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Charging Your EV at an Apartment Complex: Challenges, Solutions, and Alternatives

Charging Your EV at an Apartment Complex: Challenges, Solutions, and Alternatives

As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain popularity, the accessibility of charging infrastructure has emerged as a significant concern for EV owners.

Charging an EV at home is relatively convenient for those with garages or driveways, but apartment residents often face difficulties in locating suitable charging facilities.

Securing a home equipped with EV charging infrastructure is considered a luxury, particularly in regions with limited electrification.

Nonetheless, a positive trend has emerged with an increasing number of apartment buildings now providing electric car charging stations for their residents.

Your right to charge

The "right to charge" law, also known as the Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Rights Act, is a law that ensures that electric vehicle owners have the right to install and use EV charging stations in certain circumstances.

The law varies by state, but in general, it prevents property owners and homeowner associations from denying renters the right to install EV chargers.

This means that as a resident, you have the right to install an EV charging station in your apartment community for personal use, as long as it meets certain requirements and does not cause damage to the property.

The law typically requires that the charging station be installed by a licensed electrician, meet certain safety standards, and comply with any applicable building codes or zoning regulations.

You can read more about installing an EV charging station at your home in one of our previous articles.

Typical parking conditions in apartment complexes

Typical parking conditions in an apartment complex can vary depending on the location and size of the property. Some apartments may have plenty of parking spaces, while others may have very limited parking options. Here are some of the typical parking conditions you may encounter:

  • Limited parking spaces: Many apartment complexes have limited parking spaces, making it challenging to find a spot for your vehicle, let alone a spot to charge your EV. This can be especially problematic if you own multiple vehicles or if your complex has a high demand for parking.

  • Assigned parking: Some apartment complexes offer assigned parking spots to their tenants. This can be a desirable option since it guarantees you a spot to park your vehicle. However, it may also mean that you have to pay extra to reserve a spot, and you may not have control over where your spot is located.

  • Shared parking: In some cases, apartment complexes may offer shared parking spaces. This means that there are no assigned spots, and tenants must find an available spot when they arrive. Shared parking can be challenging since it can lead to competition for spots, and you may end up having to park far away from your apartment.

Ways to Get an EV charging station at your apartment community

Filing a request

If you're an EV owner living in an apartment complex without access to EV charging stations, you may consider requesting an EV charging solution from your landlord or property management.

The first and most important thing to do is to research the different EV charging options available and to gather information about the cost, installation process, and maintenance requirements.

Once you have this information, contact your landlord or property manager to schedule a meeting to discuss your EV charging request.

During the meeting, make a compelling case for why EV charging is necessary and share any data or statistics that demonstrate the growing demand for EV charging in your area.

Discuss financing options with your landlord or property manager, as the cost of installing EV charging stations can vary.

Be patient throughout the process, as the installation of EV charging stations can take time.

Community charging for shared parking

Apartment buildings that want to give EV drivers access to charging stations should consider community charging for shared parking. However, it is crucial to take into account the expenses and installation time associated with installing such a system.

Commercial-grade EV charging stations, which are more robust than residential-grade chargers, must be constructed in order to provide communal charging. Since these chargers are networked, features like access control, payment and billing, and session limiters are all possible. The network fees for these charging stations can change, but they normally run between $100 and $300 per connector per year. There can be a small upcharge for using the station to cover these costs and the price of electricity. All operating expenses could be transferred to customers.

Since shared parking charging stations are regarded as a public utility, it is essential to adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act's (ADA) standards when installing them. This comprises modifications to the line of travel from the parking space to the building entrance as well as provisions for accessible loading and unloading.

It requires careful planning and action to install EV charging stations at an apartment building. This entails putting together a team of experts, including an electrician, electrical engineer, and architect. The project can move forward effectively and successfully with the correct personnel in place.

Charging at your personal garage

Your personal garage is a convenient location to charge your electric car. An expert electrician can connect the residential-grade charger of your choice to the electrical panel in your apartment and install it. You won't have to pay networking costs because the charger is connected to your apartment's meter, and the cost of using the station and electricity will only apply to you.

If your electric utility provider offers time-of-use (TOU) rates, switching to this rate plan can be advantageous. Depending on the time of day, TOU rates change, with off-peak hours like the evening often having lower rates. Because overnight charging is the norm, switching to a TOU rate plan can be the most cost-effective way to charge your EV at home.

Charging on a wall socket

It is important that you consult with your property owners first if you have been assigned a parking space near a wall outlet and are thinking about plugging in your portable EV charger. You need to verify first who is in charge of paying electricity bills. In some cases, the outlet may be designated for landscaping or maintenance and connected to the house meter, so you may need authorization from the property management before using it.

When choosing the right portable Level 1 or Level 2 charger, it is important to consider factors such as the charging speed, compatibility with your EV model, and safety features.

Lectron's range of portable charging solutions promises safe, reliable, and efficient charging anytime, anywhere. The Lectron Level 1 EV Charger with NEMA 5-15 Plug connects directly to a standard 110V outlet for 15 amps and 1.65 kW of power. Meanwhile, the Lectron NEMA 14-50 Level 2 Portable EV Charger can be plugged directly into a 240-volt outlet for up to 240V for a 9.6 kW of input power and a 40A charging rate.

For Tesla owners, there is Lectron's native Level 1 Tesla Charger with NEMA 5-15 Plug that can provide around 1.65 kW of input power and a 15A charging rate. It is compatible with Tesla Models S/X/3/Y or any EV that uses the North American Charging Standard (NACS).

If permission is denied, you may need to consider setting up a public charging station, similar to a shared parking space. The EV driver will probably be responsible for paying for the electricity and network expenses, which will be handled by this commercial charging station.

Alternatives to EV charging in apartments

For those living in apartments without EV charging, there are several alternatives to consider:

  • Public Charging Stations: Many cities have public charging stations available at various locations such as parking garages, public parks, and shopping centers. You can use apps to locate these public EV charging stations.

  • Workplace Charging: If you have access to workplace parking, ask your employer if they have EV charging available. Many companies are now offering EV charging as an employee perk.
  • Destination Charging: Look for businesses that offer charging stations. Some hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers offer EV charging as a free or low-cost service to their customers.

FAQs

  • How do you charge an electric car when you live in an apartment?

    You can charge an electric car in an apartment using a Level 1 or Level 2 charger. Look for apartments with charging stations or consider purchasing a portable EV charger.

  • How are EVs charged in apartments?

    Electric cars are charged in apartments by using a Level 1 or Level 2 charger. The charger is typically plugged into a standard electrical outlet or wired directly into the building's electrical system.

  • How do you charge a Tesla if you live in an apartment?

    To charge a Tesla when you live in an apartment, you'll need to use a Level 2 charger. Look for apartments with EV charging stations or purchase a portable charger that's compatible with your Tesla.

  • How do I charge my electric car if I don't have a driveway?

    For those who don't have a driveway or an assigned parking spot, you can still charge your electric car by using a public charging station, workplace charging, or by taking advantage of destination charging.

  • Can I plug my electric car into a regular outlet?

    Yes, you can, but it will only provide Level 1 charging, which is slow and not ideal for daily charging needs. It's recommended to use a Level 2 charger for faster charging speeds.

Looking for affordable home charging solutions for your electric vehicle? From chargers, adapters, and other accessories - Lectron has you covered!

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