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Convincing Apartment Management to get some chargers

Discussion in 'Supercharging & Charging Infrastructure' started by Green Pete, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. Green Pete

    Green Pete Member

    Oct 8, 2016
    Chicago, IL
    I am moving into an apartment in the Seattle area next month that does not have charging infrastructure. Does anyone have advice as to a good path to convincing them to get it installed?

    Helpful items would be:
    Good company to contact: Chargepoint? I don't believe Tesla actually does apartment buildings?
    How to best pitch it - and what are the benefits to them. I know that obviously it makes their building easier to live in for people with EVs. But I haven't found an apartment listing website that actually lets me search via that service so its not something that would be easy for them to sell. How they could recoup the installation cost, or how fast they might do that, or any other things that I haven't thought of.
  2. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Jan 15, 2019
    Woonsocket, RI
    Tesla does partner with apartments -- or at least, their Destination Charging Partners page seems to suggest they do; but that could be out of date or inapplicable to your particular apartment. (See the Multi-Family heading.) That said, going with a more generic J1772 EVSE would be better in the sense that it could be used by any EV owner, not just a Tesla owner, so an apartment's owner might be more willing to invest in a J1772 unit. OTOH, my understanding is that Tesla gives away their EVSEs, and will even throw in one J1772 EVSE for every two Tesla EVSEs, so if it's a big apartment building, they could get three EVSEs for free. The apartment would still need to pay for installation and electricity, though, and that's the wall into which you're likely to run.

    One way around that wall might be to suggest installing a non-free EVSE. In my area, most ChargePoint J1772 units are free, but some of them are not. ChargePoint collects the money on behalf of the property owner and then gives the money to the owner (I assume minus a fee). Thus, a ChargePoint commercial EVSE could in theory pay for itself. That might take quite a long time, though, since these EVSEs are not cheap, and the cost to charge one EV for a year is low in comparison, unless the fee charged by the property owner was ridiculously high. It might help if the apartment had another couple of EV owners, since that would reduce the payout period for the apartment's owner.

    If the EVSE is placed somewhere that's publicly accessible, then a for-pay EVSE might bring in some money from non-residents. OTOH, that might also make it harder for you to use, since you might be competing for access with non-residents.

    As EVs become more common, EVSEs in apartment parking lots will become a sought-after benefit. I'm sure they'll appear on apartment-hunting apps as an amenity before too long, even if they don't show up already. In the meantime, I'd expect EV owners looking for apartments to rent to use PlugShare or similar apps to cross-reference potential apartments to see what sort of charging infrastructure exists nearby, so even without "EVSE" showing up as an amenity, EV owners can track them -- if the EVSE is listed on ChargePoint's app, PlugShare, or some other common tool.

    Really, though, this could be a hard sell. If installation is easy, you might offer to cover some or all of the installation cost, and a little more on your monthly rent to cover the electricity (if it's not a for-pay EVSE). If you're living in a big apartment building, you might want to survey the parking lot some time to see if there are any other EVs in it (including plug-in hybrids). If there are, then having two or more tenants approach the owner/manager might be more convincing than just you alone, and might make it easier to cover the installation costs yourself, if it comes to that.
    • Like x 1
  3. ElectricTravel

    Mar 1, 2018
    Andover, MA
    I agree with all of @srs5694's comments. The number of potential renters looking for on-site charging is only going to increase, so the apartment manager is going to have to offer it sooner or later--you might as well see if you can take advantage.

    Another thought: In a lot of areas, the same few apartment management companies manage a number of seemingly-unrelated apartment buildings. There's a chance that the management company at your property already offers EV charging at another property that your apartment's staff doesn't know about. Conversely, if you can show that one of their main competitors offers it at some of their properties, that could be a good motivator too.

    To find apartments that offer charging, take a look at, but make sure to turn on "restricted locations" so it also shows you private sites. You can check the websites of the apartments that you find on Plugshare to see who manages them.

    Some of the charging equipment makers and charging networks have detailed web pages aimed at apartments and other commercial sites, and it sounds like they offer plenty of hand-holding and specific information for the apartment manager:

    Commercial EV Charging Station Cost | Enel X
    Best Commercial EV Charging Stations | SemaConnect
    Apartments & Condos - Greenlots
    EV Charging for Apartments | ChargePoint
    Condos and apartments | FLO

    Another option: If your apartment offers private garages, you can often charge off of the standard 120V outlet used for the garage door opener. It's slower of course, but actually more useful than you'd expect, giving you around 50 miles of range overnight. This is what I'm doing currently.
    • Like x 1

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