Charging outside - any insight from owners?

Charging outside - any insight from owners?

I am seriously considering a Model S (or, definitely getting a GenIII set: sedan, SUV and the new Roadster ;)

I bought a townhouse last summer in a community with common parking areas. I have no garage and no driveway, which I knew could be a problem since I've always wanted an EV. However, I like the house and community (which is why I bought it) and don't want to move yet again (I've moved 5 times in 10 years in the DC region...really freaking hate moving by now).

My assigned parking spot is less than 10 yards away from the front wall of my house, directly in line with the living room window (not far, easy to keep an eye out). I can easily have an underground line leading from the house to the parking spot, where an RV-style 240V outlet could be installed between the curb and sidewalk (needing HOA approval, of course).

This means that the car would be plugged in every night in all weather conditions all year 'round. I assume that this is not recommended. I live in the DC region, so there will be heavy rain at times from Spring to Fall, and there will be snow, sleet and freezing rain during the Winter.

Also, crime is fairly low in my area, so I do not anticipate vandalism (although it certainly could happen).

The closest information I could find on this website is that, when someone asked if the high-power wall connector could be installed outside, the Tesla answer was only one word: "yes". Not helpful - did they assume some sort of shelter when they answered, such as a carport roof? The question was not specific.

So, in short, I'm asking: is getting a Model S a faulty proposition for someone in my situation? This would apply to any car with a plug, really.

ghillair | 12. Juni 2013

RV parks and Marinas have had outdoor plugs for years.

The important thing is to have a breaker switch next to the plug. Make it a habit; breaker off while connecting and disconnecting.

Paul Koning | 12. Juni 2013

I distinctly remember seeing a statement that outdoor charging is just fine. You may need to have a rain cover on the outlet, and of course it needs to have the required protective equipment for outdoor outlets. (GCFI? Not sure, ask an electrician.)

I don't see why you'd want to have a breaker beside the plug. The brits do that sort of thing, but there is no good reason for it that I know of.

Tesla4JP | 12. Juni 2013

My opinion - Move! I'm sure all of those things would work, and it would be fine, BUT trust me, once you get this car you want it protected, and covered and treasured. I'd hate for you to set up all this electric and then decide to move after all that expense.

You may hate moving, but you would HATE not owning a Tesla more. Maybe things will settle down once the Gen 111 is out. I'm sure if you were charging a Leaf or other EV, not as big a deal, BUT a Model S will draw some serious attention. We get stopped in parking lots all the time. We are grateful to have it tucked away in our garage when we get home.

After parking at work all day, my husband will come home and take off all the "spots" accumulated & we don't have ANY snow. You will have months of snow to brush off every day.

I know, I know, it's just a car. Metal, glass, rubber......but not really!! It's a TESLA!!

Hopefully someone who has it outside can share their thoughts, but for me, I couldn't imagine it outside 24/7.

brandtlings | 12. Juni 2013

If it's any use, most public chargers are outdoors and most RV outlets are not under cover. They have purpose built outlet housings for that purpose. Something like this: Midwest U054C Rainproof RV Power Outlet Box with 50 Amp 14-50r Receptacle and 50 Amp Breaker

noshird | 12. Juni 2013

Its not a problem at all. Have charged my Tesla in the open (at work) all day, in thundering rainstorms, without a problem. The connection to the car itself is completeley waterproof.
Just make sure the NEMA 14-50 outlet you connect to has a waterproof box cover over it, that's where the risk lies.
Will have to wait another year for a snowstorm, haven't tried that yet.

Designtime | 12. Juni 2013

I charge outside at home with my NEMA 14-50. The receptacle has a all-season cover. I have zero issues.

shop | 12. Juni 2013

If you want to get fancy, you can buy a bollard and hide the connection inside that with only the cable coming through it. Here's an example, although you could do the same thing with a commercial bollard. Also the last post in this thread shows a cheaper alternative.

Brian H | 13. Juni 2013
Tom A | 13. Juni 2013

Sweet. Thanks for all of the suggestions! It is reassuring. Thanks for the pic, BrianH.

CarlE_P439 | 13. Juni 2013

I've been parking outside since I got my MS in December. Had a NEMA 14-50 installed with weatherproof casing (similar to BrianH but outlet is on the side of my house next to the driveway). The Universal Mobile Charger (UMC) is pretty hardy (mine was caked with ice after one huge storm and it worked fine). I live in Connecticut and outdoor parking and charging has not been a problem.

Oliver in Seattle | 13. Juni 2013

i had a HPWC installed because I charge outdoors and didn't like plugging and unplugging the UMC every day in the rain (Seattle). Also, coiling up the wet cable and putting it in the car wasn't great either. The HPWC is faster and more worry free for outdoors, and keeps the UMC clean and coiled in the car.

beskolnick | 13. Juni 2013

I am similarly situated while living in center city Philadelphia. I installed a NEMA 14-50 on the curb in front of my row house. It had been in use for 60 days. Lockable and water-resistant cover (as previously pictured). I have the added security of having a relay that can be switched on/off from the car so any potential issues in wet settings can be eliminated. Used a Lutron pica switch which eventually should be able to be controlled thru the homelink system. No issues with tampering so far.

Mark Z | 13. Juni 2013

Go for the HOA approval now to avoid disappointment later. Are time of use rates available? That may require a second meter, but your electric utility will know best. Permits and working with a good installer to install a HPWC or NEMA 14-50 will take time, but the results can be very satisfying.

Keep in mind that the national electric code requires a cutoff switch above 60 amps. NEMA 14-50 is okay, but the full 100 amp circuit braker for a HPWC will need the added cutoff switch. The HPWC can be used with a 60 amp braker and set to a lower amperage setting to not require the extra switch. Always have the electrician check local code and inspectors for your area.

albertb | 03. Dezember 2015

I know this is an old thread but I really like the deep cover Brian H has. I can't find the same one. Does anyone know exactly what waterproof box that is?

rmitchum | 04. Dezember 2015

Not Brian's set-up, but he was very adept at posting pictures on these forums early on. Both Hubbell and Intermatic make many likely candidates.
You could PM Ven Rala on TMC for specifics on the exact box in the picture. (link in shop's post just above the picture)

Here are leads on other deep boxes.