What is EV Charging for Apartments?

EV charging for apartments refers to charging electric cars at charging stations located on the premises of apartment complexes. It differs from other similar uses, such as home charging, for example, which refers to charging at private single-family homes.

Application of EV Charging for Apartments

According to data from the US Department of Energy, 80% of charging an electric vehicle happens in a home setting, which can be explained by how much time people typically spend at home. Another reason is that home charging allows EV owners to leave their cars to charge overnight, even at a lower speed, which is more cost-effective than using a public charger. However, maintaining a desired state of charge (SOC) for EV drivers living in apartment buildings can be challenging due to the lack of charging infrastructure at such facilities.

Considering this, for many EV owners living in apartments, relying on public or workplace charging is the only option, which is far from ideal. This explains why increasingly more renters and apartment owners are interested in having a charger installed at their place of residence.

Unlike installing a charger at a single-family home, having one at a residential complex is more complex because building owners and managers have the final say. On the one hand, having charge points increases the value of the building. On the other hand, they are an additional expense and responsibility. These factors depend on whether the charger is for the use of all residents or the private use of a particular resident in cases where homeowners or renters have a personal charger installed at their expense.

With regard to installing charging stations at apartment complexes, a critical point of consideration is the availability and distribution of parking spaces. Does the building even have dedicated parking? Is it shared between all residents, or are there dedicated spots for each resident? Furthermore, the number of residents that will use the charge points will also play a role in the decision by a building owner or manager on whether to install charge points.

Importance of EV Charging for Apartments

Installing EV charging stations at apartment buildings is, first and foremost, a significant benefit for EV owners but is also an added value for the property. Moreover, having EV charge points on the premises of apartment buildings is expected to continue its growth as a deciding factor for prospective homeowners and renters. Additionally, residential complex charge stations are essential in advancing sustainability goals and offsetting at least some of the building’s carbon footprint.

Charging for apartments is also an attractive niche for charge point operators (CPOs) and electric mobility service providers (eMSPs). These businesses can offer building owners and homeowners various management, maintenance, load balancing, billing, and payment processing services.

Practical Examples of EV Charging for Apartments

  • An apartment building with its own parking lot installs an EV charger accessible to all residents. The charging station is connected to the building’s shared electricity meter, and everyone who uses it identifies with a dedicated application or RFID card. This makes it clear which resident should be charged for the session.
  • An individual resident installs a charging point at their own expense at a residential complex parking lot. The charging station connects to the resident’s electricity meter, so only they get access to the charging station (unless there are other agreements). Access control can be implemented through an application, an RFID card, or another technology that makes it easy to trace the charging session to the respective owner.

Additional Information About EV Charging for Apartments

  • For all the benefits EV charging can bring to real estate—like increased value and resident satisfaction- there are still building owners and property managers who resist the idea of installing chargers, even when requested by residents. The main concerns usually relate to the costs and responsibility involved in planning, installing, and operating charging stations at residential buildings. However, these are becoming less of a concern.
  • Regarding the financial side, many governmental, municipal, and even private initiatives, incentives, and grant programs can partially or fully cover the expenses of installing charging stations at apartment buildings. 
  • Another point of concern—how charge points will affect the building’s electrical network, can also be solved through load-balancing technologies. Also known as dynamic load management (DLM), these solutions allow a charge point management system (CPMS) to intelligently distribute energy across users in a way that doesn’t overload the grid. Smart charging—which charges EVs based on preset schedules and/or signals such as time of day and energy rates, is another potential solution to the network overload problem.
  • Aside from incentives, some US states have also enacted legislation that compels residential building owners to install charge points if requested by residents. This right, which gives more power to EV owners living in apartment buildings to have a charger at their place of residence, is nonetheless subject to certain conditions and obligations on the side of the building owner/property manager but also on the EV owner/resident. For example, depending on the state, EV owners who request a charger to be installed by the building owner may be responsible for covering all costs related to installation, maintenance, and management of the charger. These requirements vary based on jurisdiction and whether the charger will only be used by a particular resident or available to all residents.
  • Where choosing the right hardware and software is concerned, there is the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). The OCPP allows hardware and software EV charging solutions by different manufacturers to communicate with each other freely. This way, apartment building owners can mix and match solutions in configurations that make the most sense for their needs.

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