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Hi,
I have a frustrating charging situation. I am currently charging my 2017 Bolt via 120v in my garage. This is because I live in an HOA Cohousing community and none of the 8 garage blocks here are wired for 240v -- and neither is the SINGLE electric box that runs all 8 garage blocks (about 40 cars fit in these).

I've had several electricians come and give me estimates for putting in a 240-volt outlet in my garage. The first guy said it would be -- ahem, $4,000. I wrote about this in a blog entry -->solar chargeddriving .com/2017/09/07/4000-to-install-a-240-volt-electric-car-outlet-in-an-hoa-garage/, apparently I can't put links in, because the forum is worried I might be a spambot.

The second guy, from SmartChargeAmerica said $2,100. Still too much, way too much to put in a 240v outlet. So, I have had a third guy come -- no estimate back yet, and have a 4th electrician coming this Friday.

To keep costs down -- with most of these costs the labor costs for digging and burying a 20-100 foot long trench (length depends on where they would run new 240 wiring into my garage block), I am considering doing the following:

1) Paying an electrician $350-$700 to install a 240-volt outlet right next to the SINGLE electric box that runs all 8 garage blocks' electricity and next to the single utility meter on which all electricity usage for the 8 garage blocks and about 40 garage parking spots is measured.

2) Buying a 100 foot 30 amp, 240v extension cord, for example, this one,
which Amazon says can handle 7500 watts -
apparently I can't post the full link because the forum software thinks I am a potential spammer -- frustrating!!!

Conntek 20603 L14-30 4-Prong 30 Amp Generator Cord (100 Feet)
4.8 out of 5 stars
NEMA L14-30 Plug/Receptacle
30A 125/250V
STW 10/4 Cable
Max Power: 7,500 Watts

3) Plugging in the extension cord into the 240v outlet now nestled next to the single meter and single electric box that (stupidly) runs all 8 4-6-car garage blocks and running it 100-feet from the 240 volt outlet around the back of my garage unit and into my garage.

4) Plugging the extension cord into a Portable EVSE Upgrade for 2013-2014 Nissan LEAF (high-power) unit that I have.

5) Charging my Bolt that way.

(The extension cord would run through a bushy area behind my garage block that no one walks in, and no one would ever see the extension cord, much less trip on it.)

My question: Is it safe to charge my Bolt regularly via a 100-foot heavy duty 240v extension cord, like the one to which the Amazon Link above goes, and into which I would plug my EVSE Upgrade Unit (which I am already using to charge my Bolt, albeit with excruciatingly slow 120v)?

If it's not safe, why not -- what specifically would/might make it "unsafe", dangerous, etc.?
 

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It's safe to run the extension as long as it's connected to a GFCI outlet or breaker. These circuits will disconnect if the electrical output doesn't very closely match the amount returned, which indicates that electricity is taking an alternate path to ground.
 

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The Bolt charges at 32amps at 240v, and that 30amp rating on the extension cord (which is a potential disaster waiting to happen) is not for continuous duty that would be required by the Bolt for hours at a time. A 32 amp EVSE needs to be run on 40 amp capacity wire and breaker.

To carry 32 amps, you need 8 gauge wire, that extension cord is only 10 gauge, see Ampacity chart in link:
http://www.cerrowire.com/ampacity-charts
 

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The Bolt charges at 32amps at 240v, and that 30amp rating on the extension cord (which is a potential disaster waiting to happen) is not for continuous duty that would be required by the Bolt for hours at a time. A 32 amp EVSE needs to be run on 40 amp capacity wire and breaker.

To carry 32 amps, you need 8 gauge wire, that extension cord is only 10 gauge, see Ampacity chart in link:
http://www.cerrowire.com/ampacity-charts
Mostly right.
The EVSE upgrade is a 30 A unit (that is all it "advertises" to the car and that is what the charger will then draw - not 32 A). It all works out the same since the next common wire size will handle either 30 or 32 A continuous.

You would need an 8 ga cord at a minimum, and it is unlikely that an HOA would allow such a setup since it violates the NEC in multiple ways. It's not safe, and that is why it's not allowed by code. As one example, even if people are not walking on/over the cord, you are running unprotected wire through bushes where landscapers are likely to routinely use various types of power equipment that could easily damage the wires.
 

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Not an electrician, so don't take my opinion as best practice, but I'll share what I've learned from my research into setting up an outdoors installation with a plug (at home) and extra long extension cords (for use at a destination when travelling). I'm assuming if you get an electrician to install an outdoors receptacle, it would be the ones with the outdoor use box (like RV electrical hookups). I'd then make my own extension cord with 8 gauge SOOW or SEOOW wire (it will look a lot like the cable used on an EVSE) terminated with the appropriate plug and receptacle, e.g. a 14-50 plug for the main garage receptacle and then the appropriate receptacle for your EVSE. This would be the "safe" extension cord to use for the current involved with charging a Bolt.

The extension cord you listed should be OK for the Leaf high power EVSE you have now, because (looking at the website) it maxes out at 20 amps.

Since it's going to be an exposed extension cord, you never know what might happen; could you be held liable for a worst case scenario? That's what I'd be most concerned about. The electrical side is manageable with the right equipment, but the dumb person or unforeseen incident isn't and I'd think twice about exposing myself to that risk.
 

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Since it's going to be an exposed extension cord, you never know what might happen; could you be held liable for a worst case scenario? That's what I'd be most concerned about. The electrical side is manageable with the right equipment, but the dumb person or unforeseen incident isn't and I'd think twice about exposing myself to that risk.
The exposed party is not the OP, but the HOA.
They won't think twice, as their obligation is to ALL the owners. Allowing an owner to run electrical wiring that violates the NEC (400.8 among other sections) would be negligent, and I can't see them permitting it.
 

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A quick possible alternate solution - If you have a couple "close" 120V receptacles in your garage that are on opposite phase (meaning there would be 240V between the hot legs of these two outlets) there are devices out there that combine these two outlets into a single 240V outlet. Noting that this would only allow for the amperage rating of the lower of the two outlets being combined (likely 15A), you could have a 240V 12A solution for (what I'm guessing is) a couple hundred bucks. This is not full 32A charging rate, but double of a 120V. (you could use the stock Bolt L1 EVSE for this)

I haven't done this myself - I'll leave you to do the research and checkup on code etc.
 

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It sounds like you want to make the extension cord a permanent installation - that explicitly violates NEC and the HOA would laugh you out of the meeting.

However, if you only need to charge once or twice a week then you could remove the cord when you're not using it (this is what I do at my condo, albeit with a much shorter cord). Then you could make the argument to the board that it's just for temporary use, which should not violate code as long as the cord is UL rated for this purpose.

That said, $2100 for 100' of trenching and running a new 50A circuit seems like a bargain to me.
 

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...That said, $2100 for 100' of trenching and running a new 50A circuit seems like a bargain to me.
:|From your post, I'm not sure what your situation is? Do you own your property, lease, rent? If you own the property and have permission to run the 240v electrical, the quoted $2100 might be a fair deal, long term. If it's not your property, then no, and look else where. Did you research this issue prior to acquiring your Bolt? Good luck with a solution.
 

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Do you drive more than 60-70 miles on most days? Or do you not spend at least 10 hours home each night (between relaxing, getting ready for bed, sleep, and getting ready in the morning) ?

I drive 40 miles most days, with occasional Saturday trips of 140 miles. If I got a Bolt I would use 110V and just know that it would take a few days for my car to get back to fully charged after each weekend. We're usually home relaxing on Sunday, aside from church, so it would pick up 80 miles of charge that day alone. If it picks up 50 miles a night the rest of the week, that's 50x6+80=380 miles of range to use per week. Which works out to just about 20,000 miles a year of driving.

It may not meet your needs, but I'm just sharing the numbers to get others thinking. Perhaps people think they need faster charging just because the pack is so big. For many people, the opposite is actually true, because you have a huge pack, you can take advantage of that buffer with slower charging.
 

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1) Get 3 other residents (using same garage block) to buy Bolts.
2) Have trenched/buried conduit built for 1/4 the cost.
3) Have each owner buy & install his own EVSE.
4) Live happily ever after!
 

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This is why building codes need to be changed NOW.
It's always much less expensive to incorporate the wiring (or at least raceways) for charging equipment during the original construction rather than as a retrofit.

The low hanging fruit is single family homes with garages, but code revisions also need to address multi-family housing. Without charging at work, most apartment and condo tenants are poor candidates for EV's, and that is a significant chunk of the population. The city I live in is 45% single family and 55% multi. Nationally, new housing starts are about 35% multifamily.

The parallel I use when talking to people is that of the microwave. When they first started getting popular, the existing wiring often would not support one and expensive retrofits needed to be done. The NEC was changed to require a circuit capable of handling a microwave in all new construction (and many remodels).

I've approached my City Council about incorporating these changes into Code requirements, and they are receptive. This means that in a couple of years (at best) we may get it implemented. Don't assume someone else will make it happen - people reading this (and other forums) are the ones that will motivate changes to help with the adoption of EV's. Be part of the solution, even if it is a short email to a local representative.
 

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1) Get 3 other residents (using same garage block) to buy Bolts.
2) Have trenched/buried conduit built for 1/4 the cost.
3) Have each owner buy & install his own EVSE.
4) Live happily ever after!
Great idea, but it could be taken one step forward: get all of the garage blocks updated to accommodate one or two EVSEs. Put in a 100A subpanel, etc. In for a penny, in for a pound kind of thing.
 

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Current Bolt owners are sort of stuck when in comes to fast charging, both because
the CCS SAE Combo charge stations are both not yet plentiful (the Leaf uses CHAdeMO, soon to be discarded) and are not uprated to their potential (350 and 500KW) yet,
because of the obvious fact that few CCS cars are out there. BUT, that is misleading, because all of the automakers except Tesla will be using CCS fast charge protocol, and that means that the future will consist of many,many,many times more CCS charge stations than Tesla supercharger stations - eventually there will be CCS charge stations at every gas station, practically every block. There is no rational reason for automakers to run a recharging network. Can you imagine all 20 automakers, each with their own network and chargers are all the same? It makes no sense economically or in any other way. This is not to say that they won't band together and jointly fund a bunch of CCS charging stations. They certainly have far, far more capaital, and access to capital than Tesla has.
With the Toshiba super batteries just around the corner, charging will be so fast that ,
while charging at home will always be the cheapest and easiest, folks without that capability won't be at a loss.
 

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With the Toshiba super batteries just around the corner, charging will be so fast that ,
while charging at home will always be the cheapest and easiest, folks without that capability won't be at a loss.
home charging will never be faster than the service the home has feeding it - and most homes are limited to 100 or 200 amp service

240 volts * 100 amp = 24,000 watts
240 volts * 200 amp = 48,000 watts

you can't pull 100% of the rating - so you have to derate these numbers by 20% (80% load)

and let's be honest, 100 amp is about the max any home would have for a single appliance (i.e. the EVSE) - so 19,200 watts - or 19.2 kW/hour is about the max any home can deliver to the battery.

the limit on fast home charging is _NOT_ the battery. batteries can already accept power faster than EVSE's can pump it - the limiting factor is the actual 240 volt service that most home have…

fast charging is all well can good but as you push for faster charging times you still need to have a delivery system that can deliver the necessary kWH's in the amount of time required

for example if you want 10 minute full charge of 60,000 wH (60 kWH) then you need a 600,000 watt EVSE…
 

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the limit on fast home charging is _NOT_ the battery. batteries can already accept power faster than EVSE's can pump it - the limiting factor is the actual 240 volt service that most home have…
Yeah, but that's OK because the vast majority of home charging isn't time-sensitive. The real need for fast charging is out on the road where you have to extend your range to get where you need to go.
 
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