Condo Approaches to EV charging (multifamily housing solutions)

Condo Approaches to EV charging (multifamily housing solutions)

My condo association is worried that my Model S, plugged in to a common 110 electrical outlet will burden other owner's with increased condo dues. My Tesla happens to be the first EV in this 236 space, four story garage.

At the encouragement of a condo specialty law firm, the board has created a new bylaw just for me and for all future ev owners. It requires 1) Installation of a submeter, 2) The Purchase of Liability Insurance in the amount of $1M, 3) Meter maintenance, 4) Meter removal should I sell my condo unit.

I have asked the board to consider letting me use the existing 110 volt plug until I can research what the best approach to EV charging in the garage might be. Do any of you have any solutions that seem to be working? My temporary request of them is to allow me to be billed based on my odometer reading. Is there any other accurate meter that I might be able to use that is already built into my Model S?

I have a few weeks to research a set of options that would work for both myself and all the other owners in a fair manner. The building is a 27 story high rise in Columbus Ohio with 113 condo units and 236 parking spaces. I am hoping multi family dwelling Tesla owners might collectively have a "beneficial for all" solution... Thanks for your comments and insights.

Blueshift | September 30, 2013

The requirement to remove the meter should you sell your condo seems very short sighted. I would try to convince the board (your neighbors presumably) that an EV revolution is coming. In ten years they may find that a quarter or more of all residents have EVs. Facilities for EV charging in this case will only increase property value. They might want to plan for this and act in accordance with the plan.

Regarding the best technical solution for a condo garage, I'm not sure. I guess the solution must somehow allocate costs to individuals. Even though an average car probably only use on the order of $2/day in electricity.

Earl and Nagin ... | September 30, 2013

If you are using an existing 120 volt outlet to charge, I highly recommend you make sure your charging current is 12 amps since that outlet is likely to share a breaker with other outlets. If you draw the full 15 amps, the breaker could trip if someone plugs something else into another outlet. You certainly won't be able to have more than one EV charging from that outlet.

Kudos to you for being a Tesla pioneer and leading the way! You've just made it that much easier for the next person in your complex to buy an EV.

NYC Realtor | September 30, 2013

How about this portable meter, I found on Amazon for $99

Tell your board how some buildings are thrilled with electric cars and provide free charging because EVs mean no toxic exhaust inside the building, less dirt and soot to clean and less heat in the garage in the summer (=less A/C spending)

Roxanne's Curator | September 30, 2013

I love the portable meter idea. Thank you! In a conversation today with the Tesla Ownership team, a sharp individual there suggested using the "trip" feature of the Model S which tracks actual kilowatt hours used over time in the vehicle.

On the website is also a calculator that will get very accurate electric cost info if one enters all the components of the calculation. On October 16, 2013 I have a presentation to make to the board regarding my input on behalf of all future owner/ev users.

If anyone is interested in the four page new set of "rules" I would be happy to post a link to it here for your review and comments.

Brian H | September 30, 2013

Tell them you will pay them for the maximum power that the car would be able to draw if parked there 24/7. That is likely $2-5/day.

cb9 | October 1, 2013

Does the trip meter include vampire load?

2-Star | October 1, 2013

I couldn't find a power meter on Amazon that plugs into my NEMA 14-50 outlet, with a second NEMA 14-50 outlet into which I can plug my UMC. Does anyone know where I might buy one? Thank you,
Fred Towers

Getting Amped Again | October 2, 2013

I've used this meter on a 110V outlet in my condo carport since February -

I pay the HOA the cost of the electricity plus a $5 "fee" every month just so the other owners understand that the HOA is making a profit off my use of common area electricity. My bill is usually about $35 a month.

I only drive 30-40 miles a day and live in a temperate climate with Level 2 charging close by. It works for me, but if you charge on 110 I suggest you always have a "Plan B".

Earl and Nagin ... | October 4, 2013

Regarding the "Watts-Up" portable energy meter that NYC Realtor found: This is limited to 12.5 amps at 120 volts, meaning you must reduce your charging current to 12 amps if you are going to use this. the full 15 amps will likely burn out the meter.

Roxanne's Curator | October 8, 2013

The solution that seems best for me is to install a NEMA 14-50 240V plug and commercial meter adjacent to my parking spot. I will present this to my board on 10/16 for their reaction and hopeful approval.

Meanwhile I was able to negiate the use of a 110 outlet and to pay for the electricty the vehicle uses as measured by one or more of the on board electrical usage meters. The trip meter seems easiest. It has a clear display of kwh's used since the begining of each trip. It could be reset at each meter reading.

Bigger issue will be how to handle a garage full of Teslas! The car has received an awful lot of attention.

Brian H | October 8, 2013

Be aware that, especially with 110V, you will draw much more than the trip meter shows. Inefficiencies and losses are likely to be 25%, maybe more, that is wasted.

Roxanne's Curator | October 9, 2013

Dear Brian,

Thank you so much for the perspective. Do you have any added insight on why you feel the trip meter may be so inaccurate? Particularly with the 110 volt plub? Folks at Tesla I spoke with seemed to feel that the trip meter was a good measure of kwh's used for the time frame in question starting with point a and ending with point b of any particular trip including "resting" time.

Alex K | October 9, 2013

Yes, the trip meter tells you how much power the car consumed. But the charging process is not 100% efficient, so that the amount of power coming from your wall outlet will be greater than what is put back into the batteries.

Elon's_Right_Ha... | December 17, 2013


Call up 'EverCharge.' They are the only service that I have found that installs chargers specifically at condos and apartments. It might be worth just giving them a call to see what's what.

Elon's_Right_Ha... | December 17, 2013

I read about EverCharge via this blog post:

hitesh2269 | February 17, 2014

How about if you try to install in your condo parking area with solar panel to your electrical outlet so this way atleast in summer or daylight you might save some energy bill.I think tesla is going to install in future solar panel at there supercharging station to reduce the cost of energy bill.