I’m full on board with EV’s, and I’m hoping to get a few more years out of my beater truck ’till there’s a EV truck on the market. With that said, with some companies announcing they’ll be full EV soon, and the US gov’t announcing that all fed building are getting charging stations…..I realize now that there is one industry that is not yet on board: Homebuilders. As far as I can tell, there are few (or none) local, state, or national code that requires an EV charger. We know, with certainty, that most home/apartment builders follow the minimum code possible, and the cheapest way possible. So for most of us, even 10-20 years from now, the only way to get an EV is to retro-fit an [aftermarket charging station]( on existing structure. Let me qualify “most”. I’m aware that most EV’s can charge with a normal 120 volt plug. And maybe get 100 miles of charge overnight. In order to get into full charge overnight, you need anywhere from 20-60+ amps, depending on vehicle/charger combo. Who doesn’t want to get a full charge overnight? Or even in a few hours, if you have to drive to an emergency 200 miles away? I’m also aware there’s lots of public charging stations, but let’s pretend there is broad saturation of EV’s in 20 years.

So here’s the problem I have with my future EV truck, which as a truck, I assume will need 30-60 amp charger to get a full charge overnight. Unfortunately, my panel is almost maxed out. Code-wise, the most I can add is a 20 amp circuit. This was confirmed with my recent inspection. I have a detached structure that takes 80 amps alone (HVAC, large floor power tools). Now bear with me, I know a panel never consumes 100% load, and you can easily plug a 40 amp charger in as long as you’re not running all of your appliances and HVAC at once, but I’m approaching this from a what-is-code-safe point of view, and thinking, maybe the building industry should start embracing charging hardware as a standard feature? Which IMHO is designing the wiring of the house to be able to comfortably accept at least a 40 amp breaker and ideally two exterior outlets.

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As a homeowner, I have options, and 10 years to figure them out. Maybe I’ll have to upgrade to a 400 amp service. Maybe I convert my heat to gas and free up 30 amps. But what about renters of single family homes? Or apartment complexes with giant parking lots? Where will the chargers go? Will landlords refuse to install chargers? Will local governments force them to? What about larger homes with perhaps 3 or 4 vehicles? How do they all get a full charge overnight?

I realize all I’ve done is complained about something with no offer of a solution, other than that I hope the folks in charge of building houses and apartments come around and start future-proofing to support a larger EV fleet.

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17 thoughts on “The future is EV, but what about charging stations?”
  1. Building codes unequivocally need to be changed to force new apartments to be EV charging ready. Most single family homeowners shouldn’t have an issue charging an EV on 240V-30A, your situation excepted. If you can do 20A that would most likely be enough on level 2 to charge an EV overnight.

  2. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a 20A circuit for charging. That’s going to get you 3.8kW at 240V. Assuming awful truck efficiency of 500 Wh/mi it’s still going to add 90 miles of range in 12 hours. Unless you regularly are going to land at home with a totally flat battery or have a 100 mile daily commute, it will be fine. We have two chargers: 16A and 48A. Honestly they both could have been 16A with no issue.

  3. Most homes with two central ACs and 200amp service can safely add a 60 amp charging circuit. This circuit can power a 48amp charger, which is more than almost anyone needs.

    Homeowners that need to upgrade service for EV are usually older homes with 100amp service.

    The number of vehicles doesn’t matter. Miles driver per day is what matters. A family of full time Uber drivers would have a power problem, but not two people with long commutes.

  4. California energy code mandates ev ready and the newer codes speciify having EV capability

    So new building will have conduit and room for 50 amp charger circuit

  5. You’re not wrong. The subject of charging gets very hand wavy by the EV community because let’s face it: most EV buyers today are people with money.

    There is going to be a boon for electricians over a short number of years just in 200 amp upgrades. A lot of households are going to find themselves spending a good chunk of money they don’t want to.

    And that’s not even factoring local infrastructure not being able to handle everybody upgrading to 200 amps.

    There are changes to some local codes happening though. Ontario for example changed the rules for new homes to require 200 amps and rough-in for EV charging.

  6. > Who doesn’t want to get a full charge overnight? Or even in a few hours, if you have to drive to an emergency 200 miles away?

    I think that’s what the push for DC fast chargers are for. If you regularly need to drop everything to drive a huge distance, EV’s probably aren’t ready for you, but realistically this situation only applies to a small fraction of people. Unless you’re Liam Neeson and your family is being kidnapped every other month, most people wouldn’t keep a full tank of gas in the car for this emergency 200 mile trip either and would need a fuel up stop. A modern Tesla supercharger provides 15 miles per minute!

  7. If you have an electric clothes dryer, ditch that thing and go natural gas. Way cheaper (at least where I live) and frees up 30 amps from your panel. If you ditch your stove too, that frees up an additional 50 amps. Then you could charge 2 EVs simultaneously 😀
    Edit: I should mention that in my province as of January 2018 all new homes must have a minimum 200 amp service and have 50 amp line roughed into the garage for EV charging.

  8. I plan to get an EV in around 2-5 years and maybe buying a house in 4-7. You have brought up some serious concerns I haven’t thought about. Thanks for bringing to my attention!

    Also who is the leading EV charging station maker? Or who is on the rise? Could be a good stock to look into. 🔋📈

  9. Think we’ll see movement on this in the next few years. CA has some charging requirements for buildings, but I don’t know specifics. In the meantime petition your local government or show up to town halls and request they update the codes.

  10. All it takes is a NEC rule that all garages will have a 240v outlet (20-50a). The homebuilders I’ve talked to over the past couple years definitely do offer an option to upgrade to “EV ready” (anything to upsell). Apartments will begin to offer charging as it becomes the next hot amenity.

  11. I’ll give you my situation. Our home was built
    In the 1960’s with a 60amp box and service. The wiring was all upgraded to newer Romex in the late 90’s early 00’s but they retained the 60amp service and box rather than upgrading. I am currently in the process of upgrading to 200amp service and having a 200 amp box installed in our garage with the house then becoming a sub panel (most of our appliances are gas, and we have all led and high efficiency fixtures); so I really have no concern with the house needing more power. The 200amp service will allow me to install 2 48 amp and 1 40 amp EVSE drawing 136amps. For us this isn’t a problem as we schedule charging from 11pm-7am so there isn’t much other draw in the house at the time. I think as long as you are charging at night you would be safe charging with your existing setup. Obviously with any house if you turn every single thing in your house on at once you’ll blow the main breaker, but that never happens in most people’s day to day.

  12. As a future ev owner who is currently in an apartment without charging, I always worry about this question. I know that I can charge on the few level 2 chargers that are in town, but always worry about emergencies or if those chargers break. I really hope more apartment buildings start offering ev chargers, as I only know of one in my area that does and it’s extremely expensive.

  13. 110v is fine for me. I run a heavy duty extension cord from my apartment to where I street park my Hyundai. I get 80 miles overnight and don’t drive 80 miles a day.

  14. I know it’s probably classist, but it just annoys me that we have limited EVs chargers where I live and people who already bought cheaper EVs than my car are constantly hogging the charging stations. Like you spent 15 grand less than me for your car and you still wake up earlier than everyone else so you can get to the few charger first and then hog it for hours and so someone like me can’t use it. I’m pretty much forced to always charge at home.

  15. I would hope that one day electricity is sold as internet packets. That way you could plug your car in anywhere and pay for it from your e-wallet. This would incentivize electricity producers to put plugs everywhere: electricity direct to vehicles.

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