Re: Preparing for electric cars on site
From: John Beutler (
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2015 08:52:34 -0800 (PST)
From Liberty Village Coho in MD

My wife Ann purchased the first plug in in our community, a Nissan Leaf, last spring. We have existing 120V outlets at all of our parking lot lights, where she has plugged in. She monitored her usage and came up with an average kWh/day times the electric utility rate, which is about 7 cents/kWh. This worked out to about $15/month, which is what she pays the community association. Last summer, she investigated wind powered electric utilities, and arranged for both our home account and the two community association accounts to be all wind power. This adds a bit to the rate, but negates the coal-->electricity argument. In December, we purchased a used Chevy Volt, and it uses about the same amount of electricity as the Leaf, so we've just gone with that for the HOA.

Now 120V charging is rather slow. We're in the process of getting a 240V charger put in at our own expense, and this will cut charging time in half. We happen to have a convenient spot right next to the electric meter for the parking lot where we hope to have a weatherproof box installed for the 240V charging line. We haven't quite figured out how to get community approval, but don't think there's any opposition since we're footing the bill. The 240V charger costs about $450 and the electrician bill looks like it will be about $800. Most 240V chargers are installed in garages, so we have had to do some research to find one that's weatherproof. While the Leaf 120V charging cable has done fine outdoors, the Volt is only sorta kinda weather resistant, and I had to replace it after a month of ice and snow. This not something that's well documented, so I got it replaced under warranty coverage.

Both cars work very well for commuting to work (4 and 13 miles each way respectively) and we've almost forgotten how to pump gas, except on longer trips, where we take the Volt. The Leaf is a wonderful car too, though it takes a bit of getting used to figuring out its range in wintertime, which is lower than in summer, as with all battery systems including regular hybrids. The wind power deal is a bit tricky - they keep upping the "introductory rate" but will renew it if you threaten to change to one of the other companies selling the same wind power.



2/14/2015 1:28 PM, mburkel [at] wrote:
Winslow Cohousing is beginning to recognize that electric cars are here and have 
started working on a plan.  I see a 2010 cohousing-L posting that asked many of our 
questions but received NO responses.  In case more communities have looked at the 
issues since then, I'm restarting that thread.  Our shared electric car died several 
years ago and hasn't been replaced but 2 members now have electric cars on site and 
more are expected. From 2010:"I wonder what Cohousing communities are doing to 
prepare for electric vehicles, owhich are likely to become more common as the 
plug-in hybrids (Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt) become available. On this list there 
are a few references to individual with electric cars, but not much in detail or in 
the last couple of years.
  Questions: Where will such cars be parked?How many spaces are you planning for?Who will pay for 
the infrastructure (outlets, etc)?How will the electricity used by paid for (metered or flat fee 
paid by the owner, or paid by the community)?Are there objections in the community to supporting 
electric cars (Examples: "Internal combustion vehicles are more eco-friendly." Or, 
"Electric cars will be acceptable only after we put in the infrastructure to capture/generate 
renewable energy ourselves.")? Marci
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