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Finally Finished: Model Y Charging in Underground Condo Garage

andrewmunsell

Member
May 18, 2020
29
91
Bellevue, WA
After 2 months with my Y (and two years previously of another EV), I finally finished my project to install a charger in my underground condo garage. This has been quite a project, from initially proposing the charger to the HOA to getting it installed.

Summary:

- ~800' total of wire, some ~200' conduit if I recall correctly
- Drilled through 3 floors of concrete to reach my space from the electrical room (lucky me, my space is on the bottom floor of the garage)
- Billed directly to my meter using a DCC-9 (50 amp) energy management system
- NEMA 14-50 outlet

IMG_3601.jpg


FAQs for anyone considering similar solutions:

Since I know everyone is going to ask, how much did it cost? >$8k total, including all equipment, the electrician, concrete boring, permits, legal stuff for my HOA, etc.

Who paid for it? For this installation, me, 100%. The HOA paid for an electrician to evaluate common infrastructure way back when to see whether it was feasible to use common infra, but it wasn't. It may have been a free eval but the HOA has to pay the building management company for the escort for the electrician so they can get into the electrical room.

Why would you possibly pay that much? Because I consider it an investment in the property, it's a one-of-a-kind installation, and I enjoy the convenience. This project shows it's possible to retrofit older buildings (this one was built in ~2000) to allow for EV infrastructure, even without additional load calculations, transformers, etc. If I were building a new building would I use this method to install chargers? Absolutely not. But this building is 20 years old and this was my only option.

What does the DCC-9 do? It sits between my electrical meter and condo and is installed in the electrical room. When the total usage of my unit goes >80% of capacity, then the DCC-9 shuts off power to the charger. This means there doesn't have to be additional service or load calculations done, which is great for older buildings.

Why a DCC-9 instead of hooking up to common electrical in the garage? Our garage has zero outlets period, and the house panels were completely full. There is maybe one other EV owner, so paying to add a new transformer (or convincing the HOA to pay for it) was not going to happen.

Why a NEMA 14-50 instead of a 6-50? Yes, I know I don't need a neutral, but the 14-50 is a more common plug and considering the cost of the project, the incremental cost of the additional wire was not really an issue.

Why a DCC-9 50 amp? My service to my unit is 100 amp, so the 50 amp is the max I can have. DCC-9 has a 60 amp version if you have 125a service.

Why a NEMA 14-50 instead of hard wiring? I'm not going to live here forever, and either myself or future owners may not have Teslas. It's easier to unplug this considering 50a is the max I can have to the parking space anyways.

What if someone unplugs the charger and uses it for them self? The box above the outlet is a locking breaker box, so I can shut it off when I am on vacation and lock it. I don't have a lock yet, it's coming.

What if someone tries to steal your cord? This was just installed so I am planning on locking the cable to the pole, there's some metal reinforcement out of shot that I can tie something like a bike lock to. It's a secured garage so it's not that big of a deal.
 

SageBrush

REJECT Fascism
May 7, 2015
12,221
15,131
New Mexico
Quite a story -- thanks for sharing.
You may wish to open the loops of the excess EVSE cable. There will be less heat generation.

Unsolicited opinion: the HOA were dicks, forcing you to to start at your Apt panel.
 
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jeremymc7

Active Member
Feb 3, 2013
1,290
576
U.S.
Look's great. Congrats on getting this done and so nicey.

Once thing I would consider is a locking cover box for the NEMA 14-50 so that while charging no one can unplug or steal the adapter from the outlet. Obviously they could still unplug the adapter from mobile connector. Honestly I would have a big lock box to leave the whole charger in when not using. But totally optional.

$8K is a huge investment. But it's personal choice. Much be an expensive condo though.
 
Last edited:
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Darmie

Supporting Member
Jan 13, 2016
1,536
1,060
Clear Lake TX.
Good for you. Here's hoping that you can receive some of that money back from the electrical company or even a state EV program that you haven't located yet. Yes, that HOA should be ashamed of themselves but most HOA's are.
 

Olly_

Member
Dec 3, 2019
11
9
NJ
Good job - I bet plugging the car in for the first time felt very satisfying after going to all that trouble!

Unsolicited opinion: the HOA were dicks, forcing you to to start at your Apt panel.

I could be wrong but I don't think they did - the DCC-9 is in the electrical room and presumably intercepts the electrical service coming from the meter before it heads to the unit...
 

ZEK7717

Member
Nov 7, 2018
6
2
Florida
I did the same thing in my Condo. Figured it was an upgrade for my unit and parking space. Good news is that I received a $1000.00 rebate from the utility company and that Florida passed a law in 2018 that the HOA cannot deny your request to install a charging station if local codes are followed.
 
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S3XYB

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
1
2
NJ
Yikes! I live 6 miles from a local supercharger in NJ and that's the only place I currently charge my model 3. $10 for ~ 200 miles. It's convenient because rates are low and it's at a Wawa hoagie (sandwich) shop that also sells coffee, water, snacks and drinks. They also sell gasoline, so by having Tesla superchargers (8) they future-proofed themselves.According to Bellevue, WA | Tesla it's coming in "2020" to your area but with pandemic, who knows.
Condo ASSociation should have done a survey and built common infrastructure for all residents - $8K would have been enough to run separate 200AMP circuit on its own meter and install 2 to 4 chargers. If they went with automated billing, EV Charging for Condos: Get Your HOA to Say “Yes” | ChargePoint it would still be cheaper if they build costs into pricing.
What about city itself? VW dieselgate settlement should have paid for at least 2 chargers in town :)
 

PalmBeachPaul

Member
Oct 7, 2019
54
53
Palm Beach FL
This makes the hassles I had wiring A 14/50 in my detached garage look like “child’s play”. Well done!!
I believe EV infrastructure should be required in all multi-dwelling parking facilities in the future. At a minimum it could be a common charging spot with a usage charge. No one should have to go through what you did.
 
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David29

Supporting Member
Aug 1, 2015
2,182
1,794
DEDHAM, MA
After 2 months with my Y (and two years previously of another EV), I finally finished my project to install a charger in my underground condo garage. This has been quite a project, from initially proposing the charger to the HOA to getting it installed.

Summary:

- ~800' total of wire, some ~200' conduit if I recall correctly
- Drilled through 3 floors of concrete to reach my space from the electrical room (lucky me, my space is on the bottom floor of the garage)
- Billed directly to my meter using a DCC-9 (50 amp) energy management system
- NEMA 14-50 outlet

View attachment 569969

FAQs for anyone considering similar solutions:

Since I know everyone is going to ask, how much did it cost? >$8k total, including all equipment, the electrician, concrete boring, permits, legal stuff for my HOA, etc.

Who paid for it? For this installation, me, 100%. The HOA paid for an electrician to evaluate common infrastructure way back when to see whether it was feasible to use common infra, but it wasn't. It may have been a free eval but the HOA has to pay the building management company for the escort for the electrician so they can get into the electrical room.

Why would you possibly pay that much? Because I consider it an investment in the property, it's a one-of-a-kind installation, and I enjoy the convenience. This project shows it's possible to retrofit older buildings (this one was built in ~2000) to allow for EV infrastructure, even without additional load calculations, transformers, etc. If I were building a new building would I use this method to install chargers? Absolutely not. But this building is 20 years old and this was my only option.

What does the DCC-9 do? It sits between my electrical meter and condo and is installed in the electrical room. When the total usage of my unit goes >80% of capacity, then the DCC-9 shuts off power to the charger. This means there doesn't have to be additional service or load calculations done, which is great for older buildings.

Why a DCC-9 instead of hooking up to common electrical in the garage? Our garage has zero outlets period, and the house panels were completely full. There is maybe one other EV owner, so paying to add a new transformer (or convincing the HOA to pay for it) was not going to happen.

Why a NEMA 14-50 instead of a 6-50? Yes, I know I don't need a neutral, but the 14-50 is a more common plug and considering the cost of the project, the incremental cost of the additional wire was not really an issue.

Why a DCC-9 50 amp? My service to my unit is 100 amp, so the 50 amp is the max I can have. DCC-9 has a 60 amp version if you have 125a service.

Why a NEMA 14-50 instead of hard wiring? I'm not going to live here forever, and either myself or future owners may not have Teslas. It's easier to unplug this considering 50a is the max I can have to the parking space anyways.

What if someone unplugs the charger and uses it for them self? The box above the outlet is a locking breaker box, so I can shut it off when I am on vacation and lock it. I don't have a lock yet, it's coming.

What if someone tries to steal your cord? This was just installed so I am planning on locking the cable to the pole, there's some metal reinforcement out of shot that I can tie something like a bike lock to. It's a secured garage so it's not that big of a deal.

Excellent write-up! Thanks for sharing that story. As someone else who traveled a similar road, I admire your determination and willingness to tackle such a costly project. My story ended up costing less, but also took nearly a year, including several trips to my condo board. We (those of us living in multi-family housing, condos or apartments) are all on a learning path and every solution contributes not only to the individual owner but also to the community's knowledge and experience.
 
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andrewmunsell

Member
May 18, 2020
29
91
Bellevue, WA
Thanks for taking a look everyone and all the positive feedback! It definitely isn't a project for everyone, but I'd rather have this than a renovated bathroom :)

Quite a story -- thanks for sharing.
You may wish to open the loops of the excess EVSE cable. There will be less heat generation.

Unsolicited opinion: the HOA were dicks, forcing you to to start at your Apt panel.

I'll probably do that, the cable does get warm but nowhere near uncomfortably so, but I should definitely make the loops bigger.

To be fair, the HOA was very supportive and cooperative, but to spend anywhere near this much (say, to upgrade the common infra to add a new panel and transformer), they'd have to have a vote from the owners and there's no chance that would pass. This isn't a super high-end multi-million-dollar unit condo complex, so the owners are more price conscious. One of the draws of this place was the low HOA dues, so everyone wants to keep it that way.

Look's great. Congrats on getting this done and so nicey.

Once thing I would consider is a locking cover box for the NEMA 14-50 so that while charging no one can unplug or steal the adapter from the outlet. Obviously they could still unplug the adapter from mobile connector. Honestly I would have a big lock box to leave the whole charger in when not using. But totally optional.

Right now the plan is to shut off the breaker (which is locked in the box above) when I'm not around, and physically lock the UMC cable to the concrete pole. The issue with the locking outlet box is that it's a UMC v2, so someone could actually just pop the adapter off and steal the expensive part.

Good for you. Here's hoping that you can receive some of that money back from the electrical company or even a state EV program that you haven't located yet. Yes, that HOA should be ashamed of themselves but most HOA's are.

I did the same thing in my Condo. Figured it was an upgrade for my unit and parking space. Good news is that I received a $1000.00 rebate from the utility company and that Florida passed a law in 2018 that the HOA cannot deny your request to install a charging station if local codes are followed.

Fortunately WA has no sales tax on EV charger-related install, which is an automatic ~$800 discount for me since everything I pay for has 10% sales tax on top of it -.-

Plus there's the federal tax credit of 30% up to $1k, so I'll get that back on my taxes come that time.
 

rjt!

Member
Sep 8, 2019
9
2
Atlanta, GA, USA
Beautiful work. I had much the same done in my condo. Our building dates from 1914 and was converted to a condo in 1995. Fortunately the wiring dates from then, not 1914 :). I also had the advantage of my unit being right directly above my indoor spot, so we only had to go thru one concrete floor to get to the garage, and the cable run was only 70 feet or so. And because it runs from my unit's breaker panel, I was able to sign up for the Georgia Power EV time-of-day billing.

I'm glad I made the investment!
 
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andrewmunsell

Member
May 18, 2020
29
91
Bellevue, WA
This makes the hassles I had wiring A 14/50 in my detached garage look like “child’s play”. Well done!!
I believe EV infrastructure should be required in all multi-dwelling parking facilities in the future. At a minimum it could be a common charging spot with a usage charge. No one should have to go through what you did.

Absolutely, with new buildings this should be a requirement in my state. But, WA doesn't even have a right-to-charge law, so the HOA would have technically been in their rights to deny the installation if they wanted to, and I could definitely see some HOAs doing that. Allowing retrofits and mandatory EV infrastructure in new construction would be good steps to adopting cleaner transport.

(Of course, instead, WA passed $225 in EV-only registration fees, so it's a little backwards).
 

lw03tor

Member
Feb 15, 2020
25
30
Toronto
Our condo is also 20 years old - 119 units. The power system only has the capacity to add 10 EV chargers so allowing one at a time becomes a problem down the road. Our condo board has installed a major unit allowing up to 40 EV connections not cheap but so far 25 have signed up for it, even though they don’t all own EV cars
Legislation here requires all new condos to have EV capability
Cost per unit will be about C$3500 including a charger (Like a Tesla destination unit)
 
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DvLang

Member
May 27, 2020
11
7
Langley BC
Thanks for sharing your experience setting up charging. It's a great help in thinking out how to plan my own situation out. I live in a condo building built-in 1976, it only has 38 parking spots in a building with 41 units. Thankfully my parking stall is only ~200ft from the main electrical room. Might be able to swap with one ~100 ft from it. I would still have to have the power run through 2 concrete walls minimum to get power into the garage. Even if mine is 8k it will be worth it as I will be saving 5k a year over daily driving my current minivan. So excited to get a Model 3 this fall.
 
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NormVA

Member
Jul 30, 2018
53
20
Reston
Congratulations. Very nice to have a charger.

I have a charger installed in front of my townhouse and I, also, had to deal with an HOA. Now they want to pass a standard requiring me to provide insurance covering them for $1M and also pay any additional charge for the HOAs insurance policy. Were you required to provide insurance for the HOA? If so, how much did it cost. Thanks, Norm
 
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mrbulk

Member
Sep 5, 2017
416
326
Las Vegas NV
Only $8000? To put things in perspective, if I were going to buy a condo in your building I would easily pay the $8000 extra for Your unit. With more and more EVs getting out there and not everybody wanting to own a regular house, talk about an appreciating real estate improvement...:cool:
 

andrewmunsell

Member
May 18, 2020
29
91
Bellevue, WA
Any chance you could get the other EV owner to change their parking spot next to yours and have them share some of the installation cost (and their share of the electric) so they could charge too?

One of the best things about this spot was that it's next to a wall and the elevator shaft, so there's no one actually right next to me and no chance of door dings :) Though, I did ask about pulling more wires through the conduit (so I could charge someone else to pull their own wire through my own conduit in the future to offload some of the cost), and it's too narrow for that. I might have been able to size up, but didn't bother.

Novice question:

is your EV outlet 120v, 240v, or 480v, & how does that affect cost?

I'm not an electrician but I believe that our building is 3-phase 208v, with the residential units connected to two of the phases. So, the 14-50 is a 208v outlet (the DCC-9 supports both 208v and 240v and just has to have a jumper re-connected internally to switch) and my car charges at 32a/~200v, which is about the same as the 6kW commercial J1772 units you'd see in an office building or something. Of course, with a UMC gen 1 or a Corded Mobile Connector I could bump it up to 40a/200v for a couple additional kW/mph, but for now this is a good option and saves $500 :)

I do not believe there was a difference cost due to the 208v. It would have cost less to run a 6-50 outlet (3 wires required and not 4, since the 14-50 has a neutral which is unused in EV charging), but I opted for the 14-50 because the incremental cost wasn't much compared to the whole project.

Congratulations. Very nice to have a charger.

I have a charger installed in front of my townhouse and I, also, had to deal with an HOA. Now they want to pass a standard requiring me to provide insurance covering them for $1M and also pay any additional charge for the HOAs insurance policy. Were you required to provide insurance for the HOA? If so, how much did it cost. Thanks, Norm

I have $1m liability coverage through my insurance already and asked for an umbrella quote (came out to ~$15/mo from StateFarm for me for a $1m umbrella), but the HOA did not ask for any specific insurance requirements from me. Insurance pricing is very personal so definitely ask your own company for a quote since it won't be the same as mine.

Only $8000? To put things in perspective, if I were going to buy a condo in your building I would easily pay the $8000 extra for Your unit. With more and more EVs getting out there and not everybody wanting to own a regular house, talk about an appreciating real estate improvement...:cool:

That's the hope in the event I ever sell or rent this place! Given most of the condo/apartment EV chargers in my city are only in very high end ($1m+ to buy or $5k+ to rent) units, it gives my unit a somewhat unique advantage in that it's not super high cost but has this amenity.
 
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