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Thread: Charging at your local estate/long term parking - practical and usable solutions?

  1. #1 co-founder DITB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Hong Kong

    Icon3 Charging at your local estate/long term parking - practical and usable solutions?

    There are already many threads about charging, charger types, superchargers, companies installing them and about ICE cars blocking EV spots.

    This thread is in particular dedicated only to practical solutions to offer your local long-term/estate parking, how to solve the associated obstacles (see below the following links). This thread is not about superchargers or public charging stations, nor private house garage where you have almost full control already.

    My prediction is that the success of EV implementation in HK is highly dependant on successful installation of practical and usable charging facilities in your "local estate parking" or equivalent. If HK legislators are any serious about EVs they would make it a requirement by law, even for existing parking garages (within a time frame), to implement charging availability, and enforce it as well (i.e. remove/clamp/fine ICE cars).

    For other similar issues, please see the following existing threads:

    Hong Kong Supercharging
    Where Would You Suggest Tesla To Build Their Supercharging Stations In Hong Kong?

    Charging stations and public parking:
    Charging Stations
    Monthly-Paid Parking Space With Charging Points?

    ICE cars blocking EV spots (EVs being "ICEd"):
    ICE vehicle parking at EV spot...

    Plug/charger types:
    Plug type
    Charging with 220V 13A socket in Hong Kong

    Companies installing chargers:
    Charger quotes

    Now back to the subject of this thread.

    Many of us in Hong Kong live in a place where we do not own, nor have control over "our" local, long term parking spot - the place we would park most of the time (i.e. when we are at home, or maybe at work).

    So we need to find ways to incorporate charging solutions, and make it edible for technicians, estate owners associations, managers and car park owners. There is a lot of resistance, fear and misconception of EV cars and charging. One single BYD charger event, which was installed by someone who lacked the skill to do it right, is sufficient for people to be afraid the charging is added risk to their estate. How about each car with a tank of gasoline or LPG? We need to overcome these obstacles by providing information and solutions, to make it easier to get chargers installed in your local parking lot.

    I don't yet know enough about the subject, hence this thread. Eventually, I intend to make a PDF guide or a wiki, and presentation slides which can be used in meetings to inform (and convince) the relevant powers.

    First of all, here is a provisional list of challenges to be met:

    • Regulatory and certification restrictions limiting the installation of chargers. Paperwork exercises!
    • Practical restrictions (i.e. cabling capacity)
    • Allocation and reservation of dedicated EV parking-charging spots, and keeping them ICE free (provide clear signs and floor paint, use least desirable locations etc)
    • Rotation of EVs- if required/possible - of EVs to maximise use of charging capacity when charging finishes
    • Charging stations which cover more than one spot (i.e. installation of a charger in the corners where 4 spots intersect, so charging cables can be moved without shifting cars)
    • Provisions for metering and billing individual car owners/users, and preventing other people from either unplugging a charger prematurely, or leeching of another users account)

    First of all, these would to some extent be overnight or long term parking spots, so to keep it simple, I will focus on 13A installations here. 12 hours of 13A charging should give 140-150 km worth of extra range, which should be sufficient for most owners, as long as it is their long term parking spot. For public and semi-public parking where charging is offered for a typical short-term parking, it's a different story about 13A, see those separate threads.

    I thought about it for a while, and came up with some thoughts about it.

    Routing cables of sufficient capacity from the local switch room to the intended spots, where the meters will be located. A number of metering cabinets, a bitlike this type, but with a personal lock, one for each user:

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    The cover of the metering box would have an opening at the bottom, so the 13A charging cable can be connected inside, while the cable is connected to the car. This design has the following ...


    • Only the approved user(s) who has/have the key (or keypad combination) are able to use the charging meter that goes on your account
    • Other people will not be able to unplug your car, while you aren't there, as the socket is inside the locked cabinet
    • Service staff are able to read the meter through the window for regular billing, without having the key to your box
    • Community boxes with loaner keys could be kept for guest users needing to charge, for direct billing as required
    • A 13A charger requires pretty simple and cheap installation of standard 1-phase 230V AC cabling, a cabinet with a lock, meter, circuit breaker and socket. Standard socket should work for all electric cars, though the charging is slow (about 12 km/hr for a Tesla)
    • No need for octopus installation, connectivity and charges, just regular reading of the meter for billing


    • Unless you have a solid extension cable, your box will only work for a few adjacent spots (this will be a problem once EVs become more widespread and parking lots have many EVs)
    • People who really want to commit vandalism can still cut your cable. But then, they can also slash your tires and scratch your paint
    • The spots will only be open to a limited number of users, or each user need to have multiple meters around.
    • If you need to charge your 85kWh MS from 0 to 500 km range, you need to occupy the spot and the charger, for about 1 1/2 day (at 13A charging)

    As for prevention of ICE blocking of EV spots, here are some suggestions:

    Name:  Do Not Park Your ICE Here!!!.jpg
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    • Make clear signs over and behind the parking spot, English and Chinese. Amongst other information, write in large font something like "Please report non-EV parking to XXXX XXXX for fast towing"
    • Paint the surface in a bright colour, with a "plug" symbol on it (See Marks post of the Tesla fast charging spots with two roadsters in)
    • Place a boom or a sign placed on the floor which must be manually moved to access the spot, clearly stating "Electric Vehicles only - others will be towed, clamped and fined" or something
    • Issue wheel hydraulic car shifting jacks and wheel clamps, or equivalent, to allow service staff to move illegally parked ICE cars

    Name:  Mark Tesla parking.jpg
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    Name:  Car Shifting device.jpg
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    This is how HK Electric octopus enabled chargers work:

    HK Electric Investments - System Busy

    I cannot see from this guide whether or not the cabinets lock. Could other people unplug your charger from the socket, maybe even charge on your expense? Can it be used in a private/restricted parking lot, or will they only install it in public accessible lots?

    Octopus charging would be a good and flexible solution, if it protects you from being unplugged, and if it isn't overcharged (pun if you like or not!), but somehow I think it will cost quite a lot to get it installed, and run it.

    Let's hear your thoughts, how do we approach these issues, and make the most of it?
    Co-founder of
    Hong Kong S85 "Classic" | Silver RH Drive delivered Sep 23rd, 2014

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Hong Kong/Australia
    Some good ideas. However getting stuff past the fun police and the "cannot" brigade is another thing.
    RHD Hong Kong | 85kwh | Blue | Tan Performance Seats | Tech Package | Parking Sensors | Air Suspension | Warp Drive

  3. #3
    S85: "Sparky" Ugliest1's Avatar
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    Aug 2013
    Victoria BC Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by Lerxt View Post
    ...the fun police and the "cannot" brigade...
    [bolding added] LOL. Now that's an expression I'll have to write down.
    That's my $.02, but Canada no longer uses pennies -> my thoughts get rounded down to 0.
    17,000km Electric Trek blog: (@Uglyest1 #ElektrikTrek)

    Grey S85 27xxx, black leather, Pano, Tech, Air, TwinChg, Subzero, Lighting, Parking, Shelf, 19’s, Torklift Hitch

  4. #4
    For prevention of ICE blocking of EV spots, car park management should manage the charging bay the same way as they manage the reserved bay for disables. I seldom see people dare to occupy the bay for disables.

    Having said that, there are laws to protect the disabled community, but we have no such privileges.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Hong Kong/Australia
    I think that estates will have to be made to comply, I doubt they will do it willingly, probably because electric cars are so "dangerous'.
    RHD Hong Kong | 85kwh | Blue | Tan Performance Seats | Tech Package | Parking Sensors | Air Suspension | Warp Drive

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Hong Kong
    Totally agree. Estates should be obliged by law to provide charging points once a resident requires them. Otherwise EVs won't move forward in HK. But this is still a long way to go.

  7. #7 co-founder DITB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Hong Kong
    Thank you for your comments.

    I wrote this not just because of my own parking situation, but because I think it is vital for the successful implementation of EVs in Hong Kong, that we don't get newspaper headlines like "My EV is useless, I cannot charge it" or something along these lines. By the time stories like these hits the headlines of HK newspapers, it will take a lot of effort to restore general public confidence in recharging. The huge wave of Tesla model S cars arriving this year will really put the charging infrastructure - and peoples patience and goodwill - to a test.

    Just look at what happened to the few fires of Tesla model S cars - while totally unrelated to the battery itself, no-one is injured and tens of thousands of ICE cars burning every year, that doesn't sell newspapers. People want to believe in failures, so let's fight to make this one a success!

    We need to have stories where people talk about how happy they are about their car, and how it has made their life much easier, safer, more comfortable, all the while they are not spewing out exhaust fumes. Charging their car at night using excess electricity that couldn't otherwise be used from low demand, arriving to a fully charged car each morning.

    Name:  HK dirty air.jpg
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    Next step is to get more electricity from wind turbines and solar power but that is a different fight. Even when the electricity comes from coal, it's still several times better than each car having it's own fossil burner.
    Last edited by DITB; 2014-03-09 at 07:22 PM. Reason: tai po
    Co-founder of
    Hong Kong S85 "Classic" | Silver RH Drive delivered Sep 23rd, 2014

  8. #8
    Moderator, Asia Pacific markwj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Hong Kong
    Here are the EMSD technical guidelines for EV charging facilities in Hong Kong:

    My personal opinion is that we need legislative backing in support of home/office EV charging in _existing_ buildings. Without such backing, the building owners / management are just not going to do it (at least in the short term, until there is a large enough base of vehicles). The issues are:

    1. Charging for electricity - only CLP and HKE can do that (?)
    2. How, specifically, the 'force' can be applied

    For (1), a solution is to allow CLP or HKE into the car parks and allow them to use octopus to charge for this, just like they do now in shopping centres. That, however, is an overly complex and expensive solution - given that all we really need is a 13A socket and monthly/quarterly metered billing for a single user. I am not really sure of the law here - is anyone allowed to 'sell' (or resell) electricity in Hong Kong?

    For (2), with _new_ buildings Government used the plot ratio concessions that developers already get (extending the conditions of those concessions to include providing for a minimum ration of EV charging facilities). But, what about for _existing_ buildings? It can't be done via a rates concession (as the rates are paid by the car park owner, not necessarily user). The simplest approach seems to be CAP344 (building management ordinance) as a pure 'stick' approach (make it illegal to block installation of charging facilities), but I suspect any changes there would be so watered down as to make it a very expensive proposition for a car park owner (dedicated meter, separate service, insurance, etc) and it does nothing for renters (rather than owners).

    Regarding ICEing of parking spots, the shopping centres in Hong Kong that use clearly labelled and painted spots together with cones have no problems at all. I have yet to see a single case of ICEing in such spots. The government car parks, by contrast, which have no painted spots and no priority for EV charging, are permanently ICEd. The solution is simple - the government car parks should have a few spaces dedicated to EV charging (painted, coned, and enforced). Say 2 out of 20 spots, to begin with. Then, when the utilisation of those initial spots starts to grow, then more spots should be moved over to be dedicated to EV charging. It really is that simple, but government doesn't seem to have the balls to do it (which seems strange, given the success of such an approach in shopping centre car parks - as well as how such brightly painted spots 'showcase' EV charging in general).

    I recently had a long discussion with EPD and EMSD regarding the situation at the Cheung Sha Wan government car park (20 EV parking bays, all ICEd). Bottom line from the responses received is that they want to 100% utilise the car park and won't dedicate spaces to EV charging. They say:

    The Government has installed 500 nos. of standard electric vehicle (EV) chargers at 18 Government Car Parks including 30 nos. at Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices Car Park since mid 2012. Under the current Government policy, there is no parking spaces in any of these car parks that are designated for EV only!

    In order to improve the chance of EV users to park at these car parks, the operator will try to temporarily reserve 2 to 3 of these parking spaces with a traffic cone if the car park is not full. When the demand for parking by petrol engine vehicles increases during the day, the operator will release back these temporary reserved parking spaces for them. This arrangement is aimed to ensure a good utilisation of the car park overall.
    but that is not what is happening practically in the government car parks today. I also think the wording 'improve the chances' is ridiculous. A charge for an EV is equivalent to a refill of petrol for an ICE vehicle. Think of it from the EV driver's point of view - turning up at an EV charging station, finding 20 bays all blocked by petrol cars, and being unable to charge. That is equivalent to turning up at a petrol station and being unable to refuel because all the pumps are blocked by EVs. If the petrol station was shared by EVs and petrol cars, surely it would be sensible to reserve 1 or 2 petrol pumps for refueling?

    Without these issues resolved, I think we're in for some tough times for EVs in Hong Kong. Those purchasers who don't have charging at home or in the office are going to be fighting (amongst themselves and with other EV owners) for the few public charging spots.
    These musings are the copyrighted intellectual property of the author, and are intended as part of a conversation among the Tesla Motors Clubs membership.
    My words may not be quoted by any third party outside the Tesla Motors Clubs forums, without my express consent.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Hong Kong
    To the public it looks like the government is supportive of EVs, but in practicality the support is only half hearted. Some departments support it, but as Mark shows the ones in charge for the particular carparks just care about the carparks revenues.

    With our support and believe in EVs for HK we are in for a tough ride. Especially for the people who don’t have charging facilities at home and/or work. I foresee charging chaos and many unhappy EV drivers once we suddenly have 500 EVs on the road in the second half of the year.

    Although I have my own 13amp charging at my estate’s carpark, my dream of the technically possible 32amp 3 phase upgrade might pop. I just learned, that CLP requests a form for “Rising Mains for Connection of Electrical Installation with an Increased Current Demand” to be signed by the building management or the chairman of the incorporated owners. I worry they might not sign the form.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Hong Kong
    Vmax, thanks for the info. I just found the form on CLP's website and will follow your approach and see if it works for my estate.

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