Owning An EV In An Apartment Can Be Difficult, But There Is A Solution

Joseph Nagle
April 10, 2023

Nearly 39 million people in the United States — that is almost 1 in 8 — call apartments home, and nearly all of them will have a hard time owning an electric car.

This is because our parking spaces were never designed to have access to power, let alone enough to power a vehicle. Most buildings have already reached power capacity, meaning no new electrical infrastructure can be added without costly upgrades. Without that infrastructure, EV chargers cannot be added and that makes owning an electric car a real pain.

There are already over 1M EVs on city streets today and by 2025, 2 short years from now, that figured is expected to triple. However, even with the expansion of multiple DC fast networks across the nation, these vehicles are going to need more chargers. Those who think they should wait for even more public chargers can, but this isn't a great way to enjoy the vehicle. As the number of electric cars on the road grows simply adding more and more public chargers is not the solution.

If owners truly want to enjoy their EVs, they are going to need a charging station at home, but for those living in an apartment it's not so affordable or easy.

The problem is more than infrastructure

While adding more infrastructure can solve the issue, it should not be the solution. Not only are electrical upgrades incredibly expensive they do not address the underlying problem. Adding in lots of expensive infrastructure to accommodate a handful higher powered stations means that any return on investment is nearly impossible. While people want the fastest charging speeds possible, that's not actually what they need. They need access to something reliable and affordable that gives them, at minimum, enough power to replace what they used that day.

To make things worse this solution does not future-proof buildings for the ever growing demand for electric cars. Putting the building into a never ending cycle of expensive infrastructure upgrades. Further reducing the building owners ability to recoup the costs of adding in the stations in the first place. This eventually pushes the owner to either install an insufficient number of stations or install nothing at all, denying 39 million people the ability to truly enjoy an EV.

On average installing a Level 2 station costs $3k - $5k for a single station, and that's if the building has available capacity. If not those costs can skyrocket to tens of thousands of dollars.

How is the problem fixed?

Buildings need a way to supply enough chargers to cover the community's needs without having to break the bank and hopefully recoup their expenses over time. That's where lower-powered options come into play.

For some time Level 1 charging has been maligned as an untenable solution for larger EVs, and while that's certainly true for a public station its a completely fine solution for at-home charging. This works well because once people are home for the evening they stay home and will usually get between 8-10 hours of charging time overnight. On a Level 1 outlet this should put back roughly 40-50 miles and since the average American only drives 29 miles per day this is more than enough to cover daily driving needs. In those times you need more juice, that's when the public network can be leveraged. This makes Level 1 charging a perfect solution for older buildings as it not only covers daily driving needs but is affordable and doesn't require huge amounts of additional power.

However, there is another solution that is the best of both worlds, a Level 2 station capable of adding back 120-150 miles of range overnight that's also far more affordable. While most Level 2 stations cost between $3k-$5k for the station plus the install, the NEMA 6-20 Orange Outlet costs around $1140 for the same thing. Coving all the needs of the EV drivers and the building owner. You wont be able to charge your vehicle in 5 minutes but then again you really don't need to all while saving thousands on install costs and producing a positive ROI over 5 years.

Owning an electric car in an apartment can be difficult but with Orange it really doesn't have to be.

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