Installing a charger in an apartment or townhouse

Costs can range from $300-$20,000 to set up charging in an apartment or townhouse. Cost will vary based on the building’s situation and the type of charger selected. Each building is different, so you will want to ask an electrical contractor to provide a quote that is specific to your situation.

There are three levels of charging. This website provides information on Level 1 and 2, which are most commonly found in apartments and townhomes.

Installing Level 1 charging


A Level 1 charger (120 V/ 15-20 Amps) does not involve the purchase of additional equipment. All electric vehicles come with a portable cordset charger. However, a cordset charger should only be connected to a three-pronged outlet that has a dedicated circuit. That means that the circuit is only used to charge the electric vehicle and no other devices. If a dedicated outlet is already available, you can simply plug-in a cordset charger to an electric vehicle. If there are no outlets available, a new dedicated circuit and outlet will need to be installed.

Installation costs can vary from $300 to $2500. Typically, installation costs can increase if:

  • a dedicated circuit needs to be installed
  • a new outlet needs to be installed (new outlets for Level 1 charging also require 20Amps)
  • the distance to the electrical room is far from the parking stall
  • an upgrade to the building’s electrical system is needed (not common)

A certified electrical contractor will be able to help you determine what you need in your building, and will ensure you get the proper permit and inspections if any electrical work is needed.


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Installing a Level 2 charging

The total cost of installing Level 2 charging can typically range from $6000-$20,000, which includes the cost of the charger and the cost of the installation. Click here to download a spreadsheet tool to help you estimate Level 2 purchase and installation costs.

Buying the Level 2 charger

Level 2 chargers can also be referred to by a more technical term: electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Numerous manufacturers offer Level 2 chargers. Lists of suppliers may be obtained from numerous sources including on the Plug in BC website. The price of a Level 2 charger designed for a single user can range from $400 to $4000, while chargers designed for multiple users (where more than one electric vehicle owner uses the charger or more than one vehicle chargers at the same time) range from $2200 to $16,000.

In general, the price of Level 2 chargers can vary by:

  • Power output: higher power chargers (with greater amperage) are more expensive than less powerful ones
  • Indoor or outdoor: indoor chargers are typically cheaper than outdoor chargers because they do not have to be as resistant to weather and vandalism
  • Portable or hard-wired: hard-wired units are more expensive than portable units that plug into outlets similar to the ones used for dryers and stoves
  • Networked or non-networked: networked systems require Wi-Fi or cellular connections to provide services like payment collection, use tracking and access control; these chargers are more expensive and have monthly networking fees. If you choose a cellular-based networked charger, you may need to boost your cellular signal in an underground parking lot.
  • Single - or dual - port: single-port chargers are less expensive than dual-port chargers, which allow two electric vehicles to charge at the same time on one charger.

It is important to purchase a charger that is properly certified for use in Canada by CSA or cUL. There are numerous products available on the market that meet certification requirements. Lists of these products can be obtained from a number of sources including Plug in BC.

Power-Sharing / Load-Sharing Charging Stations

Some manufacturers now offer EV chargers that have power-sharing capabilities, which allows them to communicate with each other on a "Smart" system, and distribute power when multiple stations are being used at one time. With power sharing, 2 to 4 chargers can share a single 40 Amp, 208 Volt, single phase circuit. Although this may mean slower charging when all stalls are occupied, it can also mean significant cost savings and more efficient use of electrical resources.

Installing the Level 2 charger

Most Level 2 chargers require installation. Any electrical work associated with the installation should be done by a certified electrical contractor who will follow the electrical code and obtain the appropriate permits and inspections.

Installation costs can vary widely between hard-wired and portable chargers. Typical costs for hard-wired charger installations can vary between $4000 and $16,000, with increased costs for more complicated installations. Installation costs for portable chargers can be significantly cheaper.

Installation costs will vary based on:

  • Number of circuits and chargers installed – installation costs increase with the number of circuits and chargers. If you plan to install more chargers in the future it is often cheaper to install multiple circuits at the same time rather than one-by-one. Power-sharing chargers are one option to reduce the number of circuits required to support multiple stalls.
  • Distance between the charger and electrical room – installation costs increase with distance from the electrical room
  • Building age – installation costs can be higher in older buildings because they usually require more electrical work than newer ones
  • Building modifications – installation costs increase with the number and complexity of building modifications required to provide a connection between the charger and the electrical room. For example, costs will increase if there is a need to drill through concrete (to run conduit) or trench landscaping or asphalt.
  • Required electrical upgrades – upgrades can increase installation costs significantly. In some cases, buildings may not have the ability to accommodate charging without upgrading their electrical systems. Cases like this are rare, and most buildings today can accommodate some degree of electric vehicle charging.

A certified electrical contractor will be able to help you determine what you need in your building, and will ensure you get the proper permit and inspections. Level 2 installation costs also include an initial site assessment (by an electrical contractor), as well as permit and inspection costs for any electrical work.

In addition to the cost of buying and installing your charger, there are ongoing costs associated with vehicle charging.
 Learn more about these costs.

Next Step

 Topic 4: Operating Costs