Choosing the Right EV Charging Solution for Apartments

Joseph Nagle
August 1, 2023

As electric vehicles gain popularity, it's essential for apartment complexes to offer convenient and reliable access to EV charging solutions. However, with various charging options available, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. Lets look at the different EV charging solutions for apartments and provide guidance to help property owners make informed decisions.

Level 1 Charging

Level 1 charging is the simplest, most affordable option for apartment complexes and is truly universal as every EV can utilize one. It utilizes a standard 120-volt outlet, similar to those found in households. While Level 1 charging is the slowest option, providing roughly 50 miles of range overnight, it can be suitable for daily charging as the average American only drives roughly 40 miles per day. However, it may not be sufficient for residents with longer commutes or those times coming home after a long road trip.

A Level 1 system paired with a handful of higher powered Level 2 chargers (6.6kW) can be an ideal solution for many apartments. Level 1 systems scale much more easily even in low power capcity settings and by offsetting the slow charging speeds with a few higher powered stations gives residents a daily charging station as well as one that can handle those more edgecase scenarios.

Level 2 Charging

Level 2 charging offers a faster and more versatile charging solution for apartments but it also covers a fairly wide range of power outputs (3.3kW - 22kW). It requires a 240-volt electrical circuit, which delivers power at a higher rate compared to Level 1. This option is ideal for residents with longer commutes or higher energy demands. Property owners should consider factors such as electrical capacity, installation costs, and the potential need for dedicated parking spots to maximize accessibility and convenience. Additionally, property owners must ensure that the electrical infrastructure can handle the increased load and provide dedicated outlets in convenient parking areas.

Due to the wide spectrum of power outputs Level 2 charging can also vary wildly in install costs and fesiabilty. A lower powered solution like the Orange Outlet provides roughly 150 miles of range overnight and installs for the same costs as a Level 1 station so it provides the best power-to-cost ratio on the market. However higher power system, 6.6kW and up, often cost 5 to 7 times as much to install due to added material and labor costs.

DC Fast Charging

DC fast charging, also known as Level 3 charging, provides the fastest charging speeds available. It uses direct current (DC) and can charge an EV to 80% capacity in as little as 30 minutes. While DC fast charging is more expensive to install and maintain, it offers convenience for residents on the go or those with time constraints. However, due to its higher power demands, DC fast charging stations require careful consideration of electrical capacity and utility coordination. They are typically found in public locations or high-traffic areas, making them less common in apartment complexes.

Overall DC Fast is not feasible in most apartment situations as its extremely expensive to install and often utilities will not allow such high powered devices be installed. Property owners should also be prepared to never see a return from these stations as the costs of adding them can never be fully made up even over the lifetime of the building.

Choosing the Right Solution

When selecting an EV charging solution for apartments, it's crucial to consider factors such as budget, resident needs, available electrical capacity, and future scalability. A mix of charging options may be the most suitable approach, providing flexibility to cater to residents with varying charging requirements. Consulting with EV charging experts, considering resident feedback, and analyzing charging data can help property owners make informed decisions that align with their budget and the needs of their tenants.

Offering the right EV charging solution is vital for apartment complexes to attract environmentally conscious residents and stay ahead in a rapidly evolving mobility landscape. By considering the pros and cons of Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast charging, property owners can make an informed choice that suits their unique circumstances and tenant needs.

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