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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everybody

I finally got some traction with my condo board on letting me install a car charger in my parking space. Have any of you done this before? I've done a little digging over the past few months to try to find the best solutions, and thought I'd share my findings in case someone else is doing the same.

The condo board is fine with me doing the installation, provided I know that I'll have to pay again if they make changes to the parking structure. Also, they want me to pay for my electric usage (probably 1800 miles per month, at the current driving habits). A neighbor with a prius prime is interested in going in on it with me, and I'm okay with sharing my charger.

Equipment options:
Option 1 - Chargepoint has a charger that they say is intended for this situation - CPF-25. It appears to only allow a single account to access it, which might be a problem when sharing with my neighbor. The cost of the charger is about $1000 more than the typical class 2 charger. There is a monthly service fee with it ($20/mo). It isn't my favorite solution due to the high costs. A small wireless device needs to be installed to provide connectivity to my charger, and can support up to 8 (I think) additional chargers as well.

Option 2 - Evercharge also has a solution for this situation. Their billing is a little odd. They convert kwh into time used. So, if you charge for 1 hour at 6.6KwH, they bill you for one hour. If you charge at 3.3 for one hour, they charge you for .5 hours. Each hour also has a service fee of $0.40. There is also a monthly fee of $15/mo. The service cost for this unit is higher, unless I drive less than 300 miles a month.

Both of the two above would pay the association for my electric usage, and bill me accordingly.

Option 3 - I could possibly obtain second electric meter (possibly with off-peak billing). The first electrician didn't seem to like this idea, and didn't include that in his quote. I might try to find a different electrician. This option might not scale well for other residents, if there are any in the future, as I'd take the last meter slot in the 1st floor meter room. Chargepoint can load share, in case all of my neighbors buy electric cars in the future and install their own chargers. This would probably be the cheapest operational option.

Neighbor sharing - It sounds like chargepoint won't allow multiple accounts to use the CPF-25, so I might give my neighbor an access card tied to my account. For usage, I'd just estimate how much he uses on a monthly basis, pad it for the hardware and installation costs, and charge him a monthly rate to rent my 2nd parking spot. I'm thinking $60-80/mo, as he stated he has a 12000 mile per year lease. Is anybody else faced with this situation? The multi-account chargers are more money, and I don't feel that it's worth it in this case.

I'm enjoying the Volt. I can get 36 - 52MPG on gas alone, which depends a lot on my driving speed and traffic conditions.

-PW
 

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Can you wire directly to your meter? If so then the best solution would be to install two EVSEs, one for you and one for your neighbor, with each wired to the owners meter. You can split the electricians bill with your neighbor and you each pay for your EVSE, a ClipperCreek is only $600 so a pair would be $1200, what does a ChargePoint cost. A Juicebox costs about the same as a ClipperCreek and it has WiFI which would make it easier for you to figure out what your costs are although it doesn't matter if you are wired to your own meter.
 

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I haven't heard of anyone else doing this, so you might be the guinea pig here. I think option 3 is the most attractive, but scaling for the future is a concern. I hate the idea of a monthly charge just to charge at my own home :/ though if it was something modest like $5 / mo for billing, I could maybe live with it.

You'd think utilities could make smart sub-meters for cases like this. So not wired directly to your account (to avoid installation costs), but "smart" so it knows to assign the usage passing through it to you (and subtract it from the main meter it's on).
 

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If You're like me and the meter is in the meter room and your breaker panel is far away (mine is 4 floor up) I had to go with this solution : "https://rve.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/DCC-Condo_specs_EN.pdf"

Basically, it's a box installed in the meter room that splits your electricity... making sure to to provide enough to your condo and cutting power to the charger if the total demand exceeds the max allowed to your line. (Very rare)

This way you can chose any EVSE you want.. and you are billed on your normal condo electric bill..

Had mine installed 2 months ago and working like a charm!
 

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The ChargePoint "Home" model will let you meter and track the electric usage at the EVSE. It will also provide reports so you can prove your actual usage. I just installed an outlet, and use the monthly OnStar reports to track my electrical usage and reimburse the association.
 

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Send a bouquet of flowers to your HOA Board. Your condominium has much more forward-looking leadership than mine. I hike more than a half-mile every day to charge my Volt. I think of it as "walking the dog."
 

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All of your solutions are slick but too high-cost. There should be no need for a solution with monthly fees. I would do something like "Off Oil" posted above, assuming there are no monthly fees associated with that. If not, I would get a juicebox or just a stand-alone electric meter that can be installed on the circuit (not monitored by the utility provider, but a private meter). An advantage of metering the circuit is then you can use any EVSE, even the one that came with your car, for a much lower cost. You may even be able to run the stock EVSE on 240 Volts, depending on which one you have.

Give the board full access to view the meter or log into the account or whatever, so they trust you are not cheating, and then send them a statement of usage monthly or quarterly with payment.

As for sharing costs with the Prius owner, I think you could just ballpark an estimate of the ratio of use. For instance, if you each generally get a full charge 20 nights per month and his battery is half the size of yours, then he pays 1/3 of the electricity fee. It won't be exact, but getting that a little wrong will be cheaper than paying monthly fees that add no electrons to your cars. See if you can get him to go half on the installation cost and future maintenance/repair that might crop up.

As for being able to scale up for future EV owners that might move in, I think a 3-figure solution is going to be a lot more palatable than a 4-figure solution to people considering buying plug in vehicles there.

And finally, give some thought to what will happen if you move. Will you take the EVSE with you? Will the type you install be practical to remove? Will you have to buy out the Prius owner? etc.
 

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They don't have block heaters in MN? Seems to me that y'all need a 20-amp 110v circuit tied to your electric bill for ALL parking spots.

ICE cars need to be buffed, heated, swept and sometimes charged just like electric cars.

A 20-amp circuit would allow any EV to be topped off overnight for their daily driving needs. Don't need anything special to get 40mi of range.

Personally, I wouldn't buy a condo that didn't have dedicated parking with carport electricity.
 

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The ChargePoint "Home" model will let you meter and track the electric usage at the EVSE. It will also provide reports so you can prove your actual usage. I just installed an outlet, and use the monthly OnStar reports to track my electrical usage and reimburse the association.
I tracked OnStar and compared it to a kill-a-watt on my EVSE for a few years. Let's just say that OnStar is crap for accuracy... they averaged 20% off over 2 years, their best month was within a few percent and their worst was off by 46% (several times). Unless they somehow got better, you are short-changing the association by about 20% per month.
 

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The ChargePoint "Home" model will let you meter and track the electric usage at the EVSE. It will also provide reports so you can prove your actual usage. I just installed an outlet, and use the monthly OnStar reports to track my electrical usage and reimburse the association.
Doesn't a JuiceBox have the same capability without having to pay for a service?
 

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I tracked OnStar and compared it to a kill-a-watt on my EVSE for a few years. Let's just say that OnStar is crap for accuracy... they averaged 20% off over 2 years, their best month was within a few percent and their worst was off by 46% (several times). Unless they somehow got better, you are short-changing the association by about 20% per month.
Could a 20% difference be accounted for by the efficiency ratio? Your kill-a-watt measures power into the EVSE. I am not sure what OnStar measures, but it may be battery charge level increase (after losses in the inverter and possibly battery resistance). The condo association would want to measure the power into the EVSE, since that is what they pay for. Make sure you are measuring the right thing.
 

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Could a 20% difference be accounted for by the efficiency ratio? Your kill-a-watt measures power into the EVSE. I am not sure what OnStar measures, but it may be battery charge level increase (after losses in the inverter and possibly battery resistance). The condo association would want to measure the power into the EVSE, since that is what they pay for. Make sure you are measuring the right thing.
If it was always 20%, that might be it. But it was all over the place. No, OnStar is measuring everything coming in, and should match the kill-a-watt. You can see this in the data (in the months where it was more accurate)... a full charge from empty was almost always 11.5-12.5 for a 10.5 battery, which is what you'd expect for charging losses. I suspect they might be more accurate if you just do one full charge from empty each day. But you do >1 per day and/or do partials, it seems bad at keeping track of everything. It often would show a 10 minute charge of 5kWh, which is not possible. It would also be missing entire events a few times a month.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow, lots of responses. I didn't expect so many.

Can you wire directly to your meter?
It's a little bit of reach. It's 10 floors away. It would be good if I was on on floors 1-4, since they're all in the main meter room.

Doesn't a JuiceBox have the same capability without having to pay for a service?
I think the problem with something like the JuiceBox is that they don't have a billing system. Chargepoint has that, but they also have a higher cost.

I hate the idea of a monthly charge just to charge at my own home :/ though if it was something modest like $5 / mo for billing, I could maybe live with it.
I justify the cost to myself by comparing what I used to pay for dino juice, which was about $130/mo. I'm thinking I'll be at about $60/mo now.

If You're like me and the meter is in the meter room and your breaker panel is far away (mine is 4 floor up) I had to go with this solution : "https://rve.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/DCC-Condo_specs_EN.pdf"
Mine is 10 floors :-(. Although, this could be useful for the people in the 1st floor meter room. I'll pass this along, as I'm sure I'll get more questions about this as EVs become more mainstream.

The ChargePoint "Home" model will let you meter and track the electric usage at the EVSE. It will also provide reports so you can prove your actual usage.
I had obtained a quote for a sub meter, but the condo association didn't seem to like that. This sounds similar.

A lot depends on your cost of electricity - how much do you pay per kwh?
It's about $0.15 after taxes and junk, or $0.11 before. The EV rate (9p - 9a + sat + sun) should be about $0.05, plus $5 for the meter fee. xcelenergy PDF. This would be awesome, but I might be taking up one of the last meter slots - not sure how that would go.

Send a bouquet of flowers to your HOA Board. Your condominium has much more forward-looking leadership than mine. I hike more than a half-mile every day to charge my Volt.
Have you tried selling them on the chargepoint idea? I know it costs a lot, but it might be worth it for you to save yourself on walking. I wish I had a place to walk to charge to. An office down the street has card-access charging - I'm tempted to ask. Also, the business next door has outlets on the outside of the building for their trucks - tempted to ask them as well. I live in an odd building - converted office building, on the edge of an office park.

You may even be able to run the stock EVSE on 240 Volts, depending on which one you have.
Sort of off topic - I found an outlet in the garage at someone elses spot that was 208v, and spend $25 to make myself an adapter to plug in the included charger. It worked! Although, the charge time wasn't 4.5 hours like it is on my brother's clipper creek. That might be due to the 208v vs 220v, or just that the wires in the factory charger aren't big enough (5 minutes of charging warmed up the cables pretty good).

They don't have block heaters in MN? Seems to me that y'all need a 20-amp 110v circuit tied to your electric bill for ALL parking spots.
Block heaters in MN? Naw, it only gets down to -30f here, so there isn't any need :) It would have been nice if they put some outlets in tied to our meters, but the condo is a converted office building with a separate parking structure. It isn't really feasible to do that.

Off topic again - I had a block heater in 2 prior cars. I probably used them 3 or 4 times total. It didn't seem to make a difference. Modern fossil cars don't seem to mind the cold.

Let's just say that OnStar is crap for accuracy... you are short-changing the association by about 20% per month.
Hmm... interesting. :)

Thanks all for the responses.
 

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Off topic but the subject of block heaters came up which leads to a question. Mobil 1 fixes the problem of -30 for ICE cars but lithium ion batteries are not at all happy at that temperature. If the Volt is plugged in I'm guessing it heats the battery in extreme low temperatures, is that correct? But if you weren't plugged in would the battery be damaged by -30 temps?

BTW I went to college in Wisconsin so I'm familiar with -40F (real not wind chill adjusted). When I moved to MA after grad school I didn't wear a coat for my first couple of winter's here, I kept wondering when winter would come, the blizzard of 78 answered that question for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
But if you weren't plugged in would the battery be damaged by -30 temps?
I work in the same office building as a guy that has a Chevy Volt. He does notice the difference in the winter. He wishes they'd install a charger at work. He adds that he's only short by 5 miles, so he wouldn't need the charge. Any more than that, and he'd run the heater :) True Minnesotan :)

Back on topic - A benefit to the chargepoint charger would be added security - Nobody else in the condo would be able to activate the charger without the access card tied to the account. I'm suspecting it wouldn't be a problem, but we do have up to 10% renters in the building.
 

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Sort of off topic - I found an outlet in the garage at someone elses spot that was 208v, and spend $25 to make myself an adapter to plug in the included charger. It worked! Although, the charge time wasn't 4.5 hours like it is on my brother's clipper creek. That might be due to the 208v vs 220v, or just that the wires in the factory charger aren't big enough (5 minutes of charging warmed up the cables pretty good).
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The 208 vs 240 will slow you down some, but the stock EVSE also maxes out at 12A, while your bro's clipper creek probably goes to at least 14-15A. So you'll get a max of 208v x 12a =2.5 kW, while the car is capable of 240v x 15a = 3.6 kW, you'll be about 30% slower than you could be, but that's still fast than the 1.4 kw max of a 120V outlet.
 

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Mine is 10 floors :-(. Although, this could be useful for the people in the 1st floor meter room. I'll pass this along, as I'm sure I'll get more questions about this as EVs become more mainstream.
The important question isn't where your panel is, but where the meter room is. The gizmo ("https://rve.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/DCC-Condo_specs_EN.pdf") goes between the meter and the panel, so the power gets split close to the meter instead of being split after the panel.
 

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Doesn't a JuiceBox have the same capability without having to pay for a service?
I think you're confusing the ChargePoint Home model with the commercial version. There is no cost or direct billing. It lets you track usage through the portal or mobile app, just like you can when using a commercial version.
https://www.chargepoint.com/drivers/home/
 

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I was able to get my condo president to give me permission to install a regular outlet in my parking stall. I almost opted for a full charging station but decided against it. The outlet conduit goes all the way to the electrical room (I'm in underground parking)
 
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