Do I Need an Apartment with an EV Charging Station?
More and more car owners are making the switch to electric vehicles. Drivers are motivated to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on soaring gas prices. While purchasing an EV may make sense for your lifestyle on paper, there are other factors that come into question when making the switch to an electric car such as, “What is the best method to getting a charge?”
Many prospective EV buyers are asking themselves whether or not they need to purchase an at-home charger, and if you are in a rental property, is it even an option? There may be limited potential for those living in multi-unit dwellings like apartments or condominiums, but don’t let that deter you from the EV lifestyle, because depending on the city you reside in, installing an at-home charging station may not even be necessary.
Accessibility to Public Charging Stations
If you live in a metropolitan city, you are more likely to come across public charging stations at malls, parks, grocery stores, and even some office buildings. Cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle rank among the top 10 locations with the most electric charging stations in the US. If the majority of your driving consists of short distances within the city, you could get by just using the public charging stations. Charging stations are available at two different levels: Level 2 and Level 3. Level 2 charging stations require several hours to fully charge. If a Level 2 station is near your work or home where you can easily park for 4-5 hours, you should have no problem owning an electric car even without a home charging station. Level 3 chargers or “DC chargers” can charge your vehicle up to 80% within 15-30 minutes. These can be found at banks, stores, and gas stations around the US. If you live in a more rural location where you have limited accessibility to charge stations, it may be worth it to discuss the possibility of installing a charger at home with your landlord or DOA.
Right to Charge
So far, 9 states in the US have what is called, The Right to Charge, a law aimed at helping renters and condo owners have accessibility to at-home charging stations by requiring home-owner associations and landlords to allow the installation of an at-home EV charger while adhering to guidelines and stipulations individual to each state. The renter or condo owner will pay for the equipment and installation, maintenance, electricity use, and any liability insurance that may be required. States include California, Oregon, Colorado, Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia, New York, and Hawaii. If you live outside one of these states, your landlord or HOA may still be open to the idea of installing a charger. You could also invest in the charger yourself for $300 to $1500 depending on the charger. If you own it instead of your landlord, you would take it with you when you leave. However, budget for an installation cost of between $500-1000 for an electrician to run power.
Locate Charging Stations from Your Smartphone
There are a handful of apps that will point out charging stations throughout your city or along your travel route. Google and Apple Maps are apps that you probably already have downloaded to your smartphone and will direct you to the next closest charge spot by updating the settings in the apps and downloading the relevant EV app. Apps like EV Navigation allow you to plug in specific variables like tire pressure, passengers, and distance to calculate how far your current charge will get you and where compatible charging stations are located along the way. In some states, you can even pay to have the charge brought to you with an app service called SparkCharge.
While installing an at-home charger for your electric vehicle may be ideal, there are plenty of charging options for renters and multi-unit dwellers living in various cities, and as the popularity of EVs grows, so will the accessibility to charging stations.