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Case study: installing a Tesla home charger in my garage as a renter

Charging at home is the most common way to make Electric Car ownership and charging fairly painless, turning your car charging into a behaviour like charging your laptop or phone – just plug it in overnight and get the charge you need by morning. Here’s my own experience of getting a home charger installed.

Normally most EV owners would arrange for their home charger installation to be completed before taking delivery of a new EV, given the lead times for delivery. Tesla supply a charger with most vehicle purchases as far as I’m aware, and ours was shipped to us a couple of months before the approximate delivery date.

You can opt for a 2.5m or 7.5m charging cable if getting a new home charger from Tesla. I opted for the longer cable for future flexibility in placing the charger.

Here are the specs of the wall charger:

Wall Connector AU

In the case of our Model X, we were moving house so I had decided not to install the Tesla home charger until we knew where we would want a longer term installation.

We moved house the same week as collecting the Model X into a new rental property with a garage. This meant seeking permission for the installation from the landlord, which they were amenable to as long we left things how we found them.

Tips for getting permission from your landlord for an electric car charger

I had declared on our rental application that we were interested in installing an EV charger, so that hopefully meant this didn’t come as a surprise to the landlord.

Regardless, I tried to do my research and figure out how I could make the installation as non-destructive as possible.

Normally the electrician doing the installation will want to visit the property first and look at how to do the most effective installation before offering a quote. This visit would usually also be free of charge and should result in paperwork you can show the landlord.

I explained the plan to the landlord in writing and showing the paperwork from the electrician to show it would be done professionally. I also offered to leave behind the charger cabling (but not the charging unit) on our departure in future.

Installing a charger in a house with a garage or driveway is usually not that complicated but apartment blocks are different beast. We’ll have another article on that at some point in future.

Getting the install done

Having spoken to the team at LME Electrical in the past and after previously getting good advice, they were an obvious candidate to use for this installation. The final quote was around $900.

The installation was relatively simple, and required running a cable from our power board through our store room behind and into the garage through a wall-fitted shelf box accessible from both the store room and the garage. If the box hadn’t been there though the Garage is otherwise a bit of a concrete box and would have been much harder to get through.

From there, the Tesla charger was installed with a legally required isolator next to the unit, set to the right charge settings and tested as working with the car.

The property does not have three phase supply to the house, meaning we are ‘limited’ (which isn’t all that limiting and is fairly common) to single phase power, with the final supply running at 32A. Given the a regular power point runs at 10A this offers at least 3x the speed than plugging into the wall socket, with a charge rate of around 30km of range added per hour – easily enough for our daily needs.

The whole process was done and dusted in around 6 hours, with the Tesla charger now in daily use. I continue to charge our BMW i3 from the included occasional use charger plugged into a regular wall socket in the garage too.

Summing up – installing your own home charger

The main thing to realise is that EV charging installations done by professionals are not cheap and should be budgeted for as part of your vehicle purchase. If it’s your own property that will make life easier, but getting an installation done as a renter should hopefully be doable if you have a decent landlord who understands that this is an asset to the property rather than an inconvenience.

Keith enjoys nerding out about Electric Vehicles, owning a BMW i3, Tesla Model X and now, running Drive Zero .

2 Comments

  1. It is NOT that simple from a landlord’s point of view. Messing with the wiring in a older house is a risk. The 40 year old house wiring was never intended to supply the large current loads of an electric car charging system (for example, an electric dryer is not supposed to be operated for 12 hours every day). Most older homes only have 100 amp service. If the home has an oven, a clothes dryer, a microwave, and an A/C unit, that is almost 100 amps right there. The only safe way to do this is have the supply to the house increased to 200 amp service. This requires engineering by the power company (about $2000), new supply cable to the house ($1500), city permits and inspections ($500-1000). Then there is the actual installation costs ($1000+). What is the advantage of all this? It is a liability and an expense only.

    1. Ed – thanks for the comment. All valid points but I don’t believe you can generalise that it’s a concern for every household.

      Any EV charger should be installed by a licensed electrician. Any issues to do with the amount of power available to a charger should be raised by the electrician before they do the install and discussed with the renter and the landlord. In my case, a dedicated new circuit with high amperage breaker was installed (with landlord permission). I’d hope that all EV owners would get their own circumstances looked at and of course with permission from the landlord granted before going ahead.

      What’s the advantage? My landlord has a grateful and more locked in tenant as a result of their permission to have the install done – this is a plus for both parties.

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