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Idea for apartment dwellers: 'host' charging through window

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:33 pm
by Quothmar
I live in a condominium, and before I bought my Leaf I discussed charging options with management. As for on-demand installation of charging stations at apartment complexes, I'm not against it, but I proposed that for one EV driver it might be a bit extreme, and they agreed.

I am fortunate to be on the first floor directly facing the parking lot, and they approved of letting me charge through my window. With two window locks to keep the window slightly open and a bit of woodworking, I can now thread a 40-foot JLong along the sidewalk and through the grass, hook it into the normal EVSE plug which peeks out of the corner of the window, and charge every night. For an apartment dweller, this is all fine and well -- if you happen to be on the first floor facing the parking lot.

So I was thinking: just to get more apartment complexes on board with EVs, what would be wrong with allowing one first-floor resident to 'host' several electric vehicles at once through several windows? For example, the charge port I have now is in my master bedroom window. I could easily support, or 'host', two others through my small bedroom window and living room window, allowing two other residents for whom window charging through their own windows would not be feasible to charge through my windows. It could be for a small monthly fee or even at no cost. This idea, if implemented, could serve as a 'stepping stone' until the number of resident EVs grew to the point where the apartment complex would install a charging station.

To make the idea more neighbor-friendly, I was thinking that with some additional woodwork we could create poles to hook to our tires that would suspend the cable 7-8 feet above the ground until it reached the window.

Admittedly this might sound extreme, but it might just be a perfectly contrived way to make more apartment complexes EV-friendly.

Re: Idea for apartment dwellers: 'host' charging through window

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:55 pm
by Triggerhappy007
The problem I see with you hosting 2 other EVSEs is that each one is almost at the maximum draw for the oulet. You'll have to have each on a separate circuit and remember not to use a space heater, hair dryer, iron, etc on the same circuit.

Re: Idea for apartment dwellers: 'host' charging through window

Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:43 pm
by LeftieBiker
Triggerhappy007 wrote:The problem I see with you hosting 2 other EVSEs is that each one is almost at the maximum draw for the oulet. You'll have to have each on a separate circuit and remember not to use a space heater, hair dryer, iron, etc on the same circuit.
Exactly. Most apartments don't have several free circuits - you're lucky to find one.

Re: Idea for apartment dwellers: 'host' charging through window

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:07 am
by TomT
I see many blown circuit breakers in your future...

Re: Idea for apartment dwellers: 'host' charging through window

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 12:47 pm
by powersurge
charging EVs is not like charging several cell phones at the same time.. They push the wiring of the circuit to its limit..

Re: Idea for apartment dwellers: 'host' charging through window

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 2:07 pm
by smkettner
As an owner I would be installing a proper EVSE if there was a cord hanging out some window.
Although I might be the exception. Still waiting for the first request.

Re: Idea for apartment dwellers: 'host' charging through window

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:45 pm
by GRA
In addition to the issues others have raised, where do you live? Does it get cold or hot there? Assuming you pay your own utilities, have you included the heat/cooling loss of that open window in your cost calcs? I know of a couple of house renters locally who charge through a window - I'd love to see their winter heating bills (AC not really being an issue here) in our by no means cold climate. I don't consider it a viable year-round option for that reason. If you are doing this in the interest of reducing energy use, then what you gain in one way you lose in the other. Even if you come out ahead financially and energy-wise, do you really want to be deliberately wasting energy in that fashion?

Re: Idea for apartment dwellers: 'host' charging through window

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:39 am
by Nubo
Cable through the grass -- you might want to keep close tabs on landscaping activities, mowing, etc... Also what about tripping hazards?

Re: Idea for apartment dwellers: 'host' charging through window

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:26 pm
by Oilpan4
According to National electric code anything used to charge an electric vehicle is supposed to be on its own dedicated circuit.

Re: Idea for apartment dwellers: 'host' charging through window

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 6:36 am
by Quothmar
I have a barricade of five wooden dowels glued together underneath the open window, so it's just a square on the side that the EVSE plug peeks out of. The cord can slide in and out of a hole through a piece of shower curtain, so the room is almost completely sealed off from the outdoors. I've never had a problem with the cold weather. Just a few bugs on the window sill every now and then, but I've been able to minimize that.

The circuitry is a legitimate concern -- the last thing I'd want is to promise someone that they could have a Leaf and charge for free only to have the electricity snap off and force me to impose some kind of 'turn-taking' rule. My first thought is that if you keep two cars on separate circuits and only allow trickle-charging, it could be fine, but I will need to do some more investigation.

The main point is, I don't want apartment dwellers and management to be stalemated over how to make the transition over to EVs. Someone's got to make the first move, and any working solution -- no matter how contrived -- seems to me better than just permanently requiring every apartment resident to own a gas-powered car.

Edit: I also want to add that by suspending the cable 7-8 feet above the ground toward a wooden 'arm' poking out and up from under the window (with a pair of forked prongs at the top of the arm that the charging cable can rest between), any tripping hazard could be remedied.