PluginIndia.com investigates on how big a problem this really is.
No big deal. Any electrician can install a socket on a pillar or on a wall, right?
Right. But there are other questions that arise which need to be considered.
- Most apartments in India have small dingy rooms which house electric meters for each unit. The idea is to connect the socket near the parking lot to the meter room.
- How far is your parking slot from the meter room?
- Would you use insulated wall mounted wires, like the one shown in the photo?
- What if the meter room is in a level below or above your parking slot? How big a problem would that be?
- What if you have an uncovered parking slot?
- How about running an extension cord out your window. Would that be simple?
- Will the 'societies' or 'apartment management' object? Will you have to take permission?
- Do you park on the road?
Its important to speak to the management of the apartment and inform them that you have an EV and would like to install a charging point. Its also good to make it clear to them that the socket would be connected to your meter.
Once you have the permission, you will need to catch hold of an electrician and look at how the task can be accomplished. In some cases, it would be straightforward. In some cases (especially if the slot is uncovered and far from the meter room), it would take days.
PluginIndia.com checked out few apartments in Pune, Bangalore and Delhi with the aim of understanding how this issue could be solved.
Supriya Sankool Apartments
Baner Road, Pune
He quickly installed a socket near our parking slot. The socket had a wire connecting it to the unit's meter.
According to Mr Dyaneshwar - "Having a slot farther away from the meter room is not a problem. We will need have install a insulated wall mounted wire that goes till the slot"
Mr Dyaneshwar was confident about installing a socket even for open parking slots.
"Usually open parking slots are near a wall or a pillar. So we will need to have ground wires that reach them. Its doable but its extra work and money"
She lives in a multi story apartment and is worried about charging at home. But after speaking to a local electrician and the apartment management, she is assured.
In this case the wiring to the meter would be complex.
Mr Vaibhav says that EV companies should help customers by installing home charging stations at no extra cost and EV owners should not worry about setting up home charging.
In the future, Mr Vaibhav thinks that groups of EV owners will pool up and set up a common EV parking areas in societies, with solar panels providing the power too.
JNU Campus, Delhi
In my case, the electricity meters are installed in individual homes and not in a dedicated meter room.
When my electric car, the Mahindra e2o was delivered and we could not charge it at home, the Mahindra team suggested that there were issues with the earthing. I got several electricians from my office, outside to examine the earthing, and there appeared to be no problem with the earthing in my building (proper or whatever, the earthing was good, deep and as per specifications). Later, with the help of local electricians I discovered that that we were getting only 6-7 amps during most of the day, and could charge the vehicle in the morning when there was higher voltage (fewer acs running in the morning). Based on discussions on the whatsapp group and the Mahindra tech team, I decided to get a stabilizer.
When I called my office electricians to set up the stabilizer, they suggested that I check the cable first before installing the stabilizer. They felt that voltage would drop over a longer cable, and that was the main issue here. I have not had any charging issues since changing the wire.
In our case, we have to draw a line which is about 35 m in length. Earlier, I had a 1.5 mm cable – with all the three wires housed inside a single cable. Given all the issues, we decided to go in for three separate wires for pos, neg & earth. Together they are now > 3 mm.
Here’s a summary of likely charging issues – diagnostics & solutions:
- If the length of cable to drawn to set up the charging point is > 10 m, go for a thicker gauge (locally in Delhi, these are called AC or pump cables).
- Do electric appliances on 15 amp sockets in our building give you a shock when you touch them? If yes, you may have earthing issues. If not, then there is proper earthing in your building.
- Do electric appliances in your building on 15 amp sockets only work with a stabilizer – for ex AC or fridge? Do they shut off frequently due to low voltage? If voltage is an issue for other appliances, then it may be an issue for your car as well. Please get a set-up stabilizer.
Mahindra Reva the makers of the e2o and Revai electric cars, say that they will help install one charging station at home or work for free.
Hero Electric, the e-bike maker has innovations like a removable battery that the user can take home to charge. This completely eliminates issues described above.
Solar systems are not exactly cheap. So EV owners will still prefer to plug into the grid. Installing a home charging station is a must for maximum comfort.
With proper planning and support from EV companies, setting up a home charge unit should not be a problem. There are cases which are difficult to solve - like people parking in the roads. In such cases, there are always alternatives like trying to setup a charge point at work, or using public charging stations.
In most cases, it helps to be open, flexible and creative about working and finding a solution. Remember that you, as an EV owner, are at the forefront of the growing EV movement. Things will get easier, in time, when we grow in numbers. That is when apartment complexes will provide services for EV owners. For now, thank you for being revolutionary!