Electric Vehicles are Coming. How to Prepare Your Community for the Surge
Electric Vehicles: Managed Charging Solutions
For even more information, check out the recording from our recent EV Charging webinar.
In 2021 the number of electric vehicles on Minnesota’s roads doubled and it is anticipated that by 2030 1/3 of all vehicles in the state will be electric. In Minnesota there are two things that come into play that will increase the sales of electric vehicles perhaps more quickly than other states. The Next Generation Act which was signed in 2007, requires that the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota by 80% between 2005 and 2050 which supporting clean energy, energy efficiency, and supplementing other renewable energy standards in Minnesota.
Clean Cars Minnesota, which was adopted in 2021 is the other piece to the puzzle that will increase EV sales in the state. The clean car standards encompass two vehicle emission standards that Minnesota has adopted, the low-emission vehicle standard and the zero-emission vehicle standard. These standards apply to new light- and medium duty vehicles that are for sale in Minnesota. The low-emission vehicle standard sets limits for tailpipe pollution for auto manufacturers, a standard that the auto industry has been successfully meeting since 2012. The zero-emission vehicle standard requires auto manufacturers to deliver more vehicles with zero tailpipe emissions for sale in the state, increasing each year. With transportation being the number one cause of greenhouse gasses in Minnesota, you can understand why the adoption of EVs in the state is so important.
For existing condominiums and homeowners associations, the addition of EV charging infrastructure and stations can be a large and expensive undertaking. It's not something that can happen overnight. So, where should a condo or association board even start? FirstService Residential recommends a 4-step approach that will help simplify the planning process.
Planning for EV Infrastructure
When starting to consider the addition of EV charging infrastructure in your community it’s important to look at your short-term, mid-term and long-term plans. In the short-term you need to know how many charges could be directly connected to your existing power today. For mid-term you need to understand how many load sharing/managed chargers could be connect to existing power today and how. For long-term you need to know what upgrading the building electric service would entail, when it should be done and how much it would cost. These questions can be answered in the first two steps of the 4-step approach.
Step One: Audit & Evaluate
In step one of the 4-step approach, the questions about your short, mid and long-term goals will be answered. This is when a building or association’s available capacity for EV charging would be determined and data and calculations behind that capacity would be provided. This can be done in a couple of ways, by reviewing utility billing or installing data recorders to record the electrical capacity. Typically, the cost of this stage is $1,500-$2,000 per building.
Step Two: Engineering Consultation
In step two, an engineer will take the information from your audit and will then review, analyze and identify different options for your community. The engineer will assist you in determining the scope of work and will arrange for the creation of RFPs. Once proposals have been received, they will review and make recommendations. It’s important to have an expert guide you through this process so you can have an unbiased party on the side of your condo or association. For this stage you can expect a cost of between $1,500 to $2,000.
Step Three: Install Infrastructure
Once the board decides on the EV infrastructure solution that will work for their community, the installation can begin. This is when dedicated electric panels and transformers will be installed. Power distribution will happen, internet or cellular access will be sorted and conduit and wiring to parking spaces can begin. The cost for infrastructure installation can vary depending on the type of community and it’s needs but typically costs between $10,000-$40,000 per 100 vehicles.
Step Four: Install Chargers
Once you have decided on which chargers make the most sense for your community, typically a level 2 charger for multi family properties, you can set the process for installing these chargers over time. Level 2 chargers get you around 25 miles of range for every hour your EV is plugged in.
Budgeting for the Project
Accommodating for EV charging in your community can be a huge financial undertaking and it needs to be planned for accordingly. Unfortunately, at this time there are no federal or state programs in place to help with the costs of adding this infrastructure. Determining how the infrastructure will be paid for will vary for every property. What FirstService Residential has typically seen is the association pays for the basic infrastructure and when a homeowner would like to add a charger to their spot, they pay to come off the base system and run it to their parking stall and the cost of the charger is also charged to them. Work with your property manager to determine how paying for the infrastructure and recouping costs from homeowners makes the most sense and consult the association’s lawyer.
Develop an EV Charging Policy for Your Association
When the necessary infrastructure for EV charging stations for your association is ready, it’s essential to have an EV charging policy in place. This will help minimize the work involved for both the board and association manager when a resident reaches out about wanting an EV charging station in their dedicated parking spot.
The policy should outline the guidelines for the application process as well as the electricity metering and payment process. In most cases, the payment for used electricity will be looked after by a third party that will collect payment and then provide it back to the homeowners association.
Work closely with the association’s lawyer to ensure that nothing is overlooked when creating the policy.
EV Charging Infrastructure Adds Value to Your Community
While the necessity to accommodate electric vehicles at your condominium or homeowners association may not be immediate, with a set deadline for the takeover of electric vehicles, it’s better to get ahead of the need. Including EV charging stations now has its benefits as it increases property values and creates happy owners and tenants. It also keeps your community from being overlooked by potential buyers that may already drive electric vehicles while improving your association’s green standings and commitment to the environment.