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Need Recharging Outlets in Public Garages Used by Residents of Multi-Unit Buildings

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by Curt Renz, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. Curt Renz

    Curt Renz Active Member

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    Tesla Motors is essentially limiting its market to dwellers of single family homes. They can recharge electric cars overnight in their own garages. Many of us who reside in multiple unit buildings must park in public garages. I’m one of them. I could buy several Model S’s with my profits in TSLA shares. I’d love to own one, but cannot because our municipal garage does not have outlets for recharging.

    Elon Musk was asked about this at the shareholders meeting. He seemed lost for an answer. I’ve been lobbying my town’s officials, but they want to see more demand. Of course that’s a chicken and egg problem: which comes first, electric cars or recharging outlets? I really hope that Tesla Motors gets working with the owners of public garages to speed up the implementation of recharging outlets.

    Are you in a similar situation as me? If so, what do you plan to do about it in your town?
     
  2. GlennAlanBerry

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    Well, as total EV sales continue to go up over the next few years, I think there will be enough demand for charging solutions in multi-unit buildings that some building owners will decide they need to respond as a competitive measure. Hopefully we will see more and more places to charge (that are better than the typical L2 30 amp station) so that this issue goes away over time.
     
  3. GSP

    GSP Member

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    #3 GSP, Jul 20, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
    I would continue pushing to get permission to run power to your parking space at your own expense. Be persistent. If that doesn't work, consider moving. It should not be hard to find more sympathetic management.

    Good Luck,

    GSP
     
  4. Ven Rala

    Ven Rala Member

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    I live in a co-op townhouse community (with no garages). My (reserved) parking space is about 150 feet from our townhouse. I pushed my co-op board to install a NEMA 10-30 outlet at my parking space. The only way for me to get this to work was to run a line from my townhouse (underground, through a brick wall and down to my parking space), which was costly ~$2500. As early adopters we need to push the envelope. Many people in my co-op, including the board had concerns, questions, etc, but thankfully were open minded. After many of them saw the car (after I finally got it 6 months later), they were all blown away and I think then understood why I went to so much trouble. I was the first in our 75 townhouse community to get an EV, but I am sure there will be more in the future.

    Of course, doing this in a rental property is harder, but management needs to know that this will be a growing demand and properties that have EV charging will have more potential renters. Keep asking and bugging them, when they know there is demand, then they may change their minds. Also consider getting a petition with other residents (if you know enough of them well enough) to ask for charging stations. There are companies that cater to multi-dwelling facilities that will install with no charge to the facility, of course they charge the users, but it is a good first step.
     
  5. evme

    evme Member

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    I don't think it is too much issue for the Model S as most owners either have access to a garage or as others pointed out afford to spend their own money to make changes and make it work. Now it does become more of an issue when then Gen III comes into play.

    Tesla is pretty much powerless to do anything about it because it depends on the city in question. Luckily there are 111,860,000 occupied houses which is pretty big enough for Tesla to market to without any issues.

    Here in NYC, bloomberg is planning on changing the building codes that require 20% of new parking to be EV friendly, which is definitely a start in the right direction though. NYC is the biggest city in the country so it opens up a lot of potential.

    But so far, I think the best solution is to see how much it would cost to install in the garage. I think some states and utilities also offer subsidies for these installations.
     
  6. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #6 ChadS, Jul 20, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2013
    A couple of years ago I heard somebody from Vancouver, B.C. tell a story of how they got regulations in for new buildings.

    A group of EV enthusiasts approached members of the metropolitan government to ask about regulations for new buildings. Of course, there were very few EVs at the time, so very few constituents that cared, so nobody wanted to take it on. But the EV advocates (who were members of the Vancouver EV Association) noted that the housing commission was mostly volunteers. So, they volunteered. There were some negotiations that I'll skip over, but in the end they got in a rule saying that a certain percentage of new apartments must have wiring to enable an EVSE. Of course the developers were all up in arms about how much this was going to drive up their costs.

    But once the regulation was in place...the developers quickly found that the wired units sold faster, and for a premium, over the unwired units (not all of them were for EVSEs - some wanted the power for other things). Now they are wiring more units than the regulations mandate. Pre-wiring costs almost nothing compared to the cost of retrofitting.

    Of course, that only works for new buildings. For existing buildings, the usual approach is for the tenant or condo owner to pay for upgrades and installation; but the landlord or association get benefits because the property has been improved, so there is incentive for them to allow it. Still, as you can imagine, there are a lot of people that don't like (and/or don't understand) EVs and are happy to try to use their quasi-governmental power on HOAs to block them this way. So some states (Hawaii was the first; California and at least one other state followed) passed a law saying that a landlord or homeowner's association can't "unreasonably" refuse a request to install charging equipment as long as the EV owner pays for it. This was modeled after similar laws allowing solar panels to be installed despite HOA objections. As you can imagine there are still cases where the HOA is objecting and claiming their objection is "reasonable" so it doesn't solve all issues. But it does make it easier.

    In both cases (wiring new buildings and re-wiring old) there are financial incentives for the HOAs, but because it's new they usually don't realize they are there. They don't understand that people will pay to have access to charging, or that the numbers of EV owners are growing, and they will choose to live in places that can accommodate them. They just see extra work to be done and considerations to be made and they assume it is a handout for smug people. Emphasizing the benefits to the HOA is important. I prefer things when people see what's in their own best interest and do it for that reason. But there has been so much FUD spread about EVs that many people are just "against" them reflexively, and it seems like regulations may be necessary to keep them from making life hard on EV owners just because they can.
     
  7. Jackl1956

    Jackl1956 Member

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    Curt Renz and the charging conundrum

    The notion that Curt Renz cannot buy a Tesla is pissing me off. He has stated that he lives in a high-rise that does not afford him a reasonable charging solution. We are smarter than this. What are the options? What are the work arounds? Let's find a solution.
     
  8. Cattledog

    Cattledog Active Member

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    No great epiphany here, but as a parking structure/ obviously with significant lighting, perhaps mechanical ventilation, elevators(s), etc. it will have a main electrical room, likely on the ground level. Locating charging points as close to that as possible is critical to reduce cost for conduit/wire runs, poking/drilling through walls and structure, etc.

    Other less convenient thought is to set one up at work so that you nail 5 days/week and only may have to worry every so often about the weekend. Good luck!
     
  9. evme

    evme Member

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    Can't he get a electrician to do an evaluation and give at least an estimate how much it would cost to make the spot chargeable? It might be cheaper then we all think. But it might also require a certain certified commercial electrician so the cost may be higher then normal.

    That said there are programs that allow you to get the cost subsidized. If his garage parking is located at a central area, some utilities and charge companies are willing to do it for free even.
     
  10. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    A friend of mine recently sold his house and bought a condo. It was a new building, but not wired for EVSEs. As part of his purchase he negotiated installing two Nema 14-50s, one for each of his parking spots in the condo garage. The building wasn't full yet so they gave him parking spots that minimized the cable run.
    Another friend in the same building negotiated to swap his parking spot to nearby ( to make for a shorter and cheaper cable run ). Luckily for him the negotiation was easy because he was giving up a better space ( closer to the exit floor ).

    If you're in a multi-unit building that is a condo with its own garage, it should be doable.
     
  11. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    When he posted this a few days back, my first reaction was Holy Unprintable!

    But then I thought of our own situation (Arizona mode). Mom-in-law's place is always our go-to site in the Valley of the Sun (coming from 80 miles out). But she lives in a townhouse complex, and its parking lot has zero 120V 15A outlets, to say nothing of anything stouter. That means we'll be spinning our wheels there - no chance of recharging in PHX unless we hand out at Fashion Square Mall* and snag the TM storefront's charging site, or wander around the (still not open????) Tesla Service Center.

    *And whatinell am I supposed to do in a shopping mall, fer cry-i? Yecch!

    Anyway, I fear there are a lot more people than just Curt and us who are in similar boats.
     
  12. hiroshiy

    hiroshiy Active Member

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    @Curt: Do you commute to work? If so did you try your company parking or public parkings around? It is difficult to find public parkings which accomodate EV charging, but at least that's what I did as I can't charge at home. Still waiting for MS deliverty!
     
  13. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Things will start to change when more and more people start demanding it but until then it will be a case by case fight with each landlord.
     
  14. jomo25

    jomo25 P4398

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    #15 jomo25, Aug 3, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
    I've just been way too busy to post a final summary of my situation. But it speaks directly to this. My intention was to eventually post a message to Elon and GeorgeB about my ordeal as well. (They actually did get involved during it because at one point I asked them for advice). I think they would be very interested. I see them, esp. Elon being very focused on eliminating, one by one, all the reasons that people can't or won't buy an electric car.

    Great looks? Check.
    Great performance? Check.
    Very usable range options? Check.
    Long distance travel? Check.
    Quick refill? Check.
    Worries about battery longevity and warranty? Check.
    Worries about long term value of the vehicle? Check.
    Working with states that require dealers? Working on it.

    The one they havent addressed is the ability for people to charge in dense urban settings - i.e. having charging capabilities in shared garage situations.

    While Tesla has made the EV more than just an urban vehicle, it is still at its core a wonderful option for urbanites. But many urbanites in large cities (or city centers) live in multi-unit dwellings with shared garages. The options to get charging are two: either the building/garage installs shared charging stations for residents use or petition the building managers to install their own. For residences, this usually means working with the HOA.

    In scenarios similar to the old "satellite dish" fights, many HOAs still resist allowing residents to install their own charging. And if they dont want to install shared stations (or simply dont have the parking spaces to allocate), then this precludes anyone in the building from considering an EV.

    In my case, there were no spaces to allocate. The only non-assigned spaces were those that were mandated to be ADA accessible, so we could not use any of those. I had a proposal in hand from Ecotality to get up to 4 Blink stations installed for the community at no cost. All we had to do was find the spaces to put them and we couldn't. So, my only recourse was to pursue a personal outlet/station at my parking spaces. So I put in a request to the HOA. Sadly, the HOA had been run by very risk averse, EV skeptics who, I've learned simply didnt' want to open the door to such a request.

    They threw everything in terms of arguments at me:
    - "I heard these cars explode and we can't take that risk"
    - "EVs aren't an established form of transport yet and we can't support every odd form of transport out there, i.e. what if someone wants to put a CNG refilling station at their spot"
    - "If we allow you to install an outlet at your space, it might set the precedent to allow someone to install a car wash at their spot"

    I worked with them for 15 months to give me lots of lead time knowing that I would eventually place an order for the MS. (I already had a Volt, but because my wife had charging capability at work and it had the range extender, we didn't require charging at home) But because of their intransigence, I had to delay my order for the MS. While I was investigating, they were cooperating with me and being positive.

    It was only when I made what was my original final proposal that they put those arguments up against me. It was at this point that I sent a long message to Elon and GeorgeB for their advice and both responded. THey put me in touch with Walter Franck who helped me try to refine my proposal to address their "concerns". I requested (and did finally get) a special Board session to re-visit my revised proposal. I had them agree to let me conference in Walter during the special session. But during the session, when the topic turned to "explosions" and "viability of EVs" I tried to conference him in, and they flatly refused me saying "We don't want to talk to you Tesla salesman".

    Fortunately for me, the Board did have one member appointed by the Declarant (since our building still had developer-owned units) who understood that EVs would be a big part of the future, whether they liked it or not, and likened this to the satellite dish fights of the past. He also referenced (which I directed him to) the laws passed in CA regarding the topic. (He noted efforts in CO to push for similar laws and expected them see more in other states). And as I had the support of several residents in attendance who learned of this ordeal, they did actually approve my request, with a list of stipulations including having a $1M umbrella policy, separate metering, and the charging solution must be UL approved, and the EVSE must have a physical on/off switch (highlighting their ignorance IMO). Furthermore, I'd have to have any future owner of my unit agree to sign a statement that they would follow the stipulations as well if I sold my unit. Their add'l stipulations cost me about $2000 more for my install (which was already high since my spaces were 300 linear feet from the nearest electrical room). But I followed them to the letter and got it installed, inspected by the city, and I've been using it for 3+ months.

    Even after installation, they continued to hassle me about a couple of "issues" they had with it. All of which I fought and "won". They haven't bothered me in the last month, and I *think* we're past all of their hassling now. But at the last Board meeting where I went on record to tell them of how poorly I was treated in this, one of the Board members stated that my station will be the only one to be installed. That there "wasn't capacity to install any more". Which is complete BS. My contractor said t the time mine was installed they could support 4-6 more from the panel I'm on. And there's an additional panel because our garage is shared among 2 residential high rises. Their attitude is clear.

    Anyways, this long post is still just a summary of my whole ordeal. And while I am happy to report that I now have charging capability for my MS and Volt, my point in this is that this is still a very significant barrier to EV adoption. Aside from the NADA wranglings, I'd argue it is now the largest one as Elon and team have done a great job of addressing most the others ahead of it.

    So, I do hope that Elon will consider this barrier and choose to take it on. Its not just a matter of finding an electrician and getting it done like it is in your own garage. And a large block of potential EV buyers live in such communities.

    - - - Updated - - -

    For clarity, the Tesla storefront is in the Scottsdale Mall. It is open. They do have 2-3 70A chargers in the parking garage nearest the store. The PHX-area service center is open, but in a temp location in north central PHX (SR51 and 101). It will eventually move to permanent location in north Scottsdale (Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd).

    Not to open a Chademo discussion here, but there are plenty of Chademo stations IN and around town. If there was an adapter, you'd be able to charge at any of them as well if you couldn't get charging at your M-I-L's garage. Works for a temp basis I suppose. But I'd understand wanting a real solution in her garage.
     
  15. jomo25

    jomo25 P4398

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    This issue came up on the Q2 call yesterday. Sounds like it is on their radar. I really hope they do try to tackle it.

    Snippet from one of the LIve blogs of the call:
    IMG_0072.PNG
     

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