Many options exist and solutions for multi-unit buildings
As a San Francisco based Electrical Service Provider specializing in EV solutions, many of our customers live in multi-unit properties (Condos / Apartment Buildings) with a shared garage. Based on our experience the following are typical concerns voiced.
Can we even do it?
EV charging needs to be tied to my unit’s meter and not shared by others or the HOA
The HOA requires qualifications, plans or scope, permits
Until very recently, most multi-unit buildings were not designed for onsite EV charging and the building’s electrical system was designed for efficient power delivery to the unit. Most multi-unit buildings were designed with a stack of meters (typically on the ground floor in the garage or electrical room) for each unit and from there, powering their residence via a sub panel installed inside the unit. In most cases, the sub panel with the breakers are nowhere near or easily accessible to the garage or location where the EV charger is to be installed. However, there are techniques and technologies which allow us to “tap” the power at the meter and “splice” into the power feed to the unit.
Figure 1. A typical multi-unit meter which feeds the unit. The “black boxes” next to each meter is the main circuit breaker which powers the sub-panel inside each unit.
Figure 2. A sub panel which is located inside the unit away from the garage where the EV charger needs to be installed
Location of Meters
Low: Inside garage on same level
Medium: Electrical closet on same level or 1 floor above or bellow
Offsite, multiple floors away
Low: Single level
Medium: Up to 2 levels
High: Multiple level garage
EV Charger Location
Low: Line of site, same level
Medium: Single level away with a clear path
High: Multiple levels or buildings away
Low-Rise (4 floors or less)
Duplexes or single-story multiplexes
Our installations insure that power is being used from the appropriate unit owner’s meter and is not using “house” power. Depending on power requirements and availability of power, or solutions include either a small sub panel which is mounted nearby the electrical meter (known as a meter tap) or we use a power management system such as the DCC Electric Vehicle Energy Management System. Based on the load available to the building and the unit, we are able to determine which solution is ideal. Lower per unit installation cost, economies of scale can be achieved when multiple installations are done through combined wire runs and panel installations.
Coil Electric works with HOAs to provide all required documentation, compliance and regulatory compliance. We are certified with most manufactures including Tesla, ChargePoint and ClipperCreek and carry the required insurance and workman’s comp required. These documents will be provided during the HOA approval process.