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Outdoor EV charging - LEGAL direct plug-in options?

I'm a Model S owner. I also manage 100+ different communities (HOAs and condos) in the Charleston, SC region. We're seeing interest in EV charging at uncovered parking areas. I have a tech question that I need to find the definitive answer to.

Sources online show that for true outdoor charging (Bring your own plug) NFPA Code won't allow the Association to put a NEMA 14-50 outlet in the common area for the purposes of EV charging. Makes a little sense. (think: kid and fork). But that thought is tossed aside since there are thousands of RV-type outdoor enclosures all over the USA.

This box would be ideal, I think as it would cover the spectrum for EVs today. 50, 30 and 20A

STILL, from all that I have read on the codes and proposed updates to the 2014 NFPA, there is still NO provision to lawfully place an RV-type outlet box OUTDOORS for charging an EV. The exclusion centers on the weight of the EVSA and the heavier 220V cord. One could understand that too... yet almost all of us have a NEMA 14-50 with our EVSA and cord hanging from it...

Puzzled and researched-out... Does anyone know of a certain provision that allows placement of such a box or another plugin option that is "future-ready."

Secondarily, and presuming there is no definitive answer to the above, I can't find anything on the specs for a rainproof (or otherwise safe) 120V outdoor outlet/box specified in the code as OK for EVs.

I don't want to offer my clients short-sighted solutions. Obviously we could recommend and install a J1772 system but most communities don't want to ante up the cash for that. I'm not interested in reinventing the wheel but as a company (Community Management Group), we're not afraid to be a pioneer either.

Curious about FACTS on Code for outdoor plug/power access, if anyone knows for sure... and plenty of OPINIONS on hyper-local EV charging access. Thanks!!
 
GE makes one of these that they sell through Home Depot for under $500 delivered. The communities are not looking to install chargers themselves but instead, looking for options to lawfully provide outdoor receptacle outlets so that you can plug in your own portable cord. There seems to be no legal way to provide an RV-type power tap for EV use.
 

davewill

Active Member
Feb 5, 2014
1,831
2,086
San Diego, CA, US
That's weird. It's not as common as it used to be, but around here parking lots often had outlets for plugging block heaters into.
Not that weird. I'm sure you still can have an outlet for a block heater. I pretty sure he could put in the 14-50 if it was for an RV...but since it's for EV charging, they are insisting he have a proper EVSE.
 

deonb

Active Member
Mar 4, 2013
4,061
4,361
Redmond, WA
There seems to be no legal way to provide an RV-type power tap for EV use.


Could you just officially install them for RV use? It's a parking lot after all. Maybe a lot of your tenants have a Class C that they want to plug in to cool the fridge before a trip...

I'm not sure an RV box will be much cheaper than a J1772 though. By the time you paid for the copper, installation and custom NEMA 14-50 box, going up to a J1772 will be a small fraction of the expense.
 
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FlasherZ

Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv
Jun 21, 2012
7,028
1,025
Sources online show that for true outdoor charging (Bring your own plug) NFPA Code won't allow the Association to put a NEMA 14-50 outlet in the common area for the purposes of EV charging. Makes a little sense. (think: kid and fork). But that thought is tossed aside since there are thousands of RV-type outdoor enclosures all over the USA.

What provision of the code is quoted as stopping outdoor charging?

There are several schools of thought here:

1. NEC 2014 article 625 permits cord-and-plug connected EVSE equipment at 240V. It requires that the EVSE be "fastened in place", but offering a simple hook just below the outlet could meet that code.

2. Some people look at the UMC / plug-connected EVSE as an appliance and therefore not under the jurisdiction of the NEC. In this case, a legally-installed outdoor RV panel is sufficient.

(Most jurisdictions are still on 2011 code anyway, and 2011 code doesn't require that the equipment be fastened in place, so just simple protected outdoor receptacles are sufficient...)
 
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miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,852
6,740
Los Altos, CA
I say you should work with an electrician to draw up plans to do the NEMA 14-50 outlets they way you think it should be and get permits for it at one sample community. Before you spend any money on hardware or installation labor, get a meeting with the inspector to go over your concerns with the code regarding EV infrastructure. They should be able to tell you whether it will pass if you build it to plan. I say you should get the meeting with the inspector because the plan check people (if your jurisdiction has such a thing for this type of application) do not have the final say.
 

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