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AIM 2023: EV Charging - Infrastructure Wrapped in Demographics and Technology

EV Charging - Infrastructure Wrapped in Demographics and Technology

“I’m not paying $5.99 a gallon” was what drove Kesha Fisher, Senior Director of Operations, Greystar’s decision to buy an electric vehicle (EV).

She and Naveed Ahmad, Senior Advisor, Southern California Edison (SCE), discussed the hot trend of including EV charging stations in apartment communities.

“It’s become a must-have resident amenity,” Fisher said. “It’s a differentiator. It brings residents to lease-ups. Right now, people will come to the leasing office and ask, ‘If I get this car, what are my options?’ and if there are none, they will move.”

There are plenty of concerns and questions about what to buy, how many, and what the charging stations cost.

“You can’t just get one ‘tomorrow,’ ” Fisher said. “So, it’s best to pre-wire for them now and then install the next year. There is a permitting process.”

She said it’s important to understand the installation process and timeline so that projects can be planned around when a new property is going to open.

For existing properties, Ahmad said to start by having an electrician assess how much electric capacity and conduit capability are in the community.

“This is new,” Ahmad said “Ask questions. Get bids. It will take months to install and get rolling.”

Fisher recommended starting by installing charging stations for 15% to 20% of the number of residents, and then have plans to add eight to 10 more stations each year.

“It’s good to have that money budgeted each year and then spend it as you need it,” she said. “Futureproofing is better than having to go backward.”

As for costs, SCE has programs for California customers with a median price of about $3,000 and there are cheaper alternatives. He said charging stations can range from $400 to $7,000, depending on how many bells and whistles are included and based on the speed of charge.

As for pricing, the panel said it’s best to determine what kind of behavior the property wants from its residents. That helps to set up pricing, such as hourly, weekly, or monthly fees, and whether a resident has their own parking space/station.

Fisher said a Greystar property installed 39 stations in a 100-unit property “and there’s never one available” due to demand.

The community charged $100 per month for assigned spaces plus a $19.95 service charge with each charge and the property and installer shared a cut of that.

“It doesn’t cost that much to charge your car, but it’s all about the convenience you provide the renters,” Fisher said.

More Interesting Points:

  • Rebates are mostly rich and plentiful, and variable based on jurisdiction. By all means, apartment operators need to determine what they qualify for.
  • California has requirements for the number of chargers that are wired per size of the community, and if a resident requests a station, the community must comply.
  • In Q4 2021, 5% of all cars sold in the US were EV; the US goal is to get to 25% by 2025 and progress is being made. For example, 7% of those sold in Q1 2023 were EVs.

Here is the replay:

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