The EV Boom is About to Begin. Does Your Community Have the Power to Charge It?

A line of electric vehicles hooked to charging stations.

What property managers need to know about installing EV charging stations for their residents

Key takeaways

  • Demand for electric vehicles is taking off around the country
  • Many community managers are proactively installing charging stations
  • These stations offer benefits for residents and managers
  • There could be some issues community managers need to address

Have you noticed more electric vehicles (EVs) on the road lately? It’s not your imagination. Demand for environmentally friendlier transportation is soaring globally, representing 11.3% of total new car sales in the first half of 2022 and not showing any signs of slowing down. 

This greater demand for EVs also means greater demand for charging stations, especially since there are only 56,000 stations with about 148,000 charging ports in the entire country. Those numbers will need to drastically increase to keep up with the EV revolution, and property managers can do their part by installing charging stations in their communities. 

Does your community have the power to charge the coming EV boom? Here’s a look at the benefits of installing charging stations for your HOA and the hurdles you might encounter along the way.

The benefits of installing EV power stations

The communities you manage will benefit from your decision to install EV power stations on multiple levels. For starters, these stations will make current HOA members who own electric vehicles happy because they won’t have to leave the neighborhood to find a charge.

In addition, on-site EV power stations position your community as an environmentally-friendly option, which is a key selling point for many prospective buyers. As EVs become more prevalent, more and more owners will expect charging stations to be a standard feature of their neighborhoods, and communities that don’t have them will get left behind.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points are another potential benefit of installing EV charging stations. These points could give your community LEEDS certification, increasing property values throughout the neighborhood. And depending on your location, tax credits might also be available for installing EV charger installations.

Finally, moving ahead with this project now will put you ahead of the demand that’s sure to follow. That way, you won’t find yourself rushing to install EV chargers in a couple years just to keep up with your competition.

Installing EV charging stations

If you’re looking at installing EV charging stations in your communities, you have several decisions to make. First, of course, you have to figure out where to place them. Since it’s likely that more and more residents will want access over time, you’ll need to account for future demand when considering the logistics.

The next part of your EV planning involves determining if you need to upgrade your HOA’s electrical service. While it’s possible to charge EVs with standard 120-volt outlets, it’s incredibly slow, and your residents can already charge their vehicles in that manner using their home outlets. For more efficient community stations, you’ll probably want 240-volt charging at minimum, which could require an infrastructure upgrade. 

When thinking about future demand, you might also want to consider level 3 charging stations, which offer the fastest charging speeds currently available. While this will undoubtedly make the EV owners in your community happy, it will also require a significant investment in the neighborhood’s electrical infrastructure. These chargers aren’t suitable for home installation. Rather, they should be installed in common areas within the community.

No matter which charging option you go with, getting a professional electrician on the job is essential. Hiring someone with experience installing EV chargers ensures the project is completed correctly, giving you one less thing to worry about as you make this change.

HOA power management options

Once you determine where to install your charging station and any electrical upgrades you need, you’ll have to figure out a way to manage demand and enforce the rules. Because chances are that many residents will want to use the stations at the same time, and costs can quickly add up if you aren’t monitoring usage.

One solution is to use scheduling software and a mobile app, which allocates time to residents who download it based on demand. The software makes it easier to manage available power, as you can keep an eye on usage to prevent it from getting too high. Monitoring and controlling consumption makes it possible to install more charging stations without upgrading wiring, electrical panels, or on-site transformers, as well.

Another option is a hub-and-spoke system. The gist is that the HOA pays for a hub EV panel, and then each EV owner in the community can pay to install a spoke from that panel to their personal parking space. This method ensures that the EV panel can handle the load, as you’ll always know who’s using the charging stations in the community. 

Paying for EV charging

A hub-and-spoke system helps offset some of the costs of installing EV charging, but it’s still an expensive process. The HOA will have to pay for the station’s installation up front, which could force you to collect capital improvement fees from each resident. In that case, you can expect some pushback from HOA members who don’t own EVs, so you’ll need to convince them of the widespread benefit this installation will have for everyone in the community.

You’ll also need to develop a system to charge individual residents for the electricity they use. It’s possible to integrate an app with your chargers that will monitor each resident’s usage so you can bill them later. Or you can offer the option to pay when using the station. 

Giving residents what they want

Electric vehicles aren’t going anywhere, so proactive community managers should start thinking now about how they want to handle the increasing demand for charging stations. The goal should be to disrupt the community’s power service as little as possible, which could prove challenging as more and more residents purchase these economical and environmentally-friendly cars. You’ll also need to find a professional electrician with EV charger experience to ensure the project meets the standards and needs of your residents.

If you’re searching for a qualified electrician to install EV chargers in your HOA communities, VendorSmart can help. You can find and vet vendors through our platform, eliminating much of the guesswork as you implement your electric vehicle plan. Contact VendorSmart today to get started on the road to making your community EV-friendly.