Installing a level 2 EV charger for a townhouse without a garage or driveway can seem like a huge hurdle to property owners considering purchasing an EV. For safety and aesthetic reasons, electrical codes and HOAs often prohibit running charging or extension cords across sidewalks to reach the parking space. This leaves drivers with three options: using public charging stations, convincing the HOA to install shared stations for the community, or finding a way to install a private charger for their assigned parking space. Many townhome owners do not know it’s even possible to install a charger at their property. If you’re wondering how to install an EV charger at your townhouse, Effortless Electric has extensive experience working with HOAs and homeowners for installations just like this, and can help you with your project!
(Why Level 2? Read more here.)
For installing a private level 2 charging station for a single homeowner, townhouse installations typically fall into two main categories: Properties with a grass strip right of ways (ROW) between the sidewalk and the parking curb, and concrete sidewalks that go all the way to the curb. While EV chargers can be installed in both situations, grass installations are often cheaper than installing in the parking space itself as labor-intensive concrete work can be avoided. The project timelines can also be shorter as installers do not have to wait for concrete to cure before mounting the post and charger. Materials costs for a grass installation are often less expensive than concrete installation, as a composite post can be used instead of a metal post and protective bollards.
It is typically easiest to install a charger for parking spaces directly in front of or behind a townhouse. Parking spaces in other parts of the lot may require crossing property lines, easements with neighbors, or extensive asphalt cuts to be made, both of which can be challenging to gain approval for and add extra expenses due to the increased scope of work. As with many installations like this, everything is case-by-case, and no two installations are the same!
A general roadmap for a project like this consists of 4 main steps: Permissions/permitting, trenching and exterior work, interior electrical work, and inspections. The actual installation typically requires 2-3 days on site depending on the scope of work.
Permissions and Permitting
Prior to gathering quotes to install a charger at your townhouse, it is a good idea to ask your HOA for any guidelines they may have for the installation. This way, you can ensure you can comply (or ask for changes to be made, if necessary) with your initial proposal and reduce back-and-forth with the HOA. If your HOA does not have any guidelines drafted, reach out and our team would be happy to send some guidance from other communities to help get you started.
Once a plan for the installation has been decided between the contractor and the homeowner, a project proposal is typically required by the HOA before they will allow the installation. Our project team will draft the proposal for the homeowner and include material specifications, exterior changes and other information to answer the HOA’s questions off the bat. Once the installation is approved by the HOA, Effortless Electric will file the required electrical permitting with your city or county on your behalf.
To get power out to the charger, a new, dedicated 240 volt electrical circuit has to be run out to the charging station location. Per electrical code, the electrical trenches typically need to be at least 18” deep and will go from your foundation all the way to the post. Our team atEffortless Electric has special tools to help in this process, boring the the circuit underneath sidewalks, large roots and more. Once the trench is complete, an electrical conduit will be laid for the circuit and the charging post will be installed.
A new circuit will be most likely need added to your main electric panel. Depending on the existing infrastructure, sometimes a new panel may need to be installed or the service upgraded to a higher amperage to accommodate the added load of the level 2 charger. In some cases, we can install load management devices along with the level 2 charger to avoid costly panel and service upgrades. The new circuit will be routed through your home and drilled through the exterior to continue in the trench out to the charger.
Some municipalities will not permit the trench to be backfilled until a “Concealment Inspection” is completed. Once the project is completed and the trench has been backfilled, a final electrical inspection will be conducted by your municipality. Municipalities that also require zoning or ROW permits to be filed will close these out as well. Then you’ll be able to use your new EV charger at home!
Contact Effortless Electric Today!
Are you looking to install an EV charger at a townhouse in the Northern Virginia or Metro Maryland area? Give Effortless Electric a call to discuss your situation so we can tailor an Effortless solution for you!