How to Find Apartments With EV Charging Near You
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Let’s say you’ve found the perfect apartment. It’s kid-friendly, pet-friendly, and meets all of your other requirements. There’s just one problem: There’s nowhere to plug in your electric car. Is there anything you can do to keep your battery pack charged?
The good news is that more and more building managers are catering to EV drivers and installing Level 2 charging stations in residential parking areas. But apartments with EV chargers can still be hard to find in some parts of the U.S.
Here’s everything you need to know about apartments with EV charging stations. We’ll share how to find one and what to do if your current apartment doesn’t offer one yet.
Can You Charge an EV at Your Apartment?
Let’s be clear: The current state of EV charging infrastructure caters to homeowners. In some states, you can get a rebate or tax credit for installing a home charging station — incentives that simply aren’t available to renters.
But that doesn’t mean electric vehicle owners who live in apartments are totally out of luck. The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates that “46% of EV owners in apartments have home plug access in 2020.”
Of course, your access to EV chargers may vary depending on whether you live in a townhome or condo with individual parking spots, or a large apartment complex with shared parking spaces. Here are the two most common charging options.
Level 1 Charging
The first way to charge your car if you don’t live in an apartment with EV charging is to plug it into a standard 120-volt wall outlet. This is known as Level 1 charging.
If you have access to an outdoor electrical outlet near your parking spot, this is easy, but if you park your car on the street, it can get a little trickier. Some EV owners have found creative ways to charge their vehicle by running a power cord out the window, across the sidewalk, or even through the branches of a tree!
This isn’t a great solution, though, for two reasons: It may be a safety hazard that will upset your property owner, and it’s the slowest EV charging method. Level 1 charging can take 24 hours or more depending on the size of your car’s battery pack.
Level 2 Charging
The second option is to use a Level 2 charging station, which provides a faster charge (at 240 volts) and is what most EV owners install in their homes. Level 2 chargers can usually charge your battery in 10 hours or less.
If you have an individual parking spot and plan to stay in your apartment for a while, it may be worth paying to install a charging unit yourself (if your property manager allows it, of course). For example, ChargePoint sells electric car charging stations specifically designed for assigned parking spots, with a membership card so that your neighbors can’t mooch electricity off of you.
For most renters, though, it will be more practical to find an apartment with a shared charging station available to everyone in the apartment community.
These units may require you to use a membership card or EV charging app to reserve a spot, calculate your electricity usage, and get notified when your battery is fully charged in order to accomodate the needs of multiple tenants.
How to Find Apartments With EV Charging
Looking for an apartment with EV charging can be harder, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips to help you find the right apartment for you.
Use Search Filters
First, use the right search filters on EV charging apps and real estate websites. For example, PlugShare will show you all of the public EV charging stations in your area, but it can also show you private chargers if you turn on the “Restricted” search filter. That can help you narrow down which apartments in your area have EV chargers.
Likewise, if you’re searching for an apartment online, you may be able to filter for EV chargers in addition to a gym, pool, washer and dryer, and other amenities.
Talk to the Building Manager or HOA
Another option is to discuss EV charging with the property owner or building manager before you move in. If the apartment complex that you’re interested in doesn’t have a shared charger already, you may have to take the initiative to get one installed.
By talking to your building manager in advance — and explaining what’s in it for them — you’ll increase your chances of having your request accepted.
Some states offer generous incentives to property owners who install EV chargers for tenants, or have restrictions on whether or not a request for a charging station can be refused. For example, New York provides up to $4,000 in rebates for each charging port, while Colorado prohibits HOAs from imposing “unreasonable restrictions on electric vehicle charging systems.”
Alternatives to Apartments With EV Charging
Not everyone can afford to install a home EV charger at their apartment, or has time to negotiate with their property manager about installing a shared charging station. What other options do you have if you want to drive an eco-friendly vehicle?
Public Charging Stations
If you don’t have any EV charging options at your apartment, you may be able to make do with other types of charging stations in your neighborhood. Maybe your library, gym, or grocery store offers free charging to customers.
This won’t be practical if you commute to work every day and need to leave your car plugged in overnight, but it may be an option for occasional EV drivers.
If you choose this option, make sure to look for Level 2 charging stations, not DC fast chargers. While it can be tempting to charge your battery as quickly as possible, too many fast charging cycles can cause it to degrade faster.
Charging at Work
Another option is to charge at work. If your office has a charging station, a full 9-to-5 work day is more than enough to charge an EV using Level 2 power. Your employer may be more receptive to installing a charging station than your apartment building manager, especially if other employees have cars they need to charge too.
Choose the Right EV for Your Apartment
The hassle of finding an apartment with EV charging can be a concern for electric car owners, but it shouldn’t put you off from choosing an eco-friendly car entirely. After all, there are plenty of small electric cars that are perfect for fitting into compact parking spots, as well as long range electric cars that don’t need to be charged as often.
And of course, you can always choose a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, which gives you the option of filling up at a gas station if you move into an apartment without EV charging. Check out our electric car guides here to learn more about your options.
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