December 20, 2022

Top Challenges for EV Owners Living in Multifamily Buildings


4 Min. Read

Electric vehicle (EV) ownership is on the rise and electrification is following suit. While many EV owners may still find themselves wondering where they will find consistent charging for their vehicles, renters, especially those in multifamily buildings, often find that question hard to answer.

At-home charging provides a convenient solution for many EV owners but can be a more complicated issue for tenants. These renters often rely on ownership and property management to provide charging stations in multifamily buildings. While these charging stations serve as an added amenity for renters, they also give the building owner the opportunity for an added revenue source. Additionally, building owners can use multifamily charging solutions as an opportunity to embrace innovation, decrease their carbon footprint, and earn government and utility incentives.

The Challenges of Charging

EV chargers fall into three different levels with various pros and cons. For renters, understanding their community’s charging situation is vital before making an EV purchase. Although public charging is becoming increasingly available, it is not yet a realistic or readily available option for many drivers. Access to at-home charging is critical in making EV ownership easy and reducing range anxiety for drivers. EV owners have two options when it comes to at-home chargers: Level 1 and Level 2 chargers. Level 3 chargers, while great for rapid charging, are not sustainable for daily charging and require significantly more power to operate.

Level 1 Chargers

These chargers are very flexible since they can be plugged into any standard 110-volt wall plug, including those typically found in a garage or on a patio. Level 1 chargers allow EVs to be charged just about anywhere, as wall plugs are often easy to access and readily available. The downside of these chargers is their slow speed, taking 40-50 hours to charge a vehicle from empty. The slow charging speed of Level 1 chargers is a drawback for many EV drivers and is a barrier to faster EV adoption, especially for owners who have to commute daily and regularly rely on the full range of their vehicles.

Level 2 Chargers

These chargers require specialized 240-volt wall plugs, similar to the ones used by electric dryers or electric cooktops but rated for higher, continuous energy flow. Level 2 chargers are the best option for at-home charging and can deliver significantly more power to an EV, reaching up to 20 miles per hour of charge. Level 2 chargers are a must for many EV owners and make owning an EV easier, however, because of the installation process and potential electrical system upgrades that may be required, building owners can be hesitant to commit to these upgrades.

Public Charger Availability

While public EV charging solutions are increasingly accessible, there are currently not enough of these chargers to support the growing demand of EV owners. Many government funds are being used to make chargers more readily available, but these things take time. Without the ability to charge an EV at home, many owners find EV ownership too burdensome as they cannot be assured of reliable charging options.

The situation is even more challenging for renters, as many tenants feel unwilling to invest in upgrades on a property they do not own. Additionally, building owners can sometimes be unwilling to allow these upgrades. These situations can be difficult to navigate. At this time, only nine states have laws in place that make it illegal to oppose these types of electrification projects. Access to at-home charging will be a must for renters who own EVs until, and even after, public chargers are more readily available.

Multifamily Charging: A Win-Win Scenario

Multifamily building owners have a unique opportunity to use the rise in EV popularity and adoption as a way to drive new revenue and increase the value and appeal of their properties. Electric vehicle sales hit another record high in Q3 of 2022, with more than 200,000 being sold. Combining EV charging with other electrification projects such as solar panels and microgrids brings building owners even more value. This creates a win-win solution to the problem of multifamily charging for building owners and renters alike.

As EV technology continues to improve and regulations tighten, more buyers are likely to switch to electric vehicles and electric vehicles tend to be the most popular in the under-30 age group. That group of people also tend to be the most likely to rent housing. Multifamily building owners are uniquely positioned to make their buildings more attractive to this group by filling a need, all the while increasing revenue through a new source. For multifamily building owners, adding EV charging brings many benefits such as:

  • Property differentiation in competitive rental markets
  • Increased property value
  • New revenue streams that increase cash flow
  • Improved environmental reputation

With government programs pushing the switch to electrification, building owners can use available funding and incentives to assist them with these projects. Subsidies are available in many places to reduce the cost of installing equipment and modifying wiring, and many utilities also provide rebate programs. Increasing access to EV charging solutions benefits both tenants and property owners.

Qmerit: Leaders in Multifamily Charging

Multifamily EV charging stations offer a great way to increase revenue and the marketability of your properties. Finding a reliable company with a proven track record of success and clear accountability can make the process easy, whether you are a property owner looking to install an EV charger or a renter working with your property owner to find a charging solution.

Qmerit is that company.

Trusted by top brands as the leading installer of EV charging stations and solutions in homes and multifamily properties across North America and with years of experience in EV charging, Qmerit is the prime partner for electrification projects. Contact us to learn more about adding multifamily charging to your property, working with your property owner to add an EV charging station to your rental, and get started with your next project today!

Author: Tom Bowen

Tom Bowen

President, Qmerit Solutions and Commercial Electrification