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Where to Start with EV Charging for Multifamily

Posted 08/18/2023

The message from multifamily residents is clear: they want modern amenities in their homes. The National Association of Home Builders lists these top trends at multifamily residences: environmental sustainability, opportunities for reduced energy costs, high-tech devices like smart thermostats, and wi-fi throughout the entire building. And in a 2021 Multifamily Design+Construction survey, electric vehicle charging was the third most popular “convenience amenity” upgrade.  Electric vehicle charging is changing the housing industry. Here’s what you need to know before bringing EV charging to your multifamily community.  

How do you get started with multifamily EV charging? 

Before you install EV charging equipment in a multifamily community, it’s best to perform some initial research to get a better understanding of how many chargers you will actually need.  

Step 1: Survey Your Tenants 

[caption id="attachment_14143" align="alignright" width="240"] Download the EV Survey[/caption] While some multifamily communities are installing chargers in every parking spot, this can be expensive for locations that do not yet have an EV driver in every unit. By surveying your current and future tenants, you will get a sense of how many EV drivers will need to charge every night.    While families move in and out of residences all the time, and your building demographics may change, this survey can give you a baseline to make some educated assumptions about how many chargers you will need. Consider asking: 

  • How many tenants have electric vehicles 

  • How many might be purchasing them soon 

  • How often they think they would charge  

Download this guide to help you get started with your survey: Assessing Residential Needs.

Step 2: Assess Your Existing Electrical Supply 

The other piece of the puzzle for installing chargers in multifamily buildings is performing a site assessment at your property. Ask your electrician if your building has enough existing power to add EV chargers or if you will need to upgrade your infrastructure.  Level 2 chargers, which can charge a vehicle overnight, use your property’s 208/240 volt power and are the next step up from the basic Level 1 charging cable that comes with the vehicle. With commercial 50amp and 80amp charging stations,, your team can add a necessary amenity that improves tenant retention while minimizing costs.  Before you install your EV chargers, it's important to find out if your property can accommodate the increased power load. You may need to upgrade your general electrical infrastructure prior to installation.   Your electrical contractor will perform a site assessment to determine your available power and what you may need when upgrading for EV infrastructure. 

Load Management  

One way you can keep your EV infrastructure installation costs down is by implementing local load management.   While the National Electrical Code (NEC) section 625 requires each charger to have an individual branch circuit, some existing buildings may not have enough electrical capacity to add multiple chargers. Blink Local Load Management can help properties add more charging stations with a limited budget. This is because with local load management, hosts can select their preferred power sharing mode to split evenly between the chargers when they are in use.   For example, if your breaker is limited to 100amp but you want to install two 80amp chargers, you can install two chargers with power-sharing enabled to reduce power at the station. With this mode, the first vehicle to plug in would receive the full 80amp. Then when the next driver plugs in, the available power could be split so both vehicles can charge at 40amp. Once a vehicle is done charging, the power it was using then becomes available for the rest of the chargers on the breaker. This makes it easier for properties to host multiple chargers while keeping costs down since it requires less infrastructure. 

Getting help with multifamily EV charger installation 

Many state and municipal governments have tax incentives and various other economic incentives for installing EV charging equipment. Blink has collected all of the available incentives into an easy-to-search tool for both commercial properties and residential properties.   For multifamily property owners, installing EV charging infrastructure is a marvelous way to attract tenants, showcase your sustainability commitments, increase property value, and introduce a new revenue stream while future-proofing your property.   Not sure where to start? Blink offers flexible options to make it easy to charge your property. Whether you prefer to hire your own electrical contractor or need a recommendation from your Blink expert, we’ll work hand-in-hand with your team to make installation easy.   Connect with an EV charging expert for a personalized quote today! 

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