Among the many efforts underway to stem the oncoming tide of climate-related catastrophe is the increasing use of electric vehicles (EVs). While gas-powered cars are still the overwhelming majority of vehicles on the roads, EV technology is fast improving, and consumers are taking them seriously as an alternative to older, more polluting options. As more drivers switch to EVs, however, multifamily buildings and associations with parking facilities must address those drivers’ need for electric vehicle charging stations (EVCSs) to juice up those vehicles. Indeed, EV charging stations are fast becoming a much-sought-after amenity, if not an outright necessity.
New vs. Used
Perhaps the most immediate question when it comes to EV charging capabilities relates to existing versus to-be-built or under construction properties. According to Matt Resnick, director of project management for AKAM Management, with offices in New York and Florida, “New buildings should absolutely consider providing this as an amenity - the best time to plan for and install electric vehicle charging stations is during initial construction.”
As for existing buildings, “There are a variety of factors we take into consideration when a building informs us of its interest in EVCSs,” says Resnick. “Initially, we take into account how many parking spots currently exist, the ownership or leasing model of the garage, and if there is available and sufficient power onsite to service the charging ports.”
If the garage is leased to an operator, Resnick says that “The third-party vendor may be willing to manage user charges, with a potential revenue share going to the association. They may accept all major credit cards, or have their own special payment card that users reload as needed.”
The deciding factor in providing charging stations in existing garage facilities is the level of demand from residents. How many people need it? According to Resnick, “AKAM manages over 300 properties where electric vehicle purchases are on the rise. In turn, more garages and properties are considering adding this as a feature, and many already have begun to do it. In terms of demand, despite the coronavirus pandemic electric vehicle purchases rose more than 30% in 2020. Analytics firm Blastpoint is projecting a 71% increase for 2021, despite significantly less car use with people working from home and restricting travel. Blastpoint’s report speculates that shorter drive times increased the appeal of electric vehicles, which are more limited in range than hybrid or traditional engine cars.”