Oases in a Charger Desert: Bringing EV Chargers to Urban Residences

Public chargers are becoming more and more popular, but 80% of all charging still takes place at home. Even operating an EV can be challenging for drivers who don’t own their own homes and garages because of “charger deserts” in some cities. According to the New York Times, “plenty of people, worried about climate change, would make for a potentially receptive audience for EVs. But without a garage, they often feel locked out of the game.”

Bayside Queens resident Jonathan Spira was interested in a Jaguar I-Pace but passed because charging seemed impossible, stating, “It’s ridiculous. I can’t go miles from my home and then do nothing for several hours.” Residents tried to get them installed, but the condo got hung up on where to install them and who would pay.

Studies reveal only 56% of the population has their own parking spots. For everyone else, even if apartment buildings install chargers in their garages, it won’t help residents who don’t have a dedicated spot of their own and are not allowed to park there.

How can urban dwellers own and charge EVs? In Oregon, new builds are required to be EV-ready, and many more states are on the verge of the same. If you live in an older building, do your preparation and research before contacting HOA. First, survey other residents. Find how many employees, residents, and visitors already own EVs and how many are considering buying one. Owners are more apt to install chargers if many residents want them.

Second, be aware of what your rights already are. If you live in California, Oregon, Florida, Colorado, or Ontario, HOA cannot deny a resident an EV charger if they pay for installation and electricity. Check the laws in your city and state.

Next, be ready with a financial plan. Owners are going to be concerned about the price of rewiring, trenching, installation, and electricity. Rewiring is generally not necessary. If the charger is being installed for just one spot, the installation will be paid for by the resident. In fact, it’s illegal in most buildings to make residents who aren’t using the charger pay for it, and all charges have to be linked to your unit, easy with the Blink Network with the necessary permits and plans.

EVSE can be a significant investment, so always check federal, state, and local tax initiatives and rebates to see if you can get money back for your purchase; it would be unusual for a facility not to be able to take advantage of incentives of some kind. EnergyStar Certified chargers can also save up to 40% of the electricity used by a standard charger. Click here to learn more about residential incentives.

Choose one of Blink’s networked plans, and we can make installation easy and cost-effective. If the building is still pessimistic about the idea, a community charger that serves more than one resident is another option and a popular one because it enables the building to charge a fee for use. It’s also great to point out that EVSE is a potential source of revenue for the building for the parking facility that chooses to charge users. Chargers also raise property values for the building, which can acquire LEED points and for surrounding residences. EV charger installation and hosting companies, like Blink, can consolidate parking fees and charging fees to make the process easier for proprietors. And invite one of our reps out to explain installation and cost to the owner and help choose the right location.

Other options for charging in the city are possible with a little creativity. Los Angeles, for example, has installed EV chargers on light poles along city streets. According to LAists’s “LAStreet Lights Might One Day Charge The Electric Car You Don’t Yet Have”, two-thirds of LA households rent, presenting the same issue as many other cities-residents without parking garages. According to the article, “‘When the city decided that one of their priorities was to encourage the purchase of EV vehicles, it seemed prudent that it would be best to attach EV charging stations to our light poles,’ said Norma Isahakian, director of the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting.”

The UK has brought “pop-up” charging stations to London. Most of the time, these chargers are hidden underground, out of the way. This keeps them from blocking public walkways. When an EV pulls up, it literally pops up out of the ground. When the car is done charging and disconnects, a signal goes to the charger to go back underground, out of sight. These chargers are in their beginning stages, but reviews are “overwhelmingly positive.”

With most young people who care about sustainability in urban environments, it’s becoming more important than ever to make it easy for them to own an EV. City governments and privately owned buildings are getting creative to find ways to make their housing more attractive to the environmentally conscious and tech-savvy.

Recommend for You

Share on Social