Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Electric Vehicle Charging If You Don't Own A Home

 
Electric vehicles (EVs) have numerous advantages, but of course they must be charged. How do you charge your EV if you do not own a home? Now, by law, California apartment dwellers, home owner association (HOA) members, and commercial tenants are entitled to install charging stations. Certain sensible steps must be taken, for the benefit of all parties. This article explains EV advantages; how EVs are charged; and how to adhere to the law to install a charging station even if it is not on your own property.

Electric Vehicle Advantages

EVs are the future, and the future is here now. They offer much more efficient transportation, and provide economic, environmental, and other advantages that benefit not just the owner, but everyone.

EVs advantages include:
1. lower fuel and maintenance costs
2. reduced toxic and global warming pollutants
3. no dependence on foreign oil (be a patriot!)
4. silent, smooth, fast response and great handling
5. safety (no risk of exploding gasoline tanks)
6. direct use of clean renewable energy such as solar and wind power
7. quieter, cleaner streets
8. no dirty gasoline pumping or garage fluid leaks
9. employment of Americans while reducing trade deficits
10. (and soon) the ability to provide electrical power to your house.

Like many governments, it is U.S. policy to encourage adoption of EVs (we are aiming to put two million on the road by 2020). EVs can cost over $100,000 for incredibly fast luxury models and under $20,000 (after subsidies) for excellent do-everything models, with many more EV models available every year. Manufacturers agree EVs will soon become a substantial portion of the vehicle market.
EVs are usually set to late at night when electrical demand is low. This means that the cost of late-night electricity is also low. It also means that even if most cars were electric we still wouldn’t need a single new power plant, and we can use more and more clean renewable energy.
For the owner, the cost of EV electricity is one half to one sixth the cost of gas, saving hundreds or thousands of dollars annually. For those installing residential solar, the solar pays for itself and the owner can drive for free with lifetime savings of over a hundred thousand dollars. EVs save at least 10,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, making it the single largest possible reduction in one’s carbon footprint!


Charging

EVs can charge either with common 120-volt household outlets (referred to as “Level 1” or L1), or 240-volt “charging stations” (referred to as “Level 2” or L2), or 480-volt “fast chargers”(referred to as “Level 3” or L3). While all EVs can do L1 and L2 charging, but not all EVs can do L3 charging. Complicating matters is that while one plug standard exists for L1 and L2 (known as J1772), but there are different plug standards from different manufacturers for L3 (known as Chademo, CCS, and Tesla).
EVs charging at home often uses household outlets (L1), but more typically with specifically-installed charging stations (L2). Indeed, most EV owners know that charging takes only seconds: a few seconds to plug in when arriving home in the evening, and a few seconds to unplug in the morning. Often EV owners want to schedule the time of charging to take advantage of the lowest electricity rates, and scheduling can be done through controls on the charging station or controls on the car -- and in turn, often these are managed through smart-phone apps.
Surveys demonstrate that the great majority of EV owners charge at home. Yet, sometimes charging is done at work (second most common), occasionally at public charging stations, and also occasionally at fast chargers. Interestingly, charging at work is also accomplished with either L1 or L2.
Household outlets (L1) are everywhere, and an EV charging on L1 uses about as much electricity as a toaster. Charging this way provides enough electricity in an hour for an EV to travel about 4 miles. As an example, if an EV were to be plugged in when arriving home at 8pm, and was unplugged in the morning at 8am, it would receive enough electricity to travel around 50 miles. Over 90% of American daily drivers travel fewer than 50 miles a day, and therefore in most cases L1charging is sufficient. (A gas car does not get filled up every day but EVs does get plugged in every day, so an EV always starts with a “full tank.”)
However, many people want the flexibility to charge more quickly, or to charge only when the utility has lower electricity rates, or have an EV with a large battery or often drive longer distances. Therefore, charging stations (L2) can be installed that use 240-volt electricity directly from the building’s electrical panel. Depending upon the L2 device and the EV, plugging in will provide enough electricity to travel between 20 to 60 miles per hour of charge. And, this also means that one L2 is able to charge several EVs in a day.
For those who own their own home with a parking space, in virtually all cases a charging station can be readily installed (sometimes this can be done by the owner, more often it is a quick and easy installation for an electrician). The device costs approximately $500, and the electrician can typically install it for a few hundred dollars more (and the total cost is reduced by a partial tax credit). The same is true for employers who install charging stations, but they may install either L1 or L2, and the cost may be higher if they have to install it outdoors and the electrical line has to be placed underground. In addition to employers, there are also many thousands of charging stations publically installed across the country on streets, in parking lots, and in parking garages. These public charging stations are either operated by “pay as you go” service providers (usually costing a couple of dollars per hour) or are sometimes provided without cost to attract customers.
Lastly, there are many hundreds of fast chargers that are now installed (with still more on the way): these L3 devices are typically expected to be used by those who are traveling significant distances away from home. They are often installed at places like freeway rest areas and shopping centers. L3s can provide 80-150 miles range in only about half an hour. However, the reality is that at present L3s are specific to certain areas and certain routes -- and often, these are the areas and routes that are most often used by EVs (no small coincidence).

Legislation Enabling Charging Station Installation
All vehicle owners fall into one of five categories: governments, fleets, homeowners, HOA owners, and apartment dwellers. Governments (federal, state, municipal, agency), fleets (private businesses, taxi services, delivery services), and homeowners control their properties. Consequently, they should not have any legal issues regarding installing charging stations, and do not require special protections.
For those who are HOA owners or apartment dwellers, California has recently enacted legislation that provides the right to charge an EV, and if desired to install charging stations. It should be pointed out that EV owners can often simply work out an acceptable charging arrangement without the need to go through the steps protected by the legislation. But certainly it is a positive sign for the legislature to make it a right under the law to charge an EV, and it anticipates the developing trend for more and more vehicles to be EVs.
Another interested group is employers: even if they are not EV owners themselves, they may want to provide their employers and/or customers the opportunity to charge. There is also law that now protects that group as well.
The laws to protect the EV charging rights of HOA owners, apartment dwellers, and employers are similar in many ways. It is certainly possible that these laws will act as models for legislatures across the country to enable EV charging in all states. Moreover, that such legislation exists to protect these groups will likely result in property managers and landlords becoming sensitized to the need to provide EV charging, and hopefully they will begin to proactively provide charging to stay ahead of the law and as an inducement to EV-driving tenants.
The laws are similar in many ways, including requiring the charging stations to meet applicable safety standards and applicable building and electrical codes (all commercially-available charging stations meet these standards). The laws require the EV owners to protect the property owners from harm, and to accept the costs associated with the installation and electricity costs. Also, while the laws place limits on the circumstances in which chargers can be installed, they provide for economic penalties against property owners who impermissibly try to prevent their installation.
To be sure, EV owners need to know the requirements and steps for charging station installation. Unfortunately, it is a process-heavy set of requirements: there must be a written application, plans, permits, insurance, and the opportunity for the property owner to seek more information. All of this can take months (which means that a prospective EV owner should consider all of this before buying an EV or before moving into a location that does not presently enable charging).

Basic Home Owner Association Steps:
1. If the charging station is to be installed in an area designated for the Homeowner’s
exclusive use, then apply in writing to the Association in the same manner as any
construction project and include contractor information;
2. If the charging station would be impossible or unreasonably expensive to install in the
Homeowner’s exclusive use area, then the following terms also apply:
a. Add the Association as an additional insured on $1,000,000 Homeowner liability
policy -- often Homeowners already carry such a policy)
b. Propose a method for paying for electricity
c. Accept responsibility for damage, maintenance and removal;
3. The Association must respond within 60 days.

If the Association violates this Homeowner right, it must pay up to $1000 and the Homeowner’s attorney’s fees. Of course, the Association may use the application as an opportunity to install a charging station in a common area for multiple EV owners to use. For more detail, the applicable HOA statute, Civil Code 4745, is found below.


Basic Apartment Dweller Steps:

1. First, the following conditions must be met:
a. The lease was entered into, extended or renewed after July 1, 2015
b. There is no charging for at least 10% of the parking spaces
c. Parking is provided as part of the lease
d. There are at least 5 parking spaces
e. The property is not subject to rent control;
2. Apply in writing to the landlord for the following elements:
a. Installation, maintenance, and removal
b. Explanation and acceptance of all related costs
c. Agreement to pay for electricity used;
3. Add the landlord as an additional insured on $1,000,000 general liability policy.

This apartment dweller law states that a landlord “shall” enable the installation of a charging station for an apartment dweller if all the conditions identified under the law are met. However, unlike with the Homeowners Associations law, there is no penalty or attorney’s fees built into the law for the landlord’s failure to comply. For more detail, the apartment dweller statute, Civil Code 1947.6, is found below.


Basic Commercial Tenant Steps:

1. First, the following conditions must be met:
a. The lease was entered into, extended or renewed after January 1, 2015
b. There is no charging for at least 2% of the parking spaces
c. There are at least 50 parking spaces;
2. Apply in writing to the landlord for the following elements:
a. Installation, maintenance, and removal
b. Agreement to pay for electricity used;
3. Add the landlord as an additional insured on $1,000,000 general liability policy.

This commercial tenancy law does not state that a commercial landlord “shall” enable the installation of a charging station for a commercial tenant. Moreover, unlike with the Homeowners Associations law, there is no penalty or attorney’s fees built into the law for the landlord’s failure to comply. For more detail, the commercial tenant statute, Civil Code 1952.7, is found below.


Paying For Electricity

As a practical matter, regardless of whether the issue is regarding an HOA, apartment, or commercial lease, determining how to pay for electricity may be a difficult aspect of this process. The reason for this is that often charging stations are plugged into a 240 volt electrical outlet that is directly wired to the nearest electrical panel. This means that there may be no specific meter in place that would measure how much electricity is being used.
With household outlet charging, there are simple and inexpensive energy-tracking devices (such as “Kill A Watt”) that electrical equipment is plugged into and which are then plugged into wall outlets (this is convenient if using L1 charging). However, while there are no such simple devices available for 240V, there are some that can be professionally installed, and indeed, if the charging station installation requires a new dedicated power line from the electrical panel, then such a device could be installed at the same time. Finally, the EVs themselves, and many charging stations, can report how much electricity is used. (Of course, there is a possible issue of verifying that report to the satisfaction of the building owner or property manager: sometimes a calculation, or log, or snapshot, or accounting report will suffice.)
But, calculating the cost of charging an EV requires knowing not just the amount electricity, but the cost of that electricity. Depending upon the building’s electrical rate plan, the cost of electricity could be quite cheap (typically late at night), or conversely the peak cost of electricity could be quite expensive (typically in the evening). Electricity is measured in kilowatt-hours (KWH), and the range could be from less than $.10/KWH to over $.60/KWH.
An EV travelling 12,000 miles annually (about the national average) will use around 4,000 KWH. Given all that electricity, and given the various possible rates for electricity, the cost of charging an EV can vary quite a bit. If the utility-payer (either the landlord or the EV owner) has a “time of use” electricity plan from the utility, then charging when electricity is cheapest can make a significant difference.
Because the difference in rates is based on the different times of usage, calculating the cost of the electricity used requires knowing when the EV charged as well as how much electricity it used. It is helpful to keep in mind that most all EVs using charging stations will charge late at night when rates are cheapest. Most EVs and charging stations have built-in timers, computer-based programs, and smart-phone applications that easily let the owner set the charging time: the owner parks and plugs the EV in, but it only begins charging when it is programmed to do so. The owner can work with the building manager to determine this question of when to have the timer start the charging.
Finally, there is a potential issue regarding the total capacity of the electrical panel that provides the electricity to the charging station. It is extremely unlikely that a single charging station will cause any issue or trip a circuit breaker. But, if there are multiple charging stations on the same electrical panel, and if they are all programmed to begin charging their respective EVs at the same time, then there is now a greater likelihood that a circuit breaker might trip. Therefore, if there are many EVs, it might be beneficial for the EV owners to confer with each other to determine whether they can program their EVs to charge at different times or use different electrical panels.
There is a developing solution for all of the various issues identified: businesses that handle the proper selection and installation of the charging station; determine the amount of electricity used and determining the price rate for that electricity; and if it may be an issue, some will work to ensure that multiple EVs can coordinate their activities so as not to overload the building’s electrical panel. There are also businesses that offer assistance to building owners and building managers by acting as a liaison with the EV owner, assure proper steps are taken by the EV owner, and assure payment for electricity.
Ultimately, as more EV owners exercise their right to request the opportunity to charge, both EV owners and building owners will become more familiar with their respective obligations. The utilities are starting to appreciate their role in this process, as are state and local governments, and the entire process is becoming more common, more familiar, and more stream-lined -- and, newer buildings are starting to have the electrical connectivity built in. But, because of the number of unique situations that will be encountered with existing buildings, it is important to be aware of legal duties and how all sides can work together to mutual advantage.


CALIFORNIA LAWS FOR NON-PROPERTY OWNER CHARGER INSTALLATION


FOR HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATIONS

Civil Code Section 4745
(a) Any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security instrument, or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of any interest in a common interest development, and any provision of a governing document, as defined in
Section 4150, that either effectively prohibits or unreasonably restricts the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station in an owner’s designated parking space, including, but not limited to, a deeded parking space, a parking space in an owner’s exclusive use common area, or a parking space that is specifically designated for use by a particular owner, or is in conflict with the provisions of this section is void and unenforceable.
(b)(1) This section does not apply to provisions that impose reasonable restrictions on electric vehicle charging stations. However, it is the policy of the state to promote, encourage, and remove obstacles to the use of electric vehicle charging stations.
(2) For purposes of this section, “reasonable restrictions” are restrictions that do not significantly increase the cost of the station or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance.
(c) An electric vehicle charging station shall meet applicable health and safety standards and requirements imposed by state and local authorities, and all other applicable zoning, land use, or other ordinances, or land use permits.
(d) For purposes of this section, “electric vehicle charging station” means a station that is designed in compliance with the California Building Standards Code and delivers electricity from a source outside an electric vehicle into one or more electric vehicles. An electric vehicle charging station may include several charge points simultaneously connecting several electric vehicles to the station and any related equipment needed to facilitate charging plug-in electric vehicles.
(e) If approval is required for the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station, the application for approval shall be processed and approved by the association in the same manner as an application for approval of an architectural modification to the property, and shall not be willfully avoided or delayed. The approval or denial of an application shall be in writing. If an application is not denied in writing within 60 days from the date of receipt of the application, the application shall be deemed approved, unless that delay is the result of a reasonable request for additional information.
(f) If the electric vehicle charging station is to be placed in a common area or an exclusive use common area, as designated in the common interest development’s declaration, the following provisions apply:

(1) The owner first shall obtain approval from the association to install the electric vehicle charging station and the association shall approve the installation if the owner agrees in writing to do all of the following:
(A) Comply with the association’s architectural standards for the installation of the charging station.
(B) Engage a licensed contractor to install the charging station.

(C) Within 14 days of approval, provide a certificate of insurance that names the association as an additional insured under the owner’s insurance policy in the amount set forth in paragraph (3).
(D) Pay for the electricity usage associated with the charging station.

(2) The owner and each successive owner of the charging station shall be responsible for all of the following:
(A) Costs for damage to the charging station, common area, exclusive use common area, or separate interests resulting from the installation, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of the charging station.
(B) Costs for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the charging station until it has been removed and for the restoration of the common area after removal.
(C) The cost of electricity associated with the charging station.
(D) Disclosing to prospective buyers the existence of any charging station of the owner and the related responsibilities of the owner under this section.

(3) The owner and each successive owner of the charging station, at all times, shall maintain a homeowner liability coverage policy in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) and shall name the association as a named additional insured under the policy with a right to notice of cancellation.
(4) A homeowner shall not be required to maintain a homeowner liability coverage policy for an existing National Electrical Manufacturers Association standard alternating current power plug.

(g) Except as provided in subdivision (h), installation of an electric vehicle charging station for the exclusive use of an owner in a common area, that is not an exclusive use common area, shall be authorized by the association only if installation in the owner’s designated parking space is impossible or unreasonably expensive. In such cases, the association shall enter into a license agreement with the owner for the use of the space in a common area, and the owner shall comply with all of the requirements in subdivision (f).
(h) The association or owners may install an electric vehicle charging station in the common area for the use of all members of the association and, in that case, the association shall develop appropriate terms of use for the charging station.
(i) An association may create a new parking space where one did not previously exist to facilitate the installation of an electric vehicle charging station.
(j) An association that willfully violates this section shall be liable to the applicant or other party for actual damages, and shall pay a civil penalty to the applicant or other party in an amount not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000).
(k) In any action to enforce compliance with this section, the prevailing plaintiff shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees.


FOR APARTMENTS / MULTI-UNIT DWELLINGS

Civil Code Section 1947.6
(a) For any lease executed, extended, or renewed on and after July 1, 2015, a lessor of a dwelling shall approve a written request of a lessee to install an electric vehicle charging station at a parking space allotted for the lessee that meets the requirements of this section and complies with the lessor's procedural approval process for modification to the property.
(b) This section does not apply to residential rental properties where:
(1) Electric vehicle charging stations already exist for lessees in a ratio that is equal to or greater than 10 percent of the designated parking spaces.
(2) Parking is not provided as part of the lease agreement.
(3) A property where there are less than five parking spaces.
(4) A dwelling that is subject to the residential rent control ordinance of a public entity.
(c) For purposes of this section, "electric vehicle charging station" or "charging station" means any level of electric vehicle supply equipment station that is designed and built in compliance with Article 625 of the California Electrical Code, as it reads on the effective date of this section, and delivers electricity from a source outside an electric vehicle into a plug-in electric vehicle.
(d) A lessor shall not be obligated to provide an additional parking space to a lessee in order to accommodate an electric vehicle charging station.
(e) If the electric vehicle charging station has the effect of providing the lessee with a reserved parking space, the lessor may charge a monthly rental amount for that parking space.
(f) An electric vehicle charging station and all modifications and improvements to the property shall comply with federal, state, and local law, and all applicable zoning requirements, land use requirements, and covenants, conditions, and restrictions.
(g) A lessee's written request to make a modification to the property in order to install and use an electric vehicle charging station shall include, but is not limited to, his or her consent to enter into a written agreement that includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) Compliance with the lessor's requirements for the installation, use, maintenance, and removal of the charging station and installation, use, and maintenance of the infrastructure for the charging station.
(2) Compliance with the lessor's requirements for the lessee to provide a complete financial analysis and scope of work regarding the installation of the charging station and its infrastructure.
(3) A written description of how, when, and where the modifications and improvements to the property are proposed to be made consistent with those items specified in the "Permitting Checklist" of the "Zero-Emission Vehicles in California: Community Readiness Guidebook" published by the Office of Planning and Research [http://www.ca-ilg.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/zev_guidebook.pdf].
(4) Obligation of the lessee to pay the lessor all costs associated with the lessor's installation of the charging station and its infrastructure prior to any modification or improvement being made to the leased property. The costs associated with modifications and improvements shall include, but are not limited to, the cost of permits, supervision, construction, and, solely if required by the contractor, consistent with its past performance of work for the lessor, performance bonds.
(5) Obligation of the lessee to pay as part of rent for the costs associated with the electrical usage of the charging station, and cost for damage, maintenance, repair, removal, and replacement of the charging station, and modifications or improvements made to the property associated with the charging station.
(h) The lessee shall maintain in full force and effect a lessee's general liability insurance policy in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) and shall name the lessor as a named additional insured under the policy commencing with the date of approval of construction until the lessee forfeits possession of the dwelling to the lessor.

FOR COMMERCIAL TENANT PROPERTIES

Civil Code Section 1952.7
(a) (1) Any term in a lease that is executed, renewed, or extended on or after January 1, 2015, that conveys any possessory interest in commercial property that either prohibits or unreasonably restricts the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station in a parking space associated with the commercial property, or that is otherwise in conflict with the provisions of this section, is void and unenforceable.
(2) This subdivision does not apply to provisions that impose reasonable restrictions on the installation of electric vehicle charging stations. However, it is the policy of the state to promote, encourage, and remove obstacles to the use of electric vehicle charging stations.
(3) This subdivision shall not grant the holder of a possessory interest under the lease described in paragraph (1) the right to install electric vehicle charging stations in more parking spaces than are allotted to the leaseholder in his or her lease, or, if no parking spaces are allotted, a number of parking spaces determined by multiplying the total number of parking spaces located at the commercial property by a fraction, the denominator of which is the total rentable square feet at the property, and the numerator of which is the number of total square feet rented by the leaseholder.
(4) If the installation of an electric vehicle charging station has the effect of granting the leaseholder a reserved parking space and a reserved parking space is not allotted to the leaseholder in the lease, the owner of the commercial property may charge a reasonable monthly rental amount for the parking space.
(b) This section shall not apply to any of the following:
(1) A commercial property where charging stations already exist for use by tenants in a ratio that is equal to or greater than two available parking spaces for every 100 parking spaces at the commercial property.
(2) A commercial property where there are less than 50 parking spaces.
(c) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Electric vehicle charging station" or "charging station" means a station that is designed in compliance with Article 625 of the National Electrical Code, as it reads on the effective date of this section, and delivers electricity from a source outside an electric vehicle into one or more electric vehicles.
(2) "Reasonable costs" includes, but is not limited to, costs associated with those items specified in the "Permitting Checklist" of the "Zero-Emission Vehicles in California: Community Readiness Guidebook" published by the Office of Planning and Research [http://www.ca-ilg.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/zev_guidebook.pdf].
(3) "Reasonable restrictions" or "reasonable standards" are restrictions or standards that do not significantly increase the cost of the electric vehicle charging station or its installation or significantly decrease the charging station's efficiency or specified performance.
(d) An electric vehicle charging station shall meet applicable health and safety standards and requirements imposed by state and local authorities as well as all other applicable zoning, land use, or other ordinances, or land use permit requirements.
(e) If lessor approval is required for the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station, the application for approval shall not be willfully avoided or delayed. The approval or denial of an application shall be in writing.
(f) An electric vehicle charging station installed by a lessee shall satisfy the following provisions:
(1) If lessor approval is required, the lessee first shall obtain approval from the lessor to install the electric vehicle charging station and the lessor shall approve the installation if the lessee complies with the applicable provisions of the lease consistent with the provisions of this section and agrees in writing to do all of the following:
(A) Comply with the lessor's reasonable standards for the installation of the charging station.
(B) Engage a licensed contractor to install the charging station.
(C) Within 14 days of approval, provide a certificate of insurance that names the lessor as an additional insured under the lessee's insurance policy in the amount set forth in paragraph (3).
(2) The lessee shall be responsible for all of the following:
(A) Costs for damage to property and the charging station resulting from the installation, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of the charging station.
(B) Costs for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the charging station.
(C) The cost of electricity associated with the charging station.
(3) The lessee at all times, shall maintain a lessee liability coverage policy in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000), and shall name the lessor as a named additional insured under the policy with a right to notice of cancellation and property insurance covering any damage or destruction caused by the charging station, naming the lessor as its interests may appear.
(g) A lessor may, in its sole discretion, create a new parking space where one did not previously exist to facilitate the installation of an electric vehicle charging station, in compliance with all applicable laws.
(h) Any installation by a lessor or a lessee of an electric vehicle charging station in a common interest development
is also subject to all of the requirements of subdivision (f) of Section 4745 of the Civil Code.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this useful information about car chargers….keep it up
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