On-Demand Snap Session: Powering Up Your Property for the EV Generation
- Jul 31, 2020
By the end of the decade, 35 million electric vehicles will be on the road in the U.S., according to one recent study. That trend has long-term implications for multifamily communities. An estimated 80 percent of EV charging takes place at home, and as the number of vehicles steadily grows, apartment and condominium residents will increasingly expect their communities to provide access to charging equipment.
That access will mean a competitive advantage for multifamily owners and operators, but the installation of EV charging stations raises a host of unique challenges. These begin with a basic question: Where to put them? “In a community charging model, proximity to the electric panel generally dictates where you’re going to put those EV chargers,” said Andrew Croll, senior director of commercial sales at Enel X e-Mobility, during a recent MHN Snap Session.
Croll, who has helped hundreds of entities with commercial EV charging installations, shared key lessons for the multifamily industry during the 30-minute webinar, “Powering Up Your Property for the EV Generation.” Enel X e-Mobility is part of the Enel Group, a diversified global energy company.
“For existing multifamily buildings, as opposed to buildings that are under development, equitable access to charging infrastructure is the biggest challenge,” Croll said. There are two basic approaches to supplying EV charging infrastructure, depending on how residents park. Under a dedicated parking (or designated charging) model, residents have their own reserved parking spots. That can create challenges for EV installation if the drivers are spread out throughout the property.
By contrast, a community charging model keeps construction costs low. Under this model, a select number of parking spaces are designated as charging spots and placed near the electric panel from which power is drawn. If at all possible, find a wall to mount the stations on, a step which will save money both on the electrical prep work and the station itself, Croll added.
Carrots and sticks
On the regulatory side, the key consideration is the building and construction codes within a jurisdiction. At least 15 states have new building construction codes for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). CALGreen, California’s green building code, mandates that 6 percent of all parking spaces be EV-capable in any new construction, while some cities in the Golden State have an even higher bar.
Fortunately, federal and state rebate programs are making EVSE more affordable; New York State’s Charge Ready NY program, for example, offers savings of up to 80 percent per charging port. “If you’re in a great area where there is an incentive involved, and it takes care of the entire project cost—which means the construction and the charging stations—then we can really talk ROI, because now you put yourself in a good situation,” Croll said.
Other factors for multifamily owners and operators to consider when calculating return on investment include the current cost of electricity and, if “smart” or networking charging is used, network subscription costs. There are alternatives to owning, too. “Leasing generally is a great option for those who are looking to pay for the stations out of ongoing operating expenses,” Croll noted.
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