Building Codes Supporting EV Charging for Apartments

Discussion in 'General' started by Guy Hall, Dec 18, 2020.

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  1. Guy Hall

    Guy Hall New Member

    EV knowledgeable electricians, engineers, and wise ones,

    we know that we have to provide families in apartments with the option of having an EV. We’re working on some potential building codes for new apartment complexes. We’d like to allow both shared L2 and simple L1 solutions. What would you like to see in a building code? Some questions and concerns that have come up include:
    • Vandalism: How real should be the concern? How to protect against it?
    • Wear and tear: Can NEMA 5-15/5-20 receptacles hold up to the daily outdoor insertions?
    • Cost: need to be sensitive to the cost for builders, tenants and owners.
    • Tenants: what best meets the needs of tenants? How do their needs differ from homeowners?
    • Sharing: can unassigned charging spaces be practically utilized in an apartment complex?
    • J1772: which is preferred in an apartment complex with assigned parking: J1772 or NEMA receptacle?
    What's the braintrust think?

    Guy Hall, EAA (Electric Auto Association)
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  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Some lessons learned:
    • Having any sort of identifier minimizes abuse. For example, ChargePoint can be configured to be free yet still require an RFID card authentication. Knowing who was the last user solves EV owner abuse of the equipment.
    • Buy the annual maintenance contract as stuff breaks and repair skills and parts are different.
      • See if a nuisance charge can apply to the maintenance contract and let users know what it pays for.
    • Use maximum rate, 40-48A - underpowered chargers are the bane of EVs.
    • Locate away from 'popular' parking places so ICE cars won't be temped.
    • Security camera and lighting.
    • One J1772 per two parking spots.
    Bob Wilson
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2020
  4. Guy Hall

    Guy Hall New Member

    Thanks for the comments.
    The target for these requirements are for new apartment complexes becoming available in 2024 and having long lifetimes.

    Do you expect two different apartments to share a j1772 or are you presuming less than 50% of apartments to have EVs?

    Why 40 to 48 amps? Would you prefer 20% of spaces have 40+ amps and others nil? Or that 80% have 120V 20amps each? And why?

    Thanks, Guy
  5. Since most EV's come with a Level 1 and or a level 2 EVSE I would think all that is needed would be lockable receptacles. They could be in designated charging spots or they could be at all spots with the number of activated and in use receptacles limited to the available power by a smart controller. That way there is little opportunity for vandalism. A smart receptacle could be unlocked and activated by a tenant with a pass code this would allow identification of who accessed the receptacle and how much energy they used. I agree that there should be 240v 40/48 amps available as this allows for the quickest charging allowing more ev's to use the receptacle during the day. If less than 240 v 40/48a charging is needed an adapter could be used. Home owners often put in a nema 14-50( or 14-60 plug). This should be suffient for apartment dwellers as well. It is access to power that is critical not the charger it self.
  6. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Does your operational scenario anticipate assigned per apartment parking spots and per charger bill back to the apartment?

    I was think of a parking lot without hard parking space assignments ... more like a shopping center parking lot. Also, I don't see ICE bans removing the pre-ban, ICE vehicles. Short of a buy-back program, I anticipate legacy ICE vehicles will be around for decades.

    Bob Wilson
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  8. I expect most people will have there own portable J1772 EVSE as people tend to carry one on road trips so only shared outlets are needed. 2 parking spots can share an outlet. Therefore 20 % of the total number of parking spots for out lets can actually cover 40% of actual parking spots. With longer cords it could easily cover 4 spots making it available to every spot. For example a plug between the 3rd and 4th parking space and one between the 6th and 7th parking space can cover10 spaces with 2 outlets. Of course the same is true of fixed in place EVSEs

    A 240 v 40+ amp EVSE will easy charge most EV over night or less while a 120 v 20 amp may take 2 days. That is the case for my Kona EV; 9 hours at 40 amp 240 volt, 49 hrs at 120 v 20amp. Obviously most people don't run their battery's completely down nor do they regularly charge to 100 %. For me a typical 240 volt charge is 4-5 hrs and I don't usually charge 120 volt because of the length of time to get a reasonable charge. 20 % at 240v 40+amps will provide more charging than 80% at 120v 20 amps.
  9. DJP

    DJP Member

  10. Recoil45

    Recoil45 Active Member

    If you allow indoor charging I would consider additional fireproofing and automated alarm reporting.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude Active Member

    No. It’s a bad idea to do these types of mandates. Mandates like this always result in inefficient use of resources. Nobody knows what the best configuration is for cost effective apartment charging and mandates by definition only allow certain solutions to occur. It is best to just let apartment owners to figure this out on their own.

    In any case, it is far more sensible to focus getting 50 kw DC chargers in heavily trafficked shopping areas (eg grocery stores or strip malls) and focus on improving the network of DCFC along major traveling routes.

    Getting this infrastructure rolled out benefits all potential EV drivers regardless of what their living situation is.

    Involving the government only slows things down and makes things unnecessarily complicated.
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  13. Bruce M.

    Bruce M. Active Member

    Gotta disagree with Southern Dude on this one. The way to widespread EV adoption it so make it easy, cheap and simple for people to charge at home -- charge your EV while you sleep and you don't have to worry about whether the shopping center you're going to has a charging station, or whether it's occupied or malfunctioning. Governments should subsidize installation in apartment garages so that charging can be free or at least cheap.
    DJP likes this.
  14. I also hate to disagree with SD. But it is cheaper and easier to do an EV outlet installation at build time than later, esp if the wiring and panel were not set up to support it. And also having to get permits, strata approvals, etc, can be a hassle.
    DJP likes this.
  15. Yup - not having an available charging option at my apartment building is making it increasingly difficult to maintain my EV easily, and I am more dedicated than most would be - I think most people who would never consider having an EV if they could not charge it at home. As the battery size of EVs increase (great - better range!), it means more time required to charge an EV, which is a problem if you can't charge it at home.

    I'd rather spend 10 hours charging at home at a lower speed than spend 2 hours charging it at a mall or gas station: There, I don't know if those chargers will be maintained (maintenance is becoming a real problem for a lot of public chargers here lately) or out of order, and I don't know if they'll be available when I want to go to that mall or store. I use only public chargers, and I've been seeing these problems increasing over the last 2 years here.....I love being able to charge while I shop, but if I get there and the chargers are full, or out of order, I don't want to have to worry about finding the next charging place. And I'm not even talking about the availability of free charging, just of charging in general.

    Edited to add: I'd also be happy with street-side charging option, set up like parking meters, provided that the city maintains them or they default to free charge if they're not maintained.
    brulaz and Bruce M. like this.
  16. In your other post you say you are from Toronto, are there no dedicated block heater car plugs in the parking facilities at your apartment or if so are they temperature controlled?
  17. No, we're not nearly cold enough - for long enough - for block heater plugs to be common. I have seen them in other, more northern, cities, but not here. My apartment has an unheated underground garage, where winter temperatures are about 12-15F.
    I occasionally check the real estate listings for condo buildings with EV charger spots available or roughed in, but there are few offerings.
  18. DJP

    DJP Member

    For 5 years I lived in a condo without access to power. Charging my car wove itself into my life. In the first couple of years it was with a 15 minute walk to the nearest Level 2 charging station (this was before fast chargers were in Vancouver) and then once fast chargers became available it allowed me to catch up with the reading of my New Yorker subscription while waiting the 30 minutes, or so, to recharge the car. Having sold the condo and now renting a house with a 110V outlet in the driveway has made me determined that my next place will have to have some sort of access to charge my car, even if it's 110V.
  19. Guy Hall

    Guy Hall New Member

    Can you send this story as an example for those setting the California Building code to

    Thanks, Guy
  20. SouthernDude

    SouthernDude Active Member

    Most major US cities have variations of this policy already and have for several years now. This isn't creating any meaningful demand for EVs because it only benefits a small segment of the US driving population. Yes its cheaper to install during construction, but most apartments that will be around when EVs make up more than half of car sales already exist - in short, this benefit is relatively small.

    The largest segment of the US driving population live in single family homes where they have access to charging over night. They aren't buying EVs in droves because they can't effectively drive everywhere they want to because of the lack of DC FC.

    Tesla superchargers have greater coverage than CCS and I would argue that a big portion of Tesla's car sales come from this fact alone.

    Like I said earlier, most major US cities already have variations of this policy, but the rest of the US cities essentially don't and changing that would require a ton of time, energy, and resources to change for meager benefits - especially when you consider the fact that the DC FC coverage issue affects apartment dwellers too.

    It makes far more sense to expand the DC FC infrastructure because it drives demand. Increasing EV demand in general is the quickest way to get more apartment owners to put in chargers. Getting more DC FC is the quickest way to increasing demand because model availability, range, and cost (I think) issues will be addressed in the next few years

    Will it be necessary for all apartments to have charging access in the future? Probably yes, but it doesn't make sense to pursue an inefficient way to increase EV demand to make it happen.
  21. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Using PlugShare to compare SuperChargers to CCS-1:
    • SuperChargers have evenly spaced locations whereas CCS-1 has significant gaps, +200 miles
    • PlugShare needs a 120 kW limit or you will get CCS-1 chargers with very low rates
    Bob Wilson
  22. I disagree - until DCFC are as fast as filling up an ICE car, people will still see needing to stop to "fill up" an inconvenience in their daily lives. Something they're willing to do on occasion for their long trips, but not something they want to do regularly. (That is the number one thing people didn't understand about my plans to get a BEV.) I think you drive demand by making those "fill up" stops less necessary, not more convenient.
    Bruce M. and Fastnf like this.
  23. I agree with Calliope. 0ver 95% of my charging is at home. The only time Ineed DCFC is f I am driving over 300 miles. If its less than that I can make it on a single charge. At 60 mph that 5 hours of driving. In addition where live in California the coverage of DCFC are equal Super charger infrastructure and it is expanding quickly. I can currently drive to my sons in Oregon or my daughter in Oklahoma with no difficulty. If DCFC is not there yet it will be in the next couple of years. To me though home charging is more important than DCFC

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