How Community Managers Can Plan for an Influx of Electric Vehicles

An electric vehicle at a charging station

Installing electric vehicle charging stations is part of the equation when it comes to adapting your community to the future.

Key takeaways:

  • Electric vehicles are rapidly increasing in popularity
  • Charging these cars remains an obstacle for many
  • HOA communities will need to develop solutions
  • Community managers should be proactive

As fuel prices rise and inflation makes everyday life more expensive, electric vehicles are becoming more viable for the average family. The International Energy Agency reports that nearly 9% of cars sold globally in 2021 were electric, and their market share could grow to 13% by the end of 2022.

The increasing number of electric vehicle sales is a positive for the environment because it could help many countries reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. However, these sales will also increase demand for electric vehicle charging stations  – and HOAs and condo associations need to begin preparing. 

To stay ahead of the competition, community managers should respond to these future challenges by creating an electric vehicle plan today. Here’s a look at some steps HOA communities can take to keep up with electric vehicle charging demands in the coming years.

Identify power sources

First, you’ll need to figure out how to supply the power that your electric vehicle charging stations will require. You’ll probably want to install Level 2 EV chargers, at the very least, which require 240 volts to operate. As a result, the entire community might need an electrical upgrade. 

Next, you’ll have to determine the installation method. It’s possible to hardwire EV chargers into the community’s electrical system or use basic 240-volt outlets. Community homeowners might want some input, but your decision will ultimately come down to multiple factors.

The outlet system is simpler and easier to repair if something goes wrong. Outlet systems are portable and more flexible, making it easier to install multiple charging stations throughout the community if necessary.

On the other hand, you can avoid installing junction boxes with a hardwired system because the charger will already be weatherproof. These systems are also advantageous because you won’t risk someone using the outlets for other reasons.

Establish a location

The next step is establishing a location for your charging stations. An HOA might allow individual homeowners to install chargers outside their residences and provide community chargers, as well. You’ll likely install these communal chargers in central locations around the neighborhood so homeowners can easily access them.

Things could get a little trickier for condo association managers. It might not be possible for each unit to have its own charging station, so placing EV chargers in accessible locations around the property is essential. You might even create a designated EV charging spot that residents can use when they need the service before moving to their regular parking space when they’re done. 

Another option is installing 240-volt outlets near every parking space in the community to allow for greater access to chargers. This idea might not be possible in every neighborhood, but it would make the development very popular with EV owners. 

Develop a charging policy

You’ll also want to develop a policy for charger installations and usage to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings and to make sure all residents are treated fairly. For starters, you’ll want to outline a procedure for residents who want to request EV chargers at their designated parking stalls. This process could involve the homeowner writing a letter to the board or community manager for approval and then seeking the services of an electrical contractor. The community manager might also wish to retain a specific contractor to ensure compliance requirements are met.

HOAs might develop a similar charging policy when homeowners wish to install stations outside their houses. Community managers will want to ensure the job is up to code and has a uniform appearance, so retaining an electrical contractor specializing in this work could be necessary. 

Implementing consistent rules for using communal chargers in the community is also advisable. You don’t want some residents hogging the electric vehicle chargers every night because that will lead to conflict. You’ll need to know how many people within the association have electric vehicles and will be using these chargers. From there, it becomes easier to create a schedule, ensuring that everyone who lives in the community has access to these spaces throughout the week. Then, as demand for these spots grows, you can alter your plan or create more charging spaces as needed.

Build over time

Electric vehicles are a relatively new technology, so community managers will want to remain adaptable and make adjustments to their EV charging plans when necessary. As the number of electric vehicles on the road increases, so will charging station needs.

The best approach is to build a solution for your community based on what your residents currently require and add to your offerings in the coming years as needed. You might even invest in Level 3 chargers in the future as the technology becomes more widespread and the people in your community become increasingly reliant on electric vehicle chargers. 

EV charging infrastructure is sure to be a selling point for residential communities in the future. And it could also result in increased property values for your residents, which they’re sure to appreciate.

How to install electric vehicle chargers

Electric vehicle charging stations aren’t overly challenging to install, but having a professional contractor complete the job is essential. You don’t want residents doing their own electrical work because of the problems it could create for other homes in your community, so you should identify a licensed technician who can handle this type of work.

VendorSmart is a platform that puts community managers in touch with service providers in their area. We’ll also vet your electrician for compliance, eliminating many issues you could experience when hiring a third-party vendor to work in your community. Contact VendorSmart for more information on the compliance and management solutions we have to offer.