circuits?).

I would appreciate the benefit of your experience. There are surely a lot of unanswered questions.
 
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igotzzoom

Active Member
May 26, 2013
1,217
585
Mission Viejo, CA
I'd say the first step would be to find out if there are other EV owners/enthusiasts in the community, and see if they'd be interested in approaching the HOA as a group to lobby for/propose an EV charging solution. I would also brainstorm what the possible objections the HOA might throw up "It's too expensive, it's too complicated, who's going to maintain it, who's going to pay for it?" And think of common-sense answers to these objections. If those vendors you mention have FAQ pages, or have a customer service liaison that either might be willing to visit an HOA meeting in person, or at least provide the board members with some information, or be willing to call in on a conference call to a board or committee meeting, that might be the most helpful in making your case. In my experience with HOAs, the more thorough you can be up-front, and if you can anticipate and counter whatever objections they might have, the more willing they'll be to work with you. If you just march in there and shout and demand like a spoiled child without any information, they'll tell you to take a hike.
 
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RayK18

Member
Oct 28, 2017
11
2
United States
I'd say the first step would be to find out if there are other EV owners/enthusiasts in the community, and see if they'd be interested in approaching the HOA as a group to lobby for/propose an EV charging solution. I would also brainstorm what the possible objections the HOA might throw up "It's too expensive, it's too complicated, who's going to maintain it, who's going to pay for it?" And think of common-sense answers to these objections. If those vendors you mention have FAQ pages, or have a customer service liaison that either might be willing to visit an HOA meeting in person, or at least provide the board members with some information, or be willing to call in on a conference call to a board or committee meeting, that might be the most helpful in making your case. In my experience with HOAs, the more thorough you can be up-front, and if you can anticipate and counter whatever objections they might have, the more willing they'll be to work with you. If you just march in there and shout and demand like a spoiled child without any information, they'll tell you to take a hike.
Thanks for your thoughts and feedback. I am continuing my research into this project and your ideas are valued.
 

RayK18

Member
Oct 28, 2017
11
2
United States
I'd say the first step would be to find out if there are other EV owners/enthusiasts in the community, and see if they'd be interested in approaching the HOA as a group to lobby for/propose an EV charging solution. I would also brainstorm what the possible objections the HOA might throw up "It's too expensive, it's too complicated, who's going to maintain it, who's going to pay for it?" And think of common-sense answers to these objections. If those vendors you mention have FAQ pages, or have a customer service liaison that either might be willing to visit an HOA meeting in person, or at least provide the board members with some information, or be willing to call in on a conference call to a board or committee meeting, that might be the most helpful in making your case. In my experience with HOAs, the more thorough you can be up-front, and if you can anticipate and counter whatever objections they might have, the more willing they'll be to work with you. If you just march in there and shout and demand like a spoiled child without any information, they'll tell you to take a hike.
Thanks for your thoughts and feedback.
Great links. Thanks for your help.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,028
6,512
Austin, TX
You would still get pushback - as the HOA standard operating procedure - but if tied into your own meter not sure there will really be a power shortage.

Especially for a 20a outlet. A space heater takes 12a/120v and there is no rule limiting use of space heaters (I would assume).

I’d be concerned your plan is limiting EVs too much. I’d think 240v would be the minimum if someone is going to invest the cost into installation.
 

ölbrenner

Member
Aug 8, 2017
404
463
Socal
I wish you the best of luck, but In case your HOA effort goes the way most of them do, maybe try the following workaround solution. If you have at least two 120V plugs in your garage, google "Quick 220". I got lucky and now have 240V/15A awaiting my M3 (it will only be 11mph charge rate, but that will work for my daily commute, and certainly beats 5mph at 110V).
 

Blu Angel

Member
Oct 7, 2016
280
260
Mississauga, ON, Canada
Anecdotally to this story, I refused to buy a condo in the Toronto market last year because of the EV charger issue.
Let me explain.

Being an empty nester, I am considering downsizing from from a 3 bedroom home to a 1000 Sq foot condo.
Great building, fab amenities, walking distance to train station and 20 minutes closer to downtown TO.
My wife & I were motivated to sign the condo docs but I had a concern. Since the condo came with 2 parking spaces
with an additional $20,000 fee, I asked the builder to provide a Tesla charger outlet.
The rationale was downsizing from 3 cars to 1 (Corvette & Tesla 3).
Much to our chagrin, the builder refused to add a Tesla charger.....I walked away from this builder!

Just as the OEM car manufacturers are refusing to accept the oncoming EV revolution, there are real estate
developers who also refuse to accept the market direction to a gas free world!
 

Graffi

Member
Apr 30, 2017
713
711
San Diego, CA
Since you are talking about charging a Model 3, you can estimate that you can get 4 miles per kwh. If you estimate your daily miles driven you can divide that by 4 to get the number of kwh you need to recharge over night. Divide the kwh needed by the number of hours it will remain unused. This will give you the kw rate you need to use. It may be that a 120v/20a circuit is all you need. If so then just have an outlet installed near where you park and problem solved. No different than plugging in a heater, fan, or even an electric blower or mower.
 

RayK18

Member
Oct 28, 2017
11
2
United States
You would still get pushback - as the HOA standard operating procedure - but if tied into your own meter not sure there will really be a power shortage.

Especially for a 20a outlet. A space heater takes 12a/120v and there is no rule limiting use of space heaters (I would assume).

I’d be concerned your plan is limiting EVs too much. I’d think 240v would be the minimum if someone is going to invest the cost into installation.

Thanks for your thoughts.

I understand your view that one 120vAC/20 amp outlet would seem not be a problem, I agree, however, with a few caveats.

I am looking at the broader context for a condo building that has 25 units and 16 garages (9 outside covered parking spots). The two limitations that I foresee are:

1- the electrical conduit space (volume for wiring) if all 16 garage owners opt for this feature there may not be the electrical conduit space to go from the meters in the electrical room to their common area garages. I will soon contact the electrical group that wired the building to see what I can learn.

2- Also, if all 16 owners, at 120 VAC x (20 amp x 0.8) charge at once the load increase to the local transformer would be 30.72 kW. How significant this would be if it were at on-peak hours is still in need of determination. At off-peak it surely would not.

If anyone has experience with these factors I would be interested to know.
 

RayK18

Member
Oct 28, 2017
11
2
United States
Anecdotally to this story, I refused to buy a condo in the Toronto market last year because of the EV charger issue.
Let me explain.

Being an empty nester, I am considering downsizing from from a 3 bedroom home to a 1000 Sq foot condo.
Great building, fab amenities, walking distance to train station and 20 minutes closer to downtown TO.
My wife & I were motivated to sign the condo docs but I had a concern. Since the condo came with 2 parking spaces
with an additional $20,000 fee, I asked the builder to provide a Tesla charger outlet.
The rationale was downsizing from 3 cars to 1 (Corvette & Tesla 3).
Much to our chagrin, the builder refused to add a Tesla charger.....I walked away from this builder!

Just as the OEM car manufacturers are refusing to accept the oncoming EV revolution, there are real estate
developers who also refuse to accept the market direction to a gas free world!

Thanks for your thoughts.

I understand your challenge of a condo building and an EV charging conflict. That is why I am working to have a plan that will be a win-win for the condo EV owner and the HOA.

Anyone who shares my plight is encouraged to provide their views on this thread.
 

RayK18

Member
Oct 28, 2017
11
2
United States
I wish you the best of luck, but In case your HOA effort goes the way most of them do, maybe try the following workaround solution. If you have at least two 120V plugs in your garage, google "Quick 220". I got lucky and now have 240V/15A awaiting my M3 (it will only be 11mph charge rate, but that will work for my daily commute, and certainly beats 5mph at 110V).

There is only one 120 VAC outlet and it is a common area resource only to be used to vacuum a car, etc. Not for continued use. It is taking power and charging that cost to the community.
 

RayK18

Member
Oct 28, 2017
11
2
United States
You would still get pushback - as the HOA standard operating procedure - but if tied into your own meter not sure there will really be a power shortage.

Especially for a 20a outlet. A space heater takes 12a/120v and there is no rule limiting use of space heaters (I would assume).

I’d be concerned your plan is limiting EVs too much. I’d think 240v would be the minimum if someone is going to invest the cost into installation.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Regarding limiting EV users by not having a Level 2 high power charger: point taken, however, the choices for a multi-unit condo building are:

-1- none (denied by the HOA).

-2- charging by a high power distributed power network from EverCharge or ChargePoint.

-3- limited 120 AC trickle charging.

The first (-1-) is what we all want to avoid.

-2- is essentially a public charging station but with the convenience of doing so at home. It is costly $15/month plus a high cost per kWhr (circa 21 cents). This is surely better than none but I don’t yet see it as better than -3-

-3- where you can charge while you sleep, pay a low kWhr energy charge, possibly aided by an off-peak rate offered by some power companies. Also, to incentivize and make it a win-win for the HOA as well as well as the EV owner perhaps a monthly fee, paid by the EV owner, would make putting up with this challenge worth their while. So far, I have not yet hit a brick wall limitation but I’m still researching. Any help is welcomed.
 

brkaus

Well-Known Member
Jul 8, 2014
8,028
6,512
Austin, TX
1- the electrical conduit space (volume for wiring) if all 16 garage owners opt for this feature there may not be the electrical conduit space to go from the meters in the electrical room to their common area garages. I will soon contact the electrical group that wired the building to see what I can learn.

Without seeing it, I cannot really comment. Each having their own meter would indicate to me that just adding more conduit would "solve" the problem.

But, do note that 20A 240V and 20A 120V both require the same wire size... And 240v will provide 2x the charging.

2- Also, if all 16 owners, at 120 VAC x (20 amp x 0.8) charge at once the load increase to the local transformer would be 30.72 kW. How significant this would be if it were at on-peak hours is still in need of determination. At off-peak it surely would not.

Not much worse then everyone running a small space heater 24x7. And most wouldn't be charging every night all the time. Agree proposing small may alleviate capacity problems down the road, but I wouldn't go too small. It would risk functionality for the EV owners.

Good luck! Keep pushing it!
 

RayK18

Member
Oct 28, 2017
11
2
United States
Without seeing it, I cannot really comment. Each having their own meter would indicate to me that just adding more conduit would "solve" the problem.

But, do note that 20A 240V and 20A 120V both require the same wire size... And 240v will provide 2x the charging.



Not much worse then everyone running a small space heater 24x7. And most wouldn't be charging every night all the time. Agree proposing small may alleviate capacity problems down the road, but I wouldn't go too small. It would risk functionality for the EV owners.

Good luck! Keep pushing it!

I appreciate your feedback. I will keep pushing the stone.
 

RandyS

Fan of Elon
Jul 8, 2012
725
940
San Diego
Ray, I have worked on these projects for the local utility where I work...Here are a few tips that I would suggest...

* I'm generalizing, and this might not apply to you, but many high rises have the meters in a lower floor in an electrical room, and then they run cables up to the living units where the breaker panels are installed. Because of this, you may not be able to easily add an additional circuit to your existing electric panel without a lot of work and/or a long run.

* In many cases, this leads to a separate meter solution in the electric room for your EV charging. So there needs to be electrical capacity in the gear that feeds your building to do that and physical space to do that (one EV charger may be able to be squeezed in, but the more you try to install the harder it gets). In our locale, the contractor would work with a utility Planner to get the new service (meter) installed (assuming that capacity and space are not an issue). Loads have to be verified within the switchgear that feeds the building to ensure that adding this new load will not exceed the nameplace ratings of the existing equipment, and the utility feed for the building will also be studied for similar effects.

* Once the okay is given, the utility will write a "Service order" and the contractor can start work. First they work out the solution in the meter room to install the new meter. Then they would run conduit and wire from the meter / breaker panel to where your car is. Sometimes they have to core drill through floors (which can be messy), and sometimes you get lucky and the car charging location is nearby. One of my customers was able to swap deeded parking places with another resident to get closer to the electric room.

* For this much trouble and expense, I would suggest pursuing a Level 2 charging solution. Level 1 is painfully slow, and some of that power goes to the battery cooling system when charging, so it's a higher percentage of loss at Level 1...

Check out this writeup for multi-unit dwelling charging at the Plugin Electric Vehicle Collaborative. There is a case study for CityFront Terrace that may be applicable to your situation. They put in 20 separate EV meters, and are charging residents $4,000 for their share of the meter (Service) installation, and that includes the conduit run and wire all the way to your parking space...Your situation may be smaller and more economical, but I just wanted to point out that example...

I hope that info helps....

http://www.pevcollaborative.org/MuD (General page)

http://www.pevcollaborative.org/sites/all/themes/pev/files/cityfront copy.pdf (CityFront Terrace example)
 

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