One Finite Planet

EV Charging for Apartment complexes: A problem that can require a battle.

First Published:

Table of Contents

There are 3 approaches to residents of apartments being able to charge EVs:

  • They can go elsewhere to charge.
  • A small number of charging spaces will be provided.
  • Provision for individuals to have charging at the designated car space is facilitated.

This is a look at why charging and getting it right is a challenge for apartment complexes, those who want the problem to remain unsolved, and the merits of the possible solutions.

The barriers to an optimum solution to EV charging.

Even car spaces in underground carparks where some electrical outlets are present, it is extremely rare that designated car spaces have power sockets for use by residents, because metering power usage at individual car spaces was rarely provided for in the original plans.

Some form of upgrade to apartment infrastructure is almost always required before residents can charge EVs. I have spoken with developers, and unless requirements are introduced, they have no intention of making any real provision for EV charging. Realistically, most buyers won’t yet place any value on an apparent being ‘EV ready’, as most buyers do not yet even realise apartments are currently not ‘EV ready’.

There are a few challenges for those trying to decide on solutions:

  • Getting unbiased advice is problematic.
  • No solution is ‘future-proof’ and balancing what is required today with what will be required in next year and the year after is not as simple as often suggested.
  • Solution providers will logically

Getting apartment infrastructure upgraded requires persuading management committees, who will want to form their own opinions even if they do not understand EVs and may respond to sales pitches that are most aggressive from the suppliers positioned to make the greatest profit if their solution is installed. Then a solution may be voted on by all residents, with most choosing the path of least resistance as they don’t own an EV.

Getting a decision than one or two people familiar to EVs believe will make sense often means battling with:

Sales of charging technology to apartments complexes are sales to owners’ committees, or managing agents, which usually those making the purchase decision are not EVs owners. By targeting ‘gas pump thinking’, decision makers, who can be sold that fast charging is essential and could then be shared between many residents, and that the number of EVs will not change much from now, and only a very small fraction of residents will ever own EV. Often the cost of the electricity supplied is overlooked.

In practice, shared charger charging solutions are set to become unworkable once there are 3 or more residents with an EV per fast charger, but these systems are the easiest to sell, particularly to people with ‘gas station thinking’. Selling an alternative usually means less revenue for equipment suppliers, and despite being less lucrative, can require educating the customer(s).

The golden rule is, for apartment charging, every EV car space should have a 13 to 15 Amp, 240-volt socket, or the equivalent charging capacity. This could be a laundry socket in the US, a regular power socket in the UK, a 15Amp socket in Australia…. etc. A 22kW AC charger may only deliver the speed of 2x15A ‘chargers’, thus requiring up to 1 charger per 2 vehicles.

While most EV owners would be able to survive even with a lower than 15Amp power socket, where sockets are not already in place, wiring that supports at least 13 amps is more cost effective.

One the biggest problems is that people who do not own EVs can be easily convinced they require much faster charging equipment, resulting in higher revenue for suppliers. But faster equipment, while a little faster sometimes, may be slower in practice than expected, and can become limited to being very slow at times when most people want to charge.

Gas Station thinking: No one needs a gas pump or petrol bowser at home!

Is charging an EV more like charging a mobile phone, or more like filling up with petrol or gasoline?

Just as there are public EV chargers, there are public mobile phone chargers, but few of us ever use them.

The truth is charging an EV is somewhere in between. More people who own EVs make use of public EV chargers than make use of public phone chargers, but 95% of EV charging is done at home for several very good reasons.

To understand the problem, try a period living with a mobile phone without charging at home or at work.

EV Charging Reference

Why Charge at home when there are public chargers, and some are even free?

Access to free or even competitively priced home chargers, requires investing time, and is not dependable.

Commercial fast DC chargers that operate as a business and thus are more dependable, need to charge significantly more than charging at home to recover equipment costs and pay for the real estate.

This topic is covered in more depth here, but for every two hours driving, expect to lose at least 20 minutes charging time, and potentially double that if chargers are busy. Plus spend 2x to 3x the amount paid for charging by those with home charging.

The long-term economic cost of a lack of apartment home charging: lower apartment valuations.

The impact of a lack of home charging at first becomes an economic disadvantage for those residents with EVs, relative to other EV owners. At some point in time in the next 20 years, ‘EV owners’ will become ‘car owners’. At that time, remaining a resident of the apartment complex with no home charging will mean being at an economic disadvantage relative to residents of other apartment complexes that do provide home charging.

Further, the lack of V2G could mean higher electricity prices for all power at the apartments.

At this point the real estate value of the apartment complex will drop if a solution is not found, which means it is most likely a solution will be found.

The Technical Problems and Solutions.

The Technical Problems.

The billing problem: the main challenge for apartment charging.

The reason most apartment complexes where each car spaces is not adjacent to the apartment, do not have power car space outlets, is because of the difficulty connecting a power outlet at the car space to the power meter of the relevant apartment.

In most cases, there is some power in the parking area, such as to power cleaning equipment etc, but the entire car parking area has only one meter, with cost of the power shared by all apartments. These ‘common billing’ arrangements work either when the power requirements and costs are low, or will be similar for all apartments, as would also be the case with power for lighting, or even car space electric doors, or security systems.

In order to have the electrical power at each car space billed to each apartment, either:

  1. an individual electrical cable connects the power at the car space with the meter for the apartment.
  2. the electricity utility provides for linking two meters for each apartment.
  3. a separate billing system is required for the electricity at cars spaces or chargers.
    • The separate billing system have power supplied using an account of either:
      • the apartment complex common accounts.
      • an independent 3rd party who bills residents.

Despite the complexity, option 3 is often the only viable option, creating an opportunity for companies providing the billing system. Such systems typically require specific meters at each car space that is equipped to charge an EV, effectively locking all apartments to the one system, and the one supplier of equipment for ever car space when it becomes equipped to charge EVs.

Solutions require envisioning the future, not just the small minority need EV charging today.

At this time, EV ownership ranges from around 1% in Australia, to just under 20% even in Norway. Given that over 80% of EV charging is done at home and charging at home is problematic for those who live in apartments, it is likely EV ownership is lower amongst apartment residents.

Given the current low current ownership levels, it is easy to miss the likelihood that ‘soon’, at least ‘soon’ from the perspective of real estate, most people might own an EV.

Taking the Australia example, where EVs are less than 10% of new car sales and combine that with the general data that only around 5% of people buy a new car each year, and the expectation is 0.5% of people will be an EV each year in 2022. Even if the rate climbs by a factor of 4 in the next few years, it will still be no more than a 2% increase per year in people needing to charge an EV, and that rate could remain that low for possibly even the next 5 years.

Current demand of around two residents per year in a complex of 100 apartments wanting to switch to an EV, is not a big demand. But within 20 or 30 years, almost all vehicles will be EVs, so the demand will become overwhelming at some point, and a real solution that can grow will be needed. EVs will start to be a choice for all not just for new car buyers. EVs will become just vehicles. There will come a point in time where the value of apartments that do not have EV charging will be less than the cost of adding EV charging, which means that sooner or later, there will be a need to provide for EV charging for everyone.

Although it can be hard to imagine today, any investment that provides a solution for only a small minority of residents will soon become obsolete.

When managed, there is enough power, even “if ‘everyone’ wants to charge an EV at home”.

A common question is: Will the electrical supply handle the electrical load if ‘everyone’ owns an EV?”.

The short is answer is “yes”, if the electrical system can provide adequate power for the apartments, then load and the timing of charging EVs is correctly managed, the electrical system of an apartment complex can definitely handle the load necessary to provide everyone with the power needed to charge EVs.

However, to ensure the system is not taxed, the rate of most likely charging needs to be managed. Either:

  • Only a small number of people can charge at very high speed at one time.
    • or
  • Everyone can charge more slowly at the same time.

These are the two choices. The first choice means fewer, but far, far more expensive chargers, and the second requires many more very inexpensive chargers, and both approaches are solutions are discussed in detail below.

Here are the supporting calculations on the power available, and the power required.

The average home in the US consumes 29.3kWh per day, and an EV travelling at the average US driving distance per day will require 9kWh per day in charge, which represents an average increase in electricity of 30% to add one EV per household that is fully charged at home.

Interestingly, the figures for Australia are 18kWh per day per household and 5.4kWh per vehicle, result in the same 30% increase in power in order to charge an EV.

In both cases average household power consumption is around 1kW, with the US being around 1.2kW. However, while the average would simply be the rate all day if power consumptions always the same, the reality is there are peak periods of high demand, and quieter periods of low demand. Globally there are many variables, and during peak periods is likely to be at least around 3kW, more perhaps even 5kW. Wiring definitely has to be able to cope a 5kW load per apartment, and in fact an electric oven alone will typically require up to 5kW. Normally modern wiring needs to provide for at least 10kW per apartment, to allow for an oven and other appliances and lighting, although would use of the last electrical goods lowers power consumption. One note of caution: Even if the limit is 10kW on average across all apartments, in practice to reach this type of average would result from apartments above and below the average, which means the limit on each individual apartment must be higher than the average across all apartments.

Interpreting the power requirements per EV is simpler.

The national average figures on power required for an EV should be very safe to work with because:

  • This assumes all power comes from home, and high milage vehicles will almost all require some charring away from home from DC rapid charges, because it is hard to travel long distances, and still always remain close to home.
  • It is not logical that apartment residents would be the longest distance drivers nationally, as apartments are normally only in higher population density areas.

Based on this, it assumed the average apartment resident would most likely have charging needs no higher than the national average.

Still, if the resident of every apartment wanted to add the 9kW for USA or 5.4kW for Australia of power per day for their EV in just one hour, and too many people at a complex choose the same hour, the load would potentially be over the limit. Further, as there could be local or other events that result in a peak in local travel, creating increased demand on some occasions, it cannot be assumed that charging would always be evenly spread across all times. So, if for example 50kW charging was available for everyone, and enough people chose to use it at the same time, it would most likely create a problem, so there is need for some system to ensure the load is spread out.

At the other extreme, if charging is sufficiently spread out, there is plenty of power for all. Just the difference between the peak period requirement of over 3kW, and the power used overnight, could safely provide at night around 3kW for everyone for at least 12 hours overnight, which would mean 36kW per night, which is sufficiently well beyond typical daily needs, to mean that even in the worst case there must be enough power available for a more than adequate solution.

Normally at least 3.6kW for each apartment would be fully adequate, and safely available. This could be provided as:

  • One up to 3.6kW supply for each apartment, providing overnight charging.
  • One 22kW charging unit for every 2-6 apartments, able to provide a full charge in anywhere between 3 to 10 hours*.
  • One 50kW charging unit for every 12 apartments, able to provide a full charge in 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
  • Charger units are available up to 350 kW, however, not all vehicles can charge any faster than 50kW.

There are multiple solutions for providing adequate power everyone in an apartment complex to be able charge an EV.

*The trap with 22kW chargers, is that, as explained below, most cars will only charge at 7kW or 11kW on a 22kW AC charger, but there is still the potential to draw 22kW. The recommended solution is to have 1 22kW ‘charger’ per 3 apartments, set for a maximum of 11kW.

The solutions.

Solutions overview: Shared Chargers available in a common area vs A charger for each apartment.

There are two different approaches offered by suppliers of apartment complex EV charging solutions:

  1. A number of ‘visitor’ or other common area parking spaces become dedicated EV charging spaces, and these can be shared by all EV owners.
  2. Power for charging is made available either all allocated resident parking spaces, or at spaces of apartments that ‘opt in’.

Option 1 may sound simpler, but in practice it is often more expensive in the short term, and this option is totally unworkable in the long run, which means whatever is invested in this approach will usually be just waste money. The solution sound like it should provide the experience most like the familiar gas station / petrol bowser experience, but that turns out to be exactly why it is not something apartment complexes should implement. It is very tempting for charging equipment providers to market that option, as it can provide good revenue from solutions that can often work for a year or two.

Option 2 is provision for proving a power outlet power for a charger at each space. The result is that each apartment can then be responsible for its own charger, but these chargers will not be as fast as those offered by solution 1, which counterintuitively, turns out to be one the greatest strengths of this approach. The greatest weakness of this option 2, is that there is no initial sale of expensive charging equipment, so there are no sales campaigns to promote implementations.

Flawed solution: Fast charging at some shared common area parking spaces.

The sales pitch: Providing charging for EVs is like installing gas pumps / fuel bowsers.

There is sufficient potential revenue from this type of solution to make sales campaigns potentially lucrative, and to persuade decision makers who have no reason to yet understand charging EVs.

The option of installing a small number of fast chargers in visitor bays has some reasons for seeming appealing:

  • There is sufficient revenue for the supply of equipment suppliers to justify quality marketing campaigns by suppliers.
  • Faster charging sounds better, even if, in practice, sharing the charging makes it far slower.
  • In a complex with almost zero EVs at decision time, such a solution can at first seem like it will be sufficient for many years.
  • Many providers will even offer to manage the billing for use the charger, making the solution hassle free.

This type of offering can sound compelling, as is easy to sell to a decision-making body with a minority of EV owners, or possibly zero EV owners.

The reality and 22kW trap.

Proposals for solutions are normally voted on by residents. In an apartment complex that does not already have some solution for EV charging, it is very likely that the vast majority of residents have very little interest or knowledge about EVs. If the amount per apartment seems acceptable and the proposal does not sound worth arguing about to most residents, most people will simply acquiesce to what is proposed on the grounds it will not affect them.

But there are significant potential downsides to this approach:

  • Charging speeds are usually not as fast in reality as promoted, unless installing extremely expensive rapid DC chargers rated at 100kW or rated at even more.
  • Many people are building commercial EV charging networks, and at the extreme, a solution like this may effectively be a new site for a charging network that has been fully funded by the apartment owners, with the location provided to the charging network at no cost.
  • The inconvenience and cost of paying through the billing system could mean the EV charging spaces would more appeal to visitors or even the general public, rather being any use to residents.
  • If chargers are used by residents, it would normally require one charger for every two residents who own an EV, which raises questions as to who should pay for installation.
  • The 22kW trap:
    • Most EVs, including Teslas since 2016, cannot charge on AC at 22kW
      • Model 3: 11kW on a 22kW charger, Model S/X, 16kW
    • The most common charging speed is 11kW, but some EV only charge at 7kW when on a 22kW AC charger.

Charging speeds and practicality of shared chargers.

There are two types of ‘chargers’, or more correctly ‘supply equipment’:

  • AC ‘chargers’ enabling to 22kWatt charging speeds, but in practice, only ensuring 7kW charging speed.
    • These enable fully charging a typical EV in 10 hours, and a typical ‘daily charge’ within 5 hours.
  • DC chargers, delivering up to their rated charging speed.
    • These allow for charging an EV in anywhere between 2hours and 15 minutes, depending on the EV and the speed of the charger.
    • DC chargers typically cost around 10x the price of an equivalent AC charger, and more for those actually faster than any AC charger.

When using public chargers, it normally costs 2x to 3x as much to charge at a rapid high speed DC charger, but when in a hurry on the rare occasions most people use these. Someone has to recover the cost of the high-speed charger, which is why rapid charging is more expensive. Over 80% of all charging happens at home, and a significant part of the remaining 20% on other low speed AC chargers, mostly because people do not want 2x to 3x higher ‘fuel bills’. You get what you pay for, and charging speed comes at a price.

While almost all AC chargers, outside North America and Japan, can charge at 22kW, very few, mostly very expensive, EVs can charge any faster than 11kW when on AC, and a significant number of EV has a maximum of 7kW AC charging. AC chargers are most designed for charging individual vehicles, at home overnight.

There are really two ways to share: either people do shorter charge each day, or get despite that this will shorten battery life, wait until it is time for a full charge and plug in for the full evening.

For full charge, EVs would need between 4 and 10 hours.

For a daily top-up of charge, times could be reduced to anywhere between 0 and 5 hours, as there will be days when some people do not use their car at all. However, it could reach the point where people feel the need to schedule charging before using their car, as the time needed to recharge after driving will vary depending on the trip.

Realistically, even 2 cars sharing an AC charger requires either those people collaborating or being people who drive far less than the national average. The calculation above suggests that one shared 22kW AC charger per 6 apartments would be possible from an electrical power perspective, but this could be increased to one every two apartments be limiting the chargers to 7kW, which is the maximum that some cars can accept from AC charging anyway, but at this point it is a very different solution and has moved closer to each person having their own charger.

The biggest hope for such a system working beyond two EVs per shared charger, would rely on most residents driving much less than the national average, mostly use public transport, are shift workers or mostly work from home. Given that apartment complexes are high density living, there will be cases where most tenants rarely dive.

But even in locations where people rarely drive, sharing chargers could at most support 4 EVs per AC charger, and even then, these people are accepting a system able to meet the needs of people who own EVs but rarely use them.

Overall, sharing chargers can only work for owners until there are around residents with 2 EVs per charger, and even, that requires the sacrifice of visitor parking.

The other alternative is to give up on using the chargers for residents, and convert the visitor parking spaces into public EV, but sharing revenue with a charging network operator.

What to look for and what to look out with billing systems and shared chargers.

With the chargers shared, there is no escaping the need for a billing system to record who used what electricity that must be paid for to an account of either a 3rd party billing operator, or an account in the name of the apartment complex itself.

If the account will be in the name of the apartment complex, then what is required is to ensure the cost of operating the billing system is acceptable. Since there are already fees to be paid by apartments owners for upkeep of shared costs, account keeping provides no new risks provided the scheme is limited to residents. Another approach is to limit the scheme to those who have paid a deposit, effectively making access to the chargers ‘pre-paid’.

Where a third party offers to manage the electricity account for the chargers, the concern becomes ensuring the cost of the electricity for charging is not effectively making the chargers simply an extension of a public charger network operated by the installer of the chargers.

What is needed to ensure a shared-charger system works for residents owning EVs?

The two big issues become:

  • Can a resident depend on a charger being available when they need one?
  • Will charging using the shared charger be cost effective?

Unless there is confidence both of these conditions would be met, the process of installing the chargers is hard to justify.

Even before there are more EVs than chargers, it can be difficult to be sure EV charging bays remain available, as visitor spaces in many apartment complexes are often all occupied, and the reality is that people needing a visitor space would likely use a charging bay if no other space were available. There is also ‘ICEing’, or people intentionally parking in an EV charging bay with an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle, even when other spaces are available, and people who are charging may not move their car immediately charging is complete.

Trying to make a roster for who charges when and enforcing such a roster could be highly problematic is also a huge problem.

Then there is the potential problem that recovering the cost of managing the system making could make charging using these allocated charging bays, unappealing even when the bays are available.

In the end, allocating charging bays in the common visitor parking areas may be best considered as a facility for visitors, with residents needing a better solution.

Who pays, given not everyone would be able to use the shared bays?

Consider an apartment complex of 50 apartments in a low EV adoption rate such as Australia, where for the next few years following 2022, perhaps 1 resident each year 1 might move from an ICEV to an EV. If two charging spaces are installed, then during the first year when there is one EV owner, everything should work very well. During the second year two EV owners have potentially the full benefit of home charging, and in the 3rd and 4th year, there would on this schedule be 3 and 4 people respectively sharing the two chargers each year. By the 5th year, EV adoption would have most likely increased, and 2 chargers would most likely become unworkable as a solution.

This would mean this type of approach would have provide a solution for approximately 4 from 50 apartments, or 8%, for average of around 3 years.

This raises the question as to whether implementing such a solution from common funds, rather than it being specifically funded by the relevant apartments, would be fair.

Yes, these solutions typically provide faster chargers than an individual would need for themselves, but in practice, imagine arriving home, and the charging bay is in use. Then a system to queue becomes required. For several people to charge during the night at each charger, it would require people to wake to an alarm when it is their turn, then wake to another alarms when their turn finishes. A high speed 350kW fast charger could be workable to provide charge for multiple people, but would be prohibitively expensive, and would require either a special power supply, or an on-site battery to provide the necessary electrical power. There is a reason electricity from commercial DC rapid charger cost 2x to 3x what normal home electricity costs.

Overall, for an apartments complex with 100 apartments, having 2 designated EV charging space that are shared, could work while a maximum of 5 apartment residents has an EV. Just 1 or 2 more, and the whole system will fail, and plans are eventually everyone will have an EV.

These systems appeal to committees or managing agents who do not own EVs and choose infrastructure on the basis only a small percentage of people will ever own EVs.

The best solution: Enable residents to charge at their own car spaces.

What should be the sales pitch.

Unfortunately, this optimum solution usually does not provide any supplier with sufficient profits for any suppliers to conduct sales campaigns, the key reasons this solution makes sense over converting visitor spaces or a number of common area parking spaces are:

  • With most countries set to end sales internal combustion engine vehicles by around 2035, a plan that allows for a future where most resident vehicles will become EVs makes sense.
  • Shuffling many cars in and out of charging bays like at a gas station is impractical for EVs with AC charging times of several hours and charging at each car space is the only viable solution.
  • It takes no more total power to charge at individual parking spaces that to try and charge all a small number of dedicated charging spaces and requires less parking spaces.
  • Charing at individual spaces allows for charging equipment as low in price as US$200.
  • Billing system providers can still offer to manage the billing for use the chargers, making the solution hassle free, in cases where it is not already hassle free.

EVs are now inevitable: New internal combustion engine vehicle sales will end.

Volvo has announced an end to sales of ICE vehicles in 2030 globally, and in Australia by 2026. Mercedes will introduce its last new internal combustion model in 2023, and with the Tesla Model Y the most popular new car in Europe in September 2022, out selling all internal combustion models, the pressure is on others to follow.

There will still be internal combustion cars for decades, and while there are even EV Utes (pickups) in the US, China and New Zealand, it is still early days in Australia and other markets, and there are not enough competitively priced EVs yet.

It is not like all resident vehicles will suddenly become EVs, but over time it will happen. Apartment complexes that cannot offer a solution will over time see values fall, and one or two visitor car spaces with chargers will likely end up being wasted money.

Shuffling cars in and out of charging bays is impractical.

Given that charging available in apartments takes hours to add meaningful charge, image the problem of people trying to work to a roster or other system of shuffling EVs between shared charging bays day and night.

There is enough power to meet everyone’s EV charge needs EV overnight, but it is not instant.

A key point is that ability to FULLY charge every night is not complete overkill and unnecessary.

While the fastest AC charger charge a typical EV 3x faster than a 220–240volt 12-15amp charging cable, that only means 3 vehicles could be charger in the same time period, provided each person is waiting ready to swap as soon as the previous person is finished, and no one has an EV that only charges as 7kW.

Overall, the limit to how fast everyone can charge is determined by the rate of power available to the apartment complex. Whether using fewer faster chargers, or more slower chargers will achieve the rend result at the same time. In fact, since swapping who will wastes time, 3x as many people charging on chargers at 1/3rd the speed will get a result faster, and in the evet of a power failure leave everyone partially charged rather than so people with no charge at all.

The limiting factor is total power for charging available through the supply, and there is no solution to charging every car at once in 10 or 15 minutes given the constraints on available power.

The 3.6kW per car charging limit is only a worst case, and all needs can be met.

The section above on what power can be assumed to be available, and what is required, concluded that it should be expected that every apartment complex should be able to support charging at a rate equivalent to 3.6kW per apartment, whether that is every car charging at 3.6kW, every second car charging 7.2kW or every 10th car charging at 36kW.

It is typical to only to only need to add 60km, or 37 miles, of range per day, and the 3.6kW charging rate over 8 hours provides more than double that amount of range. Still, there could be exceptions. A people who needs to spend 3 hours every day commuting at highway speeds, would need more charging, but that is around the limit before they would need to stop and charge during the day while away anyway. People in that situation could contribute a little extra to be able charge at 7.2kW in any case where the 3.6kW limit is deemed to be necessary for most people. In reality, while the real limit would need to be verified by an electrician, in most apartment complexes, it would be found that everyone being able to charge at 7kW, or even 11kW would not be a problem. Mostly overkill, but not a problem.

Individual charging equipment can be very low cost, so one per car space need not be expensive.

Most people I know who own EVs who start with a 1.8kW home charging cable, find that it is all they need. For most people who can charger every night, even a 3.6kW ‘charger’ as described here is more than they need. If the wiring is being specially installed in the car park for apartments, it would be prudent to wire each space for 220-240volts, 13-15amp depending on national standards, but this is still well beyond what most people require.

Billing systems for individual chargers.

This has already been discussed above, with the specifics of using separate billing system when direct billing by the power company is not possible further explored here.

Apartment EV Charging Opponents.

The Oil and Gas Companies.

There are those with compelling motives to want to try and prevent EV charging at apartments from becoming common, and oil and gas companies are high on the list.

There are two main motives:

  • Lack of ability to charge at home is a key reason for people to delay buying an EV, and this helps maintain gasoline/ petrol sales.
  • Oil and gas companies are looking to replace revenues from gasoline / petrol with revenues from becoming an EV charging network operator where possible.

EV Charging Network operators.

EV charging network operators stand to gain more business if people cannot charge at home.

Vehicle manufacturers.

Most legacy brands are not yet making a profit on EVs, and many would like to slow the uptake of EVs, and sales of internal combustion engine vehicles are declining. For example, Ford has stated that profits from internal combustion vehicle sales help fund their move into EVs, yet sales data shows their internal combustion vehicle sales are declining.

Governments.

Consumers save money by charging at home, but so far that is not an election issue, while statistics such as economic activity where high prices can give an illusion of prosperity can strangely win votes. Plus, and there is more party funding available from keeping fossil fuel interests and property developers happy. Promoting more public chargers this allows being seen to support EV adoption, while still keeping fossil fuel companies, and property developers happy.

Property Developers.

Providing for charging EVs would be more work, more planning, and another cost, particularly as any new guidelines would impact projects already well advanced in the planning and approval pipeline.

V2G or Vehicle to Grid: The future?

The webpaper “EV Home Charging and V2G” discusses this topic in detail, but in simple terms, this is the ability of the EV to provide battery storage for either ‘home solar’, or in this case apartment complex solar, or for the grid in general, and unlock significant power cost savings.

Despite all the logic, and potential economic savings at a society level, there is no certainty V2G will happen. It won’t if oil and gas companies get their way, and governments could be persuaded that higher energy prices can benefit economic activity, at least until customers find an alternative or business customers fail.

To provide for the hopefully likely situation where V2G is the future, each car space needs the potential to be independently of other car spaces either consume or provide power. This increases the case for a separate power connection to each space, which also simplifies central metering of individual spaces.

Conclusion.

Getting a sensible solution for EV charging for apartment residents can require a battle. While so few of the decision makers have experience what it is like to live with an EV, it is likely to remain a tough battle that will often be lost, at least until the value of apartments starts to fall as result of the economic consequences for residents.

Updates Log:

  • *2022 Nov 21: Started on V2G.
  • 2022 Nov 15: First cut.

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