Sales of electric vehicles currently represent only about three percent of the new car market. But that’s about to skyrocket. Nearly every major automaker is expected to introduce several new and exciting electric models to the market over the next few years. This is going to result in a significant increase in EV ownership across the US. Owners and managers of multifamily communities need to get ready: Bloomberg New Energy Foundation forecasts that EVs will steadily rise in the next two decades, accounting for 58 percent of global new car sales by 2040 and property owners and managers are just one out of many groups that will need to prepare themselves for this change.
While the lion’s share of past EV sales were attributed to private homeowners, the next big wave of EV adoption is expected among residents of condos, apartment dwellers, homeowner associations, and other multifamily communities. Here are the five main reasons why multifamily complexes need to take action now and install an electric vehicle charging system to prepare themselves for the evolving EV landscape.
1. To attract the most desirable residents
A 2020 National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) revealed that nearly three-quarters of apartment renters are either “interested or would not rent without” properties with green initiatives. This means renters are looking for an apartment community that provides electric vehicle chargers, charging equipment, and special parking for EV owners. An earlier study, in 2016, by Multifamily Executive magazine, showed that 15% of renters said they planned to purchase an electric vehicle in the next five years and that number has since grown.
EV owners are high-income earners. The Q4 2019 Experian Automotive Quarterly Briefing reported that 90 percent of EV buyers have household earnings above $250,000 per year. More than 70 percent are identified as married, and more than 80 percent have college or postgraduate degrees. The absence of EV charging stations in multifamily communities could potentially turn off this coveted demographic at the very beginning of their housing search.
The positive impact of electric vehicles is not an abstract concept. Emission and noise-free EVs make underground and enclosed parking structures much more pleasant and the displacement of fossil fuels creates an immediate bonus for the community. As multifamily communities offer amenities like rooftop decks, gyms, outdoor kitchens, and gardens in order to attract potential residents, the addition of EV charging stations is a no-brainer.
2. EV charging is a matter of law
A growing number of states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New York, and Oregon, have begun to adopt “Right to Charge” laws. California, the largest EV market in the United States, requires that a portion of parking areas of multi-use dwellings install EV charge ports.
Cities are rapidly implementing EV-oriented building codes. New York and San Francisco require buildings undergoing renovations to include upgrades to accommodate public charging stations. In Vancouver, city officials raised the existing right to charge regulation to 20 percent of parking spots in multifamily buildings. Since 2019, 100 percent of parking spots need to be equipped with an electrical outlet capable of providing Level 2,240-volt EV charging or higher.
The list of cities that have EV-friendly municipal building codes, including Atlanta, Denver, Palo Alto, and Seattle, will continue to grow. In January 2020, the International Code Council (ICC) approved and distributed nationwide best practices and standards for public charging stations. The ICC says there will need to be 9.6 million new EV charging ports by 2030, with nearly 80% located in single and multifamily residential buildings.