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No off-street parking - is my home-charging solution a bad idea?

Discussion in 'Supercharging & Charging Infrastructure' started by anktaggrwl, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. anktaggrwl

    anktaggrwl Member

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    I've ordered my first Tesla (MY) and in preparation for its delivery I'm debating on whether or not this charging solution I have in my mind is... just crazy or actually feasible?

    We're lucky enough to only live 1.5 miles away from a bank of gen 3 super chargers set to go live any week now so if the idea I have for home charging is not really a great idea, I can always super charge without much change to our normal routine (the superchargers are in the same lot as our local grocery store which we visit at least 1x week, and with our current and post-pandemic driving habits, could probably be ok with just supercharging 1-2x/wk at most).

    From what i've been reading, it seems like always super charging probably isn't the best thing to do for battery health, so ideally I'd like to rig up a way to charge my car while it's parked on the street.. which brings me to what i'm thinking about doing.. and I wanted to get a sense of whether or not others have done anything similar.

    We generally are able to park directly in front of our house most days (and on the days we can't, can generally move our car to be in front of the house at some point) - and in between the front of our house and where we would park the car is a 12 foot wide public sidewalk which is owned by the city.

    In front of our house is also a tree pit/small garden which my wife and I take care of (as is the typical expectation of residents in our neighborhood).

    The city rules and regulations prohibit us from running any kind of electric service underground into the tree pit from our house, and we also cannot have any permanent wires/cables running from the house on the surface of the sidewalk to our car out front as it's a very obvious trip-hazard...

    What I'm thinking about doing though, is running a 220v circuit and locating the plug to be about 14 feet up from the ground, attached to the outside front wall of our house, and then plugging in a heavy duty 220v NEMA 14-50 cord into the outlet and essentially stringing it along with our existing string lights 14 feet above the sidewalk and hanging the female end of the cord in a bundle within the branches of the tree in front of our how, which would then be accessible to us when our car is parked out front and needs to be charged (see attached pic, red drawing line would be cord running next to existing string lights above sidewalk and ending in branches or resting on a guide wire we have running up and down the block (which I installed) between our trees to allow neighbors that don't have a tree in front of their house to still attach string lights to, allowing the whole block to have a canopy of string lights like in the attached picture).

    I don't think this is a violation of any codes as we're not running cable directly on the surface of or under the sidewalk (so it's not a tripping issue and it's not a land rights issue as we're not running power to land we don't technically own) but... are there any other issues anyone can think of that might pose a problem if we go this route?

    Obviously there's always the risk that we can't park in front of our house on a given day/night, but we can generally do so overnight at least 3 days a week - and there may also be the risk that others notice what I've done and want to also plug into my outlet when we're not there (I say the more people that do this the merrier), and then I guess there's the liability aspect of it - where there may be the risk of someone getting electrocuted by playing with the cord while its tied up in the tree and not being used to charge (but I am considering putting a disconnect into the line to cut off power from the inside when not in use).

    IMG_3393.jpg

    Has anyone done anything similar before? If so, have you ever run into issues with actually charging? Weather, rain, snow, ice concerns with keeping a cord out at all times?

    Is this just crazy and not a good idea? Any other thoughts from city-dwellers in a similar situation?
     
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  2. jerry33

    jerry33 (S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20

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    The big problem is that the mobile connector is not rated for outside use. That means it's not watertight, just water resistant (this is referring to the box part of the mobile connector and the adapter receptacle). If you purchase the $520 mobile connector, then you only have the box to worry about. If there's some way you can cover the box (say, a doghouse) then you could be okay, maybe. You also need to cover the plug end (the Tesla end is fine in rain or snow.) BTW, wherever you got the information that SC is bad for the battery, it's basically a half truth. Because the rate of charge slows down as the battery fills, it never allows the battery to get past the safe zone. There may be a bit more degradation, but not enough to worry about. More important is to avoid having the battery below 20% or above 90% for a long period of time. So at the SC only charge to 90%.

    I'd suggest getting together with other EV owners (mainly Tesla and Leaf), and petitioning the city for either a variance or a rule change to allow fire hydrant type plugs.
     
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  3. jmaddr

    jmaddr Member

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    Wow. That sounds bonkers to me.

    - First you mentioned the potential urban codes you might be violating.
    - Then there is the liability of having a 240V circuit hanging in a tree you don’t own.
    - Then there’s the threat of weather blowing down your setup, or lightning striking that tree and dropping a live 240V feed to the sidewalk. See the liability point above.
    - Then there’s the theft risk of your UMC when you are charging.
    - And finally extending a 240V with a heavy duty extension code is not recommended (though admittedly others have had no issues).

    I just don’t see it. Lease instead of buy and supercharge away without regards to degradation. Or trade in 2 years or less than 30k miles when hopefully you will be somewhere it’s more convenient. Or ride it out on SC. Plenty on this site have supercharged almost exclusively (mainly MS) with some but not intolerable degradation.
     
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  4. anktaggrwl

    anktaggrwl Member

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    I was planning on also keeping the mobile connector with the car at all times, so would attach to the female part of the cord only at time of charge and keep the whole unit in car all other times. I'm afraid if I left that dangling, that it'd walk away when not in use.

    Noted about SC - thanks for the clarification.
     
  5. moa999

    moa999 Member

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  6. anktaggrwl

    anktaggrwl Member

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    Yeah I looked into the cable protector route but that's a definite no go. It doesn't matter if it's cable or a ramp, I can't have anything sitting on the sidewalk to the street, which is why I’m even considering ‘above’ the sidewalk.
     
  7. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Well-Known Member

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    Well, it only sounds a little crazy.
    That's something I absolutely, definitely wouldn't do though. I have a 14-50 extension cord, and they are ridiculously heavy. Don't do that. The point about being able to charge at home overnight is that you have lots of hours to do it. So you don't need high power charging that can finish in two or three hours. And especially with having a Supercharger nearby that can be your backup if you do need to refill faster for some reason.

    So if I were to even consider this, I would only do it with some kind of thinner wire like 12 gauge or 10 gauge to get a lower power connection out there that would be light enough and not ugly thick to string next to that string of lights. You can use the same thickness of wire, regardless of whether it's a 120V circuit or 240V circuit, so whatever you can hook it up to at the house is fine, but I probably wouldn't go any thicker than 10 gauge wire.

    So, eh, maybe, but I wouldn't be too concerned with Supercharging extensively either.
     
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  8. anktaggrwl

    anktaggrwl Member

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    It looks like we may be able to run power under the concrete sidewalk after all! Though the electricians I've also raised this quandary with, just as the people in this thread, seem to be mixed on code and allowances.

    We have minor use permits in our city that allow one to encroach on public space, such as sidewalks and streets. It's commonly used for when a restaurant wants to put out tables/chairs to allow for outdoor dining, or when someone wants to build a bay window out of the front of there house (and therefore encroach into the air past their property line)... turns out running electrical conduit/lines is one of the things we can also apply for - so.... this may all be possible just by running underground and locating an outlet on a post right next to our tree!

    With all that being said - i'm not sure any of it is entirely worth the cost and I think we're going to try trickle charging with a 10/12 awg cord at first (and plug into the same place the led lights plug into now off our second floor) and also go SC only and see how it works out... knowing we always have the option (potentially) to run 60amp 220v to a locked box on a post with a disconnect inside our house to cut off power from the public (and kids) when not in use.
     
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  9. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Well-Known Member

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    Love it, but with minor adjustments:
    Yes, this absolutely would be the best way, to drive a conduit under the sidewalk and get a little charging box right there.
    No, that doesn't make sense. The Tesla mobile charging cable only supplies a maximum of 32A, which would be from a 40 or 50A circuit. Tesla doesn't even make any adapters for 60A outlet types. Again, with what I mentioned before, since you would have this for many hours overnight, a 20-40 amp circuit would be plenty here.
     
  10. anktaggrwl

    anktaggrwl Member

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    Thanks for the tip! I'd seen documentation somewhere that you could use up to a 60amp circuit so my reasoning was that, if we're running it anyways and we have plenty of capacity in our panel (400amp service to the house), then why not run the full 60amp... but yes, didn't realize there may not be a compatible connector available.
     
  11. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Well-Known Member

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    That's the wall connectors that can use up to a 60A circuit. So if you were going to go for something that is more of an eyesore and bulky, you could mount a post with a wall connector out there on a 60A circuit, but that would get more flak from the city than just an unobtrusive little outlet box. So with the mobile charge cable, a 40 or 50 is about as high as you would usefully go.
     
  12. pb2000

    pb2000 Member

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    Stick with a 15 or 20A 240V circuit for anything temporary as the circuit is relatively cheap and easy to run and you can convert it to 120V if the other option works out. A 12 or 14 gauge extension cord is also pretty innocuous looking, so you'll be less likely to have nosy neighbors rat you out
     
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  13. westie10019

    westie10019 Member

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  14. westie10019

    westie10019 Member

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    WOW! I work in the electrical construction design industry! You are creating a RISK beyond belief, not only are you violating about 40 sections of the National Electrical Code. You are putting yourself and the public at risk! There are 100 things that could go wrong and put people's lives at risk along with your life. The legal liability you are exposed to are HUGE! I would suggest you either hire a licensed electrical contractor or electrical consultation firm. Electrical work is a profession, not a hobby. I could go on for hours with things I have witnessed like this and the results sometimes were tragic!
     
  15. pb2000

    pb2000 Member

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    I think you're overreacting a wee bit, considering the OP is trying to go through the correct channels and doesn't even have the car yet. The aerial solution would need some tweaks if it had to be semi-permanent, but compared to the average xmas light installation, it seems downright safe.
     
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  16. anktaggrwl

    anktaggrwl Member

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    Thanks for the concern - Understood about your points.

    All of this has been run by various licensed electricians and I’ve gotten 4 different responses on what is/isn’t allowed so far.

    1 suggested the 120v overheard cord solution (not much different than the lights), another suggested a dedicated service line to the tree pit underground then 220v outlet on a post in the pit, another suggested 220v on the front brick and go ahead with a dryer cord across the sidewalk in the air (didn’t like that idea much given the weight of the cord, and issue of if it falls, etc.) and the other suggested service cable to 14' high, connect to a post 14' high, then come down the post and mount the outlet/box on the post.

    Whatever we decide will be done by a licensed electrician and permitted by the city before proceeding. My intent was more to see if anyone else out there has done anything similar yet for those that live in areas with no off-street parking but so far it seems like, at least of those that have seen this post, probably no.
     
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  17. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Well-Known Member

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  18. anktaggrwl

    anktaggrwl Member

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    Yes! that's a neat looking elegant solution that could be implemented if we get the right of way to run power to our sidewalk underground - this is great, thanks for the link!
     
  19. hmcgregoraz

    hmcgregoraz Member

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    Hi,

    Long term solution, I would recommend a Tesla Wall Connector (which is outdoor rated), installed on a metal pedestal near the tree with proper permits, and with a cut off switch inside your property. This would not be the circuit breaker, but a proper disconnect that is rated for at least one on/off per day. Getting approval for the setup above in the curbside charging station would be far more difficult vs a fully approved/rated Tesla Wall Connector or other EVSE. You may have an easier time getting the city to approve a more universal EVSE, but in either case, this may become more common of a request, and as long as you have a disconnect to prevent people from using your electricity, I could see the city easily approving it.

    Clipper Creek has a pedestal that works for both the Tesla Wall Connector and their EVSEs: TESLA® Wall Connector Pedestal for TESLA® Charging Stations EVPosts is another one: Tesla Charger Pedestals | Electric Vehicle Charger | EV Wall Connector. I am sure your electrician can come up with other options. I would run a 60amp circuit with the car being able to charge at 48 amps.

    You could also see about a 14-50 on a pedestal as an RV outlet, but I suspect the City will be less likely to approve something someone could shove something into and cause damage or hurt them selves (hardwired EVSE, either Clipper Creek or Tesla Wall Connector is going to be safer)

    Short term I have used a heavy (10 gauge) extension cord to run 120V for the mobile connector, the mobile connector is outdoor rated, but can not be "sitting" in water. Rain, even driving rain is OK, but sitting in snow or a puddle is not).

    Trickle charging via the tree and something similar to your string of lights type setup would be OK, as long as you have proper drip loops setup to take water away from the connection with the extension cord, not to the connection. You can always turn down the amperage at the car.

    -Harry
     

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