Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Toward the end of this year, mass production of all-electric vehicles—the Leaf, the Volt, others—will kick into high gear in the United States. So too will the installation of electric charging stations, both public and private, especially if consumers take a cotton to EVs in a big way, as expected (Nissan has already pre-sold 13,000 Leaf EVs, for example).
A handful of commercial properties, including multifamily properties, have already installed charging stations for cars, with many more on the way, according Andy Kinard, president of Car Charging Group Inc., a specialist in the in installing, owning and servicing charging stations for EVs. “There’s a strong interest among multifamily owners and managers in charging stations,” he tells MHN. “We’re getting a lot of inquiries. They realize that it’s going to be an important amenity in the near future, and maybe a virtual necessity for their properties in the not-too-distant future.”
Kinard hopes to offer three levels of charging, varying by voltage and charge time, to all of its customers. Level 1 charging uses 120-volt power and will charge most electric cars overnight. The 220-volt Level 2 charging will top up a depleted battery pack in three to four hours, and a proposed 480-volt Level 3 fast-charging station can have the batteries at full charge in as little as fifteen minutes.
Although the units are currently credit card activated, Car Charging Group plans to implement an account system that would better keep track of constantly fluctuating electricity prices and could even address concerns about the loss of road-maintaining gasoline tax revenue. It would also be a useful system for multifamily residents to maintain their charging accounts, says Kinard,
Multifamily owners or condo associations stand to make some money from EV stations. That’s the case with the 186-unit Plaza at Oceanside Pompano Beach, a Miami Beach condo community that inked a deal with Car Charging Group earlier this year to install a charging station. As part of the agreement, the condominium association will share in a percentage of the revenue derived from the station.
But the fact that stations will be an amenity will probably be more important to multifamily owners and managers than revenue sharing in the long run, posits Kinard. EV drivers who happen to live in single-family homes will be able to install convenient charging stations on their property without much muss or fuss. Apartment and condo dwellers, on the other hand, would have to go to public charging stations if their property doesn’t bother to install a station or several stations.
“As electric cars become more and more common, people are going to want stations near where they live,” says Kinard. “So the demand for stations is going to be there among condo residents and rental tenants alike.”