$4,000 to install a 240-volt electric car outlet in an HOA garage?

This is the nearest electric box to my garage at Highline Crossing in Littleton, Colo. It is about 15 meters from my garage building, and is located on a different building than the one in which my garage is.

editor's blog iconSo, at the end of July, I moved from a duplex in Denver, where I had had a 240-volt outlet easily installed outside for $250 and which I used to charge my 2014 Nissan LEAF for the one-and-a-half years I lived there, to a townhome I bought in Highline Crossing Cohousing in Littleton, Colo.

I bought a townhome in Highline because I wanted to live in a cohousing community — which is deliberately community based. And I’ve already met far more people here than I did in 10 years of living in a suburban home in Aurora, Colo., where I had a nifty solar-charging situation set up.  I feel welcomed here, like I’m really part of a neighborhood. And that is great!

However, I knew I might have problems being able to solar-charge my Nissan LEAF here at Highline — mostly because all 30 garages here are connected to a single utility meter, and, because I, as an individual, do not own the roof above my garage.

I have to plug in to a 120 volt outlet located in the ceiling of my garage right now.

However, I did not realize that it would also be difficult to install a 240 outlet in my garage here.

Turns out, it is difficult to get a 240-volt outlet installed in my garage here at Highline Crossing for exactly the same reason adding solar to my garage rooftop would be difficult: A single 100 amp electric box for all 30 garages + a single utility meter, neither of which are located on  my block of garages. As it turns out, having no 240 volt tie-ins, etc. already installed in the garages at Highline Crossing, makes it super duper expensive to get a 240-volt plug installed in my garage.

This at least according to the electrician who I had come this afternoon and take a look around to draw up an estimate. He estimated it would cost me $4,000 to have a 240-volt outlet installed in my garage.

Yes, that’s right: $4,000 to get a 240-volt outlet installed in my garage! — which currently only has 120- volt capacity. This translates into glacially slow “trickle charging”. With “trickle charging”, it can take 16, 20, 24 hours to fill an EV battery pack, depending on how big the battery pack it is.

I currently have a 24 kWh battery pack which takes about 16 hours at 120 volts to charge completely from “zero”. That’s way too slow for me to be able to keep up with the 50-100 miles of driving I must do several times a week.

Why would adding a simple 240-volt outlet cost $4,000?

Because a large amount of concrete would have to be dug up and moved in order for the electrician to “trench” for the electric cables to go under ground and tie into the currently shared 100 amp electric box. Again, this is shared for ALL 30 garages here at Highline Crossing. He would also have to run the 240- volt wiring into my garage, which is about 15 meters from the collectively shared electric box and shared utility meter.

All of the wiring from the collective utility meter and electric box runs underground. Both are on an outside wall on a different garage block than my garage is in. The electrician said he would also have to have the plans approved by Xcel Energy, my utility, as well as by the City of Littleton — and this permitting costs money.

A cheaper solution would be for me to trade parking places with a neighbor, who has an outdoor parking spot right next to the utility meter and electric box: She’d get my garage, and I would have to park my LEAF outside, and have to, once again, deal with snow, cold, etc. that I had to deal with at my previous place, which did not have a garage. Gary, the electrician, estimated a cost of about $600 to add an outdoor 240-volt outlet next to the utility meter and box.

Six-hundred dollars is a lot cheaper than $4,000! However, I am pretty bummed out that I will apparently not be able to park my car in my own garage, and would, under this scenario, have to deal with ice and snow on my car in the winter again.

Does anyone have any suggestions beyond what Gary, this electrician from AllStar Electrical Services, suggested: Which is to add a 240-volt outlet directly below the electric box and single utility meter, for $600, a move that would force me to give up my own garage and park my 2014 LEAF (which hopefully will be a 2018 Bolt instead within two months) outside so that I could plug in to the new outlet?

Do I have any rights that might compel the HOA to pay for some of the costs of running 240-volt wiring to my garage, for instance, perhaps a law that requires accommodations be made for EV owners who live in HOAs vis-a-vis installation of EV Charging Stations?

Anyone out there know a lot about electricity, or is perhaps an electrician?

Obviously, I don’t have $4,000 to give to get a simple 240-volt outlet in my garage.

I am wondering about a self-contained, off-grid rooftop solar + Tesla Powerwall + EV charger that’s connected to the Powerwall set-up. But I’m assuming that the EV charger would still have to be tied into the general electric infrastructure of the garages here at Highline Crossing, and I that I would therefore face the same $4,000 issue of having to tie in to the main electrical box, a box that is not on my garage building, but on a building about 15 meters away.

In fact, I did email Tesla 10 days ago, and I also called and left a message about five days ago to find more out about this set-up. However, no one has bothered to call, or email me back. Frustrating!

I also Tweeted @ElonMusk on Twitter, suggesting he give me a discount on a Tesla Solar + Powerwall + EV charger set-up in exchange for lots of free publicity on SolarChargedDriving.Com. But I’m not really expecting any kind of reply — should I 😉 ?

Any, and all suggestions, on how I could best go about getting a 240-volt outlet in my garage here at Highline Crossing in Littleton, Colo. at a more cost-effective cost than $4,000 would be very much appreciated 🙂

Thank you.

Christof Demont-Heinrich, 3 1/2 year EV owner + founder of SolarChargedDriving.Com.

The collective 100 amp electric box for the 30 garage units at Highline Crossing in Littleton, Colo. A 30 amp, 240-volt set-up would have to be added in order for me to get a 240 volt outlet in my garage — if I can figure out a cost-effective way to get this done.