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I own multifamily apartments - I'm part of the EV charging infrastructure problem

Discussion in 'Model S' started by calisnow, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    #1 calisnow, Mar 31, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
    ASIDE - if anyone has any recommendations for commercial EV installation firms please shoot me a pm.

    STORY

    Perhaps this story will illustrate some of the EV infrastructure challenges from the other side - that of the business owner. If you ever gripe to yourself about clueless real estate owners who don't help EV adoption by installing charging for their residents - I'm one of those people you gripe about!

    I'm starting to feel like a hypocrite - I own a Model S and tell everyone that EV's are the future - but I also have apartments where my tenants have nowhere to charge. I'd like to fix this situation but I'm not sure where to start.

    Part of the problem is my units are in the suburbs of a big city in the Midwest - not California where I live. Gas is really cheap there and I don't see any EV's, let alone Teslas, when I go there on business.

    Nevertheless you gotta start somewhere right?

    The other problem is a logistical challenge - like many complexes mine is spread across a number of acres and the units do not have assigned parking.

    So where do I start? I'm not going to poll the tenants and ask if they want EV chargers - I need to just put some in. If I build them - hopefully the residents will consider buying EV's.

    But where? People like to park in front of their own apartment - not walk across a complex to get home.

    But I can't afford to put chargers in all over the place when not a single one of the residents currently owns an EV.

    If I put in a charger in one spot for a single resident, and then that person moves out - I now have an EV charger locked into one spot with no guarantees that anyone with an EV wants to park in that location.

    This thinking gives me a headache, I say "screw it" - and I forget about it.

    I imagine this problem is exactly what goes through the heads of many other multifamily investors/executives.

    I can tell you FOR SURE that tenants asking the on-site manager would do no good. A request like that would get filtered immediately - probably not making it up to the district manager level - let alone all the way to me (the property owner) in a monthly report from the management company which runs the complex for me.

    And at the end of the day there is the budget issue - I'm not in commercial real estate as a charity operation. I am willing to throw a few thousand dollars out there to do some good for the world - but I'm not willing to embark on a major capital expenditure project giving everybody EV charging stations when the adoption rate for EV's is so low.

    And so - a chicken and egg problem...
     
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  2. Uncle Paul

    Uncle Paul Member

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    You could just put one charging station in for use by complex. See what the reaction is. If nobody uses it, you have done your part.

    If it gets used at more than comfortable capacity you could add additional slots as demand appears.

    Does not need to be close to each apt. Maybe near a community laundry room or the pool.
     
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  3. brkaus

    brkaus Member

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    I agree with Uncle Paul. Start easy, doesn't have to be close at first, having something on site is better than nothing. Go from there.
     
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  4. Patrick W

    Patrick W Member

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    Talking to a local restaurant owner I learned that Tesla has some sort of program where they pay for labor and equipment to install charging stations. The business then pays for the electricity. Don't know if that applies to situations like yours but it would not hurt to ask.
     
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  5. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    I suppose you guys are right - maybe put in a couple and see what happens. Then of course comes the billing problem - it doesn't need to be a profit center for me but I'm not going to pay the electric bill for residents' cars. On the other hand I don't want them to get ripped off by a third party commercial charging network which runs the stations to make money and charges high rates. I hope there is some kind of solution where I can buy and install the station, and the residents can pay normal utility rates (very cheap compared to California - less than $0.10 per kwhr) instead of the very high rates the commercial networks charge. I myself would probably not have bought a Model S if I had to pay $0.20 - $0.50 per kwhr or more instead of the $0.11 rate I pay at home through Edison. If I can't provide an affordable solution to my middle class tenant base they'd have no incentive to buy an EV. I guess I'll get some quotes/bids and see where the research takes me.
     
  6. Deltaflaze

    Deltaflaze Member

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    Might not help your situation, but here is my story...

    I approached my own apartment complex manager (~150+ units in 3 separate adjacent buildings) and asked if I could install the outlet for my Model S. The property manager (NOT the building owner) said sure, as long as I paid for its installation (~$300 here in Wisconsin). She agreed that the increase in electricity cost would be negligible and since I agreed to pay to install the outlet, I wouldn't have to pay the electricity fees. I switched spots with the tenant who was right in front of all the breakers so I wouldn't have to pay for dragging a line further away. 15 months have gone by since I bought my Model S and lived here - no issues or problems since.
     
  7. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    There isn't a single Tesla store in this state - I'll need to go with some kind of universal charger. Of course in two years when the Model 3 begins deliveries that situation might change. But the idea is good - I appreciate it.
     
  8. Deltaflaze

    Deltaflaze Member

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    Probably should add - it's an underground assigned parking garage.
     
  9. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Hmmmmm, that is interesting actually. What kind of charger did you go with? You all have covered parking there or is it open?
     
  10. Deltaflaze

    Deltaflaze Member

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    $50/month for underground parking and free outside parking.
    Just had a NEMA 14-50 outlet installed.
     
  11. brkaus

    brkaus Member

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    The destination charging deal typically provides a Tesla HPC and a standard charger as well. But they do call it the destination program, so I'm not sure apartments would apply.

    I'm not sure what to say about electric rates and bill back. Going to have to find someone that has done it. It seams like if the rates are different and you connect it in a central area, it will be the commercial rates. If you get a commercial company to come in and put in J1772 chargers they have high overhead.

    Make parking spots available near power panels and offer a friendly policy to those wanting to install a charger, perhaps rent the spot at a reasonable rate? If you have an electrician on staff, free/low cost installation? Then operation is on their dime and you know your property is upgraded in a safe way?
     
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  12. auger

    auger Member

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    #12 auger, Mar 31, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
    Here ya go if you want a metered, common area EVSE. I looked at this extensively for my condo. I'll PM you my cell number if you would like to ask me about it. Too much information to type out. No affiliation . . .

    Don't forget as a business you get a 30% tax deduction up to $30K.

    Electric Motor Werks, Inc. - JuiceBox™ Pro 40C - Commercial Use 40-Amp Wi-Fi EVSE with 24-foot cable
     
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  13. TSLAM

    TSLAM Member

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    [First post at TMF!]

    Is there an area within the complex where parking is relatively central to all the apt units?

    I'm going through a full gut remodel of my home right now and moved into an apt unit for about a year. My complex has 12 EV charging units that are assigned spots. I was initially planning to get a MS after my house remodel is done but fast forwarded my purchase because my complex has the charging infrastructure in place. More importantly, I made this decision because I have my own dedicated spot that allows charging access without sharing (or sharing without my explicit consent). While I pay a monthly fee for the spot, I don't pay for electricity. As a tenant, it is very important for me that I have dedicated access; I can't afford a free-for-all access system where I have to constantly worry if a spot is available or not (I don't even want to get into ICE vehicles parking at EV spots). Or worse, battle my neighbors for slots and potentially create an uncomfortable environment.

    I don't have range anxiety, I have capacity anxiety.

    Going back to the top of my reply. If there is a central area that is within easy access for all apt units in your complex, perhaps you can install 3 or 4 chargers there but allow them to be assigned spots for a reasonable fee ($25.00? Should be less than what someone expects to pay for gas monthly) to subsidize the electricity cost and right of access. A consolidated central area will ease concerns if a tenant moves out, allow you to start promoting your mission, and scale over time.

    Just my thoughts from a tenants perspective. I'm sure there are more complexities from the management side.
     
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  14. Debo

    Debo Member

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    Just a couple of quick points: I park my MS in the places in parking lots where there are the fewest amount of cars to avoid door dings. Put the chargers out there, owners will 'get it'. Also, why not cover the cost of electricity? I'm guessing that if it's not a tax deduction, it's a straight business expense and either way still potentially beneficial to you, the property owner.

    Finally, Tesla needs to come out with a commercial charging station that can be controlled and metered for either credit card payment or through API / web-based subscription service for this exact scenario.
     
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  15. Arbitrage

    Arbitrage Member

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    Yeah, it's tough if your units are spread out all over.

    In some cities, the new requirement is something like 5% of the parking needs to be EV. Technically, they require just the wiring and not even the ability to charge yet. The tentative plan is probably to install some lower amp J1772 in some of those spots in a block and just charge a reasonable monthly fee for those reserved spots if people want to charge. I'm not sure if it's worth the hassle/bookkeeping to individually meter each spot.

    I'd agree with the others and just install one or two in a general spot and go from there.
     
  16. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Maybe the best thing to do is contact all your tenants. Tell them you would like to help them install charging if they decide to get a plug in vehicle and to contact you if they do and you will work something out with them. Could put one in common area then just go one at a time as people approach you.
     
  17. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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  18. Tree95

    Tree95 Member

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    My electric bill went up $100 per month. I'm fine with that, ecstatic even, but why would a landlord gift that sort of money each month to tenants with EVs?
     
  19. cpa

    cpa Member

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    I cannot speak for Calisnow. He gets an income tax deduction. He might also be eligible for the EVSE federal credit; hard to know without knowing his complete income tax picture. Finally, this could be a sensible business decision to attract and retain tenants. Maybe in a couple of years his occupancy rate will increase because of this, and that is a good thing!
     
  20. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    Put in a free to use charger, then when you need to re-roof, connect it to the solar panels in top of the new roof to pay for your site lighting. Problem solved.

    That is the plan with the HOA I'm on.
     

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