What is Multi-Unit Dwelling EV Charging?

Multi-unit dwelling EV charging refers to installing, operating, and using charging stations on the premises of multi-family buildings. This, along with single-family home charging, creates the residential charging category.

Application of Multi-Unit Dwelling EV Charging

Building an efficient and widespread EV charging infrastructure is undergoing a significant shift—from something considered only “nice to have” due to the previously low adoption of EVs, electric vehicle charging has quickly become a necessity. 

EV charging networks hold the key to building a sustainable future for personal and commercial transport, and multifamily property owners are now called to take an active role in helping create a reliable and accessible EV charging infrastructure.

Data from the US Department of Energy says that 80% of EV charging happens at home. However, not all home charging is created equal because there’s a difference between the needs of EV owners who live in single-family homes and those who live in multifamily housing. The same goes for the managers and owners of these buildings, who need to consider a multitude of technical, financial, and organizational factors before they proceed with installing residential charge points.

Importance of Multi-Unit Dwelling EV Charging

While residential charging indeed requires forethought, there are the following benefits to consider:

  • Increased property attractiveness for residents: EV ownership is now a common sight, and while the ratio of vehicles is still in favor of internal combustion engines (ICE), this will change within the next decade. What this means for the real estate industry is that the presence of charging stations nearby or at the premises of a home, be it a house or a multi-unit residential building, will increase as a deciding factor in property deals. Therefore, having charge points may increase the attractiveness of a property for current and prospective residents.
  • Supporting zero-emission mobility: Regarding transportation and mobility, residential charging is one way building owners can show their commitment to sustainable practices. The real estate sector has already embraced energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainable construction materials; adding EV charging is a natural step towards turning buildings into units that actively contribute towards sustainable goals.
  • Bi-directional energy management: The V2X (vehicle-to-everything) technology enables bi-directional energy flow between EVs and the electrical grid (through the charge point). Essentially, V2X turns EV batteries into energy storage units and energy sources. A subset of this technology is V2B (vehicle-to-building), which does the same between EVs and the electrical network of a building. Very few places have put into practice this technology. Still, expectations are that if adopted at a larger scale, it’ll improve energy efficiency for buildings and may even act as a revenue generator through demand response (DR) programs.

Where charge point operators (CPOs) and electric mobility service providers (eMSPs) are concerned, both types of charging businesses can extract plenty of value from residential charging. By focusing on multi-unit dwellings, CPOs and eMSPs can access a larger volume of potential customers in a single place compared to going after home charging. For example, eMSPs can provide value by providing EV owners living in multi-unit dwellings with a single interface (e.g., an app) where they can manage their residential charging needs and access public charging networks.

Practical Examples of Multi-Unit Dwelling EV Charging

A multifamily housing unit with a parking lot allocates several parking spaces for electric vehicles. The charging stations of these parking spaces are connected to a backend system that automatically identifies, authorizes and charges the correct resident. The charging network can also be available for guests of the building and even publicly accessible.

Additional Information About Multi-Unit Dwelling EV Charging

  • Installing EV charging stations at multi-unit dwellings doesn’t have to be a costly investment. Many countries and local governments have initiated grants, incentives, and rebates for building owners to help zero-emission mobility by installing chargers.
  • Installing charging stations for residential use is a tad more complicated than installing a charger for personal use. There are codes, regulations, and safety policies to consider when installing charge points at apartment complexes and similar facilities.
  • Some of these codes concern the safety of a building’s electrical system, as EV charging can add a significant load to the network. On the upside, dynamic load management (DLM) technology can be implemented to regulate energy use and keep it under a specified threshold. This technology works through a charge point management system (CPMS) or as a discrete hardware component.

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