Installing EV Charging Stations for Multi Family Homes

Installing an EV Charger in your apartment, condo or townhouse can be more involved than installing one for a single family residence. Homeowners associations and municipalities are just now creating guidelines for installing EV chargers. You might get stuck with an inspector or an HOA that will make you jump through many hoops to make it happen. Fortunately, Chamberlin Power has been installing EV chargers in cities across the southland for many years. We know how to deal with the inspectors and HOA’s for you.

Problems with Installing EV Chargers

There are many options when it comes to installing an electric vehicle charging station in an apartment or condo. Each installation is as unique as every building on the block. It all depends on how your apartment, condo, or townhome was built.

Service Panel Placement

Find out where your main electrical service is. Knowing where your panel is, is very important to the process. You might not have access to see your main panel in some apartments and townhomes. Try to find out if you have space in the panel for another breaker, or if your panel can handle the extra load. When you call an electrician, they will most likely ask you questions about your panel to start, so make sure you do your homework.

Parking

The relationship between your main service panel and where you park your car is key to figuring out how much it will cost you. Parking-wise you have assigned parking spots that can be inside or outside, a shared parking lot that can be inside or outside, garages, driveways, etc. Level 2 EV Chargers come with a cord that plugs into your car. These cords are only 10-20ft long, so you need to be able to run power from your main panel or sub panel to a place where the EV charging unit or EVSE unit can reach your car.

HOA’s and Apartment Managers

Once you know where your panel is and how far away it is from your parking spot, it’s time to talk to your landlord, property manager or HOA. Here is where it can get tricky, some might have already have dealt with installing EV chargers. They will help you through it if they are familiar with the process. Others might say you can’t get one installed. If they tell you this you can show them this link from the CA.Gov website: https://www.driveclean.ca.gov/pev/Charging/Home_Charging/Multi-unit_Dwellings.php.
You can also send this link to the California State Senate Bill No.880: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0851-0900/sb_880_bill_20120229_chaptered.pdf.
Bill 880 protects residents of multi family dwellings by making it illegal to restrict residents from installing or having access to electricity to charge your electric or hybrid car.

What HOA’s and Property Managers Want

HOA’s and property managers might ask you for the following if you want to install an EV charger:

  • A licensed electrician to do the work
  • A permit from the city – Usually a permit is required for any construction or alterations to buildings in the city. Here are links to get permits in different cities:
  • A Site Plan or a Plot Plan – Usually this is an architectural plan, and a detailed engineering diagram showing proposed improvements to a lot of land.
  • A Load Schedule – A document that shows the power that is being used at your residence. Here is the form from Los Angeles Building and Safety
  • A Single-Line Diagram – This is a simple diagram showing where power is going.
  • UL ListedIs the EV Charger UL Listed or NRTL Listed? – Usually there are stickers on the unit that say they have been tested by a laboratory and that they are safe. If you see this logo on your device you should be good to go.

There are so many different factors that come in to play when installing a car charger in an apartment or condo. The fees are also larger than that of a single-family unit installation. Runs are much longer and sub panels might be needed, depending on the setting. Finding the best electrician to help you deal with these obstacles is a very important task. You need to find someone who has been around the block, installing these chargers in every type of setting from homes to offices to multi-dwelling units. Once you find the right electrician, the installation of the car charger should be a breeze.

You can learn more about Level 2 EV Charger installations here.