Boston Man Finally Gets EV Charger After 2.5 Year Fight

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

What does it take to get a home EV charger installed?

Well for one Boston man, it took two and a half years, 37 letters, and four endorsements from councilors.

Matt Malloy, who lives in the Dorchester section of Boston, has an EV but didn't have a driveway. At first, he tried to charge his car with an extension lead, but the city threatened fines. After all, he was running a 50-amp cable over the sidewalk.

So Malloy, an executive at a brewing company who once worked as an exec at Zipcar, decided to build a driveway and get a Level II charger.

Easier said than done.

He needed an architect, the endorsement of four city councilors, and 37 letters of support. Why? NIMBYs

The not-in-my-backyarders rejected his plan for 200 square feet of bricks because, well, I guess some people are just busybodies? One even suggested the space would be better as a park. Keep in mind we're talking 200 square feet here -- not even half the size of my relatively small condo. I suppose a small garden could occupy the space set aside for one car -- maybe.

Carscoops points out, rightly, that this is an example of how EV owners who don't have a driveway and/or driveway can struggle to find fast charging for their EVs.

I agree, but I also am not (generally, there are exceptions) a fan of NIMBYism. Perhaps cities and towns need to re-think how things like this are handled, and not just in the case of driveways.

[Image: Maria Galvin/]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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13 of 64 comments
  • FreedMike FreedMike on Apr 28, 2023

    So...what we have here isn't an EV problem, but rather a building permit problem.

    Lots of folks would love to bag on bad old liberal Boston for this (ThOz bAAad LiBBBz), but 20+ years in the mortgage biz tells me that anytime any property owner needs to do something that violates zoning, it's typically a royal (and expensive) pain in the a** to get it through the municipality and/or the HOA in all our lovely fifty states.

  • Jpolicke Jpolicke on Apr 28, 2023

    Guy buys an EV, then realizes he has no driveway. Pro-grade planning.

    • See 4 previous
    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on May 03, 2023

      Given the general political tack of the area, my guess is that if the guy wanted to build an extra spot for a Ram TRX or some other conveyance of the sort, not only would he have been denied the permit, he likely would have been tarred and feathered!

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Apr 29, 2023

    Simple guy has a simple question:

    What would be wrong with running electrical conduit under the sidewalk (not disturbing the sidewalk) and running actual wiring of the proper gauge to a compact charger mounted on a wood post (stained, architecturally-detailed at the top to make it pretty) by the spot where the individual parks? No new pavement required.

    Here's a fancy commercial example.

    • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Apr 29, 2023

      I've thought about this, because it's likely that we will eventually have one EV or PHEV parked on the curb, and we're going to be replacing the sidewalk at some point soon anyway. But it turns out that city code forbids building any permanent structure (including a post to hold an outlet) in the planting strip between the sidewalk and the street.

  • Queen Queen on Apr 30, 2023

    Odd that TTAC weighs on local zoning and Architectural Review issues. Oh right—Timmy frames it as an EV issue….guess that fits the mold around here

    • See 1 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on May 01, 2023

      Yup. Frame a zoning problem as an EV problem and you get 60 odd clicks. Work in masks, vaccines, and fake elections and one could hit 300 plus entries;)