Guest Blog: Green Amenities for Multi-Housing: Plug-in Electric Vehicle Chargers

By Christine Kehoe, Executive Director, California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative

Chances are you’ve seen a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) on the road, parked at the mall, or even driving in your neighborhood. These days, it’s not uncommon. There are more than 234,000 PEVs in the nation and many vehicle models from which people can choose.

Cities such as Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle have the highest rates of PEV adoption in the country, which includes a large number of people living in apartments and condominiums. This presents a big opportunity for properties to install PEV charging to meet the needs of their residents.

Continue reading to learn more about the PEV market, how to install charging stations and about charging solutions that can work best for your unique property. The Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative (PEV Collaborative) has resources that can help you through the process and has case studies to show you how other properties have successfully installed charging.

Why install charging?

Installing charging stations on your property reflects a “green” image that may attract residents to your community, improves local air quality and public health, and contributes to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation.

Additionally, there may be state or local laws that address the issue of property owners’ stance on installing charging stations. For example, California Senate Bill 880 makes it illegal for a property owner to dismiss a resident’s desire to install charging stations at the property.

What is a PEV? What is charging?

There are two types of PEVs: Battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

  • BEVs operate exclusively on electricity stored in batteries and have an electric motor rather than a gasoline engine.
  • PHEVs combine both an electric motor and a gasoline engine in one vehicle. The electric motor is battery-powered and can be plugged in to recharge and the gasoline engine can be refueled with gasoline.

PEVs need to be charged regularly in order to operate and to maximize their all-electric miles. There are two basic charging options that properties can consider:

  • Level 1: This level of charging only requires a standard 120-volt three-pronged wall outlet. All PEVs are equipped with a charging cord that plugs into these outlets.
  • Level 2: This level of charging requires a 208/240-volt power supply (similar to what is needed for a large household appliance like a dryer). Usually a professionally installed charging unit is used to charge at this level.


Level 2 charging equipment costs more than Level 1, but also charges a PEV faster and may offer additional features such as billing and networking capabilities. In addition to the equipment costs, wiring and installation costs need to be considered.

HOAs should reach out to an electrical contractor to evaluate its site and estimate the cost of installation.

Getting your property plug-in ready

  1. Take a survey of residents and tenants to gauge interest in PEV charging. A survey is available at
  2. Research different charging options available for you. Visit or to see which equipment and services fit your needs.
  3. Contact an electrical contractor to evaluate your site and estimate the cost of installation.
  4. Contact your local utility about available electric rates or rate impact for added services.
  5. Create a goal for what you hope to accomplish with the project.
  6. Determine and revise any policies and procedures to accommodate PEV owners with charging options.
  7. Inform all your residents about the new chargers installed.

Resources available

The PEV Collaborative is a public/private organization focused on accelerating the adoption of PEVs to meet states’ economic, energy and environmental goals. The organization has developed the following resources to help you better understand charging station installations:

More information

For more information, visit, or email us at

Christine Kehoe joined the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative as executive director in January 2013. Previously, Kehoe served in elected office for 19 years including four years in the California Assembly and eight years in the state Senate.

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