Why Installing EV Charging at Apartments is Hard

Joseph Nagle
March 27, 2023

Installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) at apartment buildings can provide a range of benefits, including attracting and retaining residents who own electric vehicles, reducing carbon emissions, and potentially reducing operating costs. However, adding EVSE at apartment buildings can also present a number of challenges, particularly when it comes to installation costs.

One of the main challenges of adding EV charging at apartment buildings is the high upfront cost of installation. Depending on the size of the building and the number of charging stations needed, the cost of installing charging stations can be significant. For many apartment building owners and managers, finding the funds to cover the upfront costs of installation can be a major obstacle.

Another challenge is finding the space to install it. In many cases, apartment buildings may not have dedicated parking spaces for each unit, which can make it difficult to find a place to install charging stations. This doesn't just include the charging station but also the electrical equipment that may need to be added to the property. Additionally, even if there is space available, it may not be practical or cost-effective to install charging stations in certain locations.

In some cases, apartment buildings may not have the electrical capacity to support on-site electric vehicle charging. Installing EVSEs can require upgrading the building's electrical system, which can add to the overall cost of installation. If the building's electrical system is not capable of supporting the additional load, it may be necessary to install a new electrical service, which can be a major undertaking and cost prohibitive, if its even possible at all.

How to Mitigate Costs With Incentives

Electric Vehicle (EV) charging incentive programs are designed to encourage people to purchase or lease electric vehicles or to install EV charging stations by offering monetary or non-monetary incentives. These incentives can help to reduce the upfront costs associated with EV ownership and EV charging infrastructure, making them more accessible and attractive to potential adopters. Incentive programs may include financial support for the purchase or lease of EVs, rebates for purchasing EV charging equipment, and tax credits or tax exemptions for EV charging infrastructure. Some programs may also offer reduced rates for electricity

One way to help offset the costs of installing EVSE at affordable apartment buildings is to take advantage of available incentives and funding programs. For example, Peninsula Clean Energy's EV Ready program provides upwards of $2000/Orange Outlet for apartment buildings to install EVSE with no cap on those funds. Under this program, apartment buildings can receive a direct reimbursement for the stations and electrical infrastructure added significantly reducing the costs. By adding Orange not only can the property mitigate the total costs but they'll be able to generate a significant profit leveraging OrangeNet. Check our ROI Calculator to see an example on how this works.

Property owners should also check the US Department of Energy - Alternative Fuels Data Center to see the current incentive programs in their states, regions, and cities.

How to Mitigate Costs Through Lower Power

While many installers of EVSE want to push the bigger, faster, more complex charging solutions onto apartment communities, the reality is that by making things slower and simpler EV chargers can be brought into just about any apartment community for an affordable cost.

Leveraging 20-amp charging solutions gives apartment communities the ability to safely install EVSE at a fraction of the cost of more powerful chargers, and also reduces the strain on building electrical systems. All this means by going with a lower-powered solution building owners can save a lot on installs by simply offering a lower-powered solution.

So how is this possible?

It all boils down to copper, or lack thereof, as lower-powered stations can leverage lower-gauge wiring, cutting out a significant portion of the installation costs in the process.

For those worried that lower-powered stations might not suit their community’s needs, consider that the average American drives around 40 miles each day. The lowest possible solution you could install is a 120v 20A plug which will provide roughly 50-60 miles of range overnight. Essentially the very lowest you could possibly go still provides more range than what’s commonly used in a day. So while some edge case scenarios still apply, the great majority of the time residents will not really notice the difference. However, with Orange, we also provide a higher output Orange 620 that installs for the same price but is able to add roughly 150 miles of range overnight more than enough to cover daily driving needs.

Overall, while installing EVSE at apartment buildings can provide a range of benefits, it can also present significant challenges, particularly when it comes to the high upfront cost of installation. However, by taking advantage of available incentives and leveraging lower-powered solutions like the one Orange provides, apartment building owners and managers can help to mitigate these costs and make it more feasible to add EVSE to their properties.

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