Apartment Charging Station Setup Guide

Now that a lot of people are considering buying an electric vehicle due to the increasing prices of petrol and diesel. let’s look at how we can charge these vehicles if you live in an apartment and understand how we can set up an apartment charging station.

Challenges faced by EV owners who live in Apartments

But first, let’s look at all the common problems and challenges faced by EV Owners who live in an apartment.

  1. In many high-rise apartments, residents/renters do not own fixed parking spaces. Hence they cant install charging stations on thier own.
  2. If you plan on setting up shared public charging in your building, the up-front cost of charger and installation would be usually provided by the housing society fund, However. at this point of time, there are not a lot of residents that own an EV, thus the up-front costs would not be feasible.
  3. Comparing the installation costs of setting up an overnight EV charger at a single story house and at a multi-story apartment may very a lot. an electrician will need to run wires from your individual meters and give them to individual charging points in the parking space of your apartment.
  4. You might also require permission from the housing society aswell as the muncipality that certifies the charging point installations.

Above challenges referenced from: Evreporter.com | EV charging facilities in multi-story complexes

Now that we know all the challenges usually faced by apartment dwellers.

let’s look at solving these problems and also understand the process of setting up your own charging point.

Things you need to consider before moving on to setting up your charging station

  1. Estimate how many users will be charging from your charging point.
  2. Check if you have a Parking space in your apartment
  3. Research and understand the costs associated with charging station equipment, wire length and cost.
  4. Check to see if your Panel meter needs upgradation of if you need an extra panel.

Steps to setting up a charging station at your apartment

Step 1. Planning

Questions you have to ask while planning

  1. How far is the parking spot from the meter room?
  2. Do i have a covered parking spot or a uncovered parking spot?
  3. Can i run an extension cord from my balcony window? (Dont do this, not safe)
  4. Do i park on the road?
  5. Will the ‘societies’ or ‘apartment management’ object? Will i have to take permission?

Step 2. Getting Permission

This is the first, and possibly hardest, step in the entire process: getting permission from the Municipal Corporation (ex BESCOM) or the Apartment Association.

While we mentioned that certain states have some policies that stop “unreasonable” denials, what constitutes “unreasonable” is up to the state to decide.

It would help to brush up on any possible incentives that your state provides for building chargers when presenting your case

Here are a few policies and guidelines that might help in getting permission faster with your Apartment’s association,

List of Guidelines for setting up charging stations at housing societies and apartments

  1. Karnataka Electric Vehicle & Energy Storage Policy 2017 dated 25-09-2017


    https://indianstates.csis.org/uploads/KarnatakaStateElectricVehicleEnergyStoragePolicy2017.pdf

    Point no 5.2.(i) and 5.2.(j)
    Amendments will be made to building by-laws for providing charging infrastructure for EVs in all high rise buildings/ new SEZ / Technology Park / Apartments in the State.
    Existing apartment associations will be encouraged to provide special dedicated plug/ charging stations facilitating the adoption of EVs by their members.

    “special dedicated plug/ charging station” can be interpreted in two ways. it can also be interpreted as a private plugin private parking spot.

  2. Clarification on charging infrastructure for Electric Vehicles with reference to the provisions for the Electricity Act, 2003 dated 13th April 2018


    https://powermin.nic.in/sites/default/files/webform/notices/Clarification_on_charging_infrastructure_for_Electric_Vehicles_with_reference_to_the_provisions_of_the_Electrcity_Act_2003.pdf

    Point number 4 states that we don’t require any license to charge electric vehicles.

    The ministry has clarified that during the charging of e-vehicles, a station does not perform any activity related to the transmission, distribution or trading of electricity.

  3. Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles – Guidelines and Standards -reg dated 14th December 2018


    http://pibphoto.nic.in/documents/rlink/2019/feb/p201921504.pdf

    There are 2 points that you will need to consider from the above document if you are charging at residences or offices.

    1. . Private charging at residences/offices shall be permitted. DISCOMs may facilitate the same”

    3.4 The above minimum infrastructure requirements do not apply to Private Charging Points meant for self-use of individual EV owners (non-commercial basis).”

    The public charging stations given at the office must follow all the standards and rules as per the government order. Those rules don’t apply to the private charging station

  4. Amendments in Model Building Bye-Laws (MBBL – 2016) for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure dated February 2019


    http://pibphoto.nic.in/documents/rlink/2019/feb/p201921501.pdf

    10.4.2 All other buildings (including Group Housing) ” This can be misinterpreted as apartments cannot have private charging points. But if we further read, all the requirements are for PCS (commercial use).

    For further clarification, Annexure 3, point no 4 says that minimum infrastructure requirements do not apply for Private Charging Points meant for self-use of individual owners (non-commercial basis).

  5. Amendments in Urban and Regional Development Plans Formulation and Implementation Guidelines (URDPFI – 2014) for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure dated February 2019


    http://pibphoto.nic.in/documents/rlink/2019/feb/p201921503.pdf

    This document can be used as a reference if any government office or a house owners association declines your request by saying apartments private charging stations are not allowed in apartments.

  6. Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles (EV) -Revised Guidelines & Standards-reg dated 1st October 2019


    https://powermin.gov.in/sites/default/files/uploads/Revised_MoP_Guidelines_01_10_2019.pdf

    1. Private charging at residences/offices shall be permitted. Distribution Companies (DISCOMs) may facilitate the same”

    3.3. The above minimum infrastructure requirements do not apply to Private Charging Points meant for self-use of individual EV owners (non-commercial basis)” 

Above List was made with help from Anand Vedula, check out his petition to add more support by the govt for private charging points in apartments

Step 3. Identify how many charging points and what type of charging points you need.

  • Identify if you need fast DC charging points or slow AC charging points.
  • Decide if you’d want to allow outsiders to use the charging stations or not (on a commercial basis)

Step 4. Contact Vendors like Charzer.com to get a quotation for your Apartment

You can get a 3.3 kW AC charger for around Rupees 3,200, and a smart charger for around Rupees 15,000 with labour and setting up charges extra.

Advantages of getting a connection from charzer include,

  1. No need to extend connection from meters, as all chargers come with electricity tracking. Chargers can be connected to the common electricity connection. No need to bring wire from resident’s individual meters.
  2. You can track usage individually and collect payments if you plan to share it with other residents as you can track the usage per resident or per flat on a real time basis. Just set your electricity pricing for automatic billing, payment collection and report generation.
  3. Charzer charging stations use cutting-edge hardware that’s rigorously tested for safety and reliability. Protects your vehicle against overvoltage, overcurrent, surge, short-circuit and other issues.
  4. Plus, You can control who is allowed to charge their vehicle to prevent outsiders or unauthorised usage.
  5. You also get a 2 year warranty

Drop an enquiry at https://www.charzer.com/apartment-ev-charging


Step 5. (Optional) Get an LT6 electrical connection

Apply for a BESCOM connection under LT6 – a Low Tension category specifically for EV Charging.

Step 6. Work with your charger supplier to complete the installation

The cost of the installation completely depends on the following factors:

  1. No. of charge points
  2. Type of charger
  3. Length of the cable
  4. Additional transformer yard requirement (if necessary)

Depending upon the type of charger and KW capacity of the connection, the speed of charging is determined.

Types of Charging Stations

AC chargingDC charging
Low cost and easy installationSpeed of charging is almost 6-7 times faster
AC chargers take lower power like 3.3 kW and 7.4 kW per chargerBetter suited for faster charging

Here are the tariff details for FY 20-21 applicable for BESCOM customers.

Approved Tariff for LT2(a) – Regular domestic connection)

  • Fixed/Demand Charges: Rs.95/ kW/Month
  • Energy Charges: net 888 paise/KWh unit

Approved Tariff for LT6(c):

  • Fixed/Demand Charges: Rs70/kW/month upto 50 kW and Rs 170/kW/month for every additional 50 kW
  • Energy Charges: net 500 paise/kWh unit

The advantages of applying a new LT6 connection (and meter) vs. using the existing connection are:

  • LT6 has a subsidised tariff of Rs 5.45 per unit. Fixed tariff charges also need to factor in the fact that if you use your existing connection, then you end up paying Rs. 8-9 per unit.
  • A dedicated connection provides a more stable electricity supply.
  • You need to check your apartment sanctioned load and see if that can support the charging stations.
  • For an initial pilot setup, an apartment can go with existing connection as there are no additional charges to be borne by the association for LT6 connection. Later on, they can invest on the new LT6 connection depending on the RoI on the project.

Of course, there are some other costs that need to be kept in mind, like deposit per KW of new load, monthly fixed charges on the new meter/connection, etc.

FAQs

Can the owners not directly draw electricity from their meters?

This is not advisable or recommended. This can lead to fire accidents and electricity load issues.

Do I need to mandatorily take an LT6 connection?

No. But that gives economic benefits with lower tariffs.

Can associations charge more money per unit to EV users than they pay to BESCOM?

Yes, they can. There is a capital investment cost involved to set up charge stations and that can be recovered

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