EV Charging Stations Pose Barrier For Condos

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To keep up with all the electric vehicles that are making their way to Chicago them moving along, approximaltely300 charging stations will be installed at tollway plazas, shopping malls and public parking lots. Drivers living in single-family homes can charge up in their personal garages.  So the big question is, won’t Won’t condominium owners want the same charging convenience where they park their cars?

Joseph Armenio, president of Chicago-based Sudler Property Management’s building services division, says yes they will.

“We are going to see more and more demand for electric cars, particularly as the government creates more incentives and the cost of energy continues to go up,” he said. “The question every board will face is, what do its owners need and how can it best be provided? It’s not too early to start looking at the issues.”

Owners’ needs will be on a case by case basis.  Some of he factors that will contribute to making these decisions  include technology, architecture, infrastructure and cost.

Charging is categorized at three levels/speeds:

  • Level 1- The standard 110-volt household outlet. Just plug in your car. A full charge takes 12 to 20 hours, depending on the vehicle’s capacity.
  • Level 2 -  Requires a dedicated 220-volt outlet and a breadbox-size docking device. Charging takes four to eight hours.
  • Level 3 – The fast-chargers need 480 volts and stand the size of a gasoline pump. Charging is complete in about 30 minutes.

The faster the charge, the higher the price will be. A Level 2 charging station costs $2,000, and a Level 3 station costs $50,000.

Paul Scott, co-founder of the nonprofit Plug In America in San Francisco, estimates that those prices will decrease over time.

Armenio feels that progressive associations should fit the bill for equipment and infrastructure.

“Progressive associations who are on board with the environmental movement might consider paying for the equipment and infrastructure, and then charging owners who use it for the electricity and cost of maintenance and repairs to the equipment,” Joseph Armenio said.

“Swipe-card technology allows charge-station users to add the bill to their condo assessments, credit cards or electric bills,” Scott said.  Some other concerns are where to put these charging stations, who gets to use them and will there be a designated time to use them?

“Many garages are crowded, and associations can’t take away or arbitrarily rearrange deeded parking spaces,” Sugar said. “A unit owner can’t say, ‘I need a space near the charging station,’” he continued.

Some parking garages can be wired for individual chargers while others cannot.

In California, Paul Scott’s 26-unit association allowed him to install a Level 1 outlet at his underground parking space to charge his two electric cars. Scott connected the outlet to his unit’s electrical panel. This  cost approximately $1,350.

Because of this procedure,  Scott’s  association now knows it has the electrical capacity to install one Level 2 charger for residents to share.

“The cost might be prohibitive, especially if you have to cut into concrete or asphalt,” Scott said. “But if the price of gas goes to $6 a gallon, and it will, those decisions might change. All of a sudden, a $5,000 cost might seem reasonable. Right now, it might sound like way too much.”

“There are plenty of obstacles, but if it’s something the unit owners and the association want done, there’s certainly a way to do it,” said Sugar.

Source:  Chicago Tribune

6 Responses

  1. Stan says:

    The title of this article should read “Community EV Chaging Stations Pose Barrier For Condos” or “Shared EV Chaging Stations Pose Barrier For Condos”. Installing one in your own private garage is not an issue.

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  2. vanuck says:

    Well, in Vancouver, BC, 12% of the paking sports in new condo buildings have to be EV ready. I believe this is a good start…

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  3. jeffhre says:

    Title sounds good to me. If it was, Charging stations in private condo and townhouse garages pose a barrier, that would be problematic. Vancouver is out in front on this one, hopefully others quickly follow before a lot of opportunities are lost. It can be very, very expensive to retrofit as Paul Scott said in the article.

    Many opportunities have been lost for PV system installation because new homes are not required to have the $150 worth of fittings that could save $10,000 to $20,000 in retrofitting expenses when homeowners are deciding to install PV. I hope the same does not happen with charge stations and the Vancouver example is followed.

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  4. Electrician says:

    Thanks for this, really appreciate the input on this subject.

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  5. Fraser Stark says:

    One company, ParkPlug Power, which was founded to serve the booming Canadian condominium market (particularly Toronto and Vancouver), works with condo boards as a 3rd party infrastructure owner/operator. This allows the condo board to offer EV charging as a service to its unit owners, without having to come up with the money itself or get into the weeds of EV charing technology. It’s every bit as applicable in Chicago or Dallas as it is in Toronto or Vancouver.

    More information can be found at http://www.parkplug.ca

    -Fraser

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