Partner Post: 4 Steps to Making Electric Vehicle Charging Stations a Reality in Your Community
So you’ve started thinking about ways to reduce your carbon footprint and engage your community in sustainability efforts. Great! In this post, we dive into a single simple strategy that can cut your residents’ carbon emissions from transportation in half: supporting emission-free electric vehicles (EVs) with EV charging in your community.
EV sales have grown more than 60 percent year over year worldwide, and nearly 40 percent year over year in the U.S. alone. People already living in condo communities may be interested in driving electric, but don’t know how to get their association to approve EV charging before they take the plunge. Here’s how you can make driving an EV easier for your community members and their guests.
1. Understand Community Interest
It’s smart to start by checking in with your prospective and current residents: who is interested in driving electric? Would residents prefer personal or shared charging? You can use some of these sample questions to gauge demand for EVs and charging in your community:
Sample Survey Questions
1. Does anyone in your household currently own an electric vehicle (EV) that plugs in to charge?
2. Are you considering leasing or purchasing an EV in the next 6 to 12 months?
3. Would having access to EV charging at home make you more likely to lease or purchase an EV?
4. Would you prefer to pay for your own personal charging spot or share costs for a community charger that everyone takes turns using?
5. Would you be interested in discussing different options for getting EV charging in the community with other interested community members?
Understanding whether 10 percent or 75 percent of your community wants EV charging can help you plan effectively.
2. Choose Your Approach
Based on the response to your survey, you can decide how to implement EV charging in your community. If there is a high demand for personal charging, consider installing a dedicated electrical panel for EV charging, paid for by the community. This panel will be able to support multiple drivers, making it more affordable for EV-driving residents to pay for their own chargers and energy used. Such a “hub and spoke” approach is a good way to support many EV drivers. You can also create a charging fund by coordinating EV drivers (or prospective drivers) who will all chip in for a new electrical panel to support charging. Everyone who funds the panel can claim a spot upfront to make sure they will have access to charge. If interest is lukewarm, try installing a single community charger and see how often it gets used.
3. Plan Ahead to Keep Costs Low
Parking overnight affords more than enough time for most EVs to fully charge, and most EV drivers do not fully deplete their car’s battery every day, anyway. That means you can future-proof your property by using a tool like Power Management to install more charging stations than your current needs and rated electrical capacity. Even if your existing panel can accommodate charging for the first few drivers, Power Management prepares your community for a surge in demand for charging without requiring expensive electrical upgrades. Communities such as the Rockwell in San Francisco have doubled their charging capacity with Power Management, and you can do the same.
4. Don’t Forget About Incentives
If you’re beginning to worry about expenses, don’t! As mentioned, residents can help fund the project and there are also many state and local incentives like grants and rebates that will help you fund your EV charging installation. Designed to help improve air quality and support electric vehicle proliferation, these incentives are often available for multi-family communities and can cover a third or more of the cost of your charging stations, helping you stay within budget.
Got the information you need to get started with EV charging at your location? Contact ChargePoint for further tips.