The Shortcomings of EV Charging at Multi-Unit Dwellings – A Problem with a Solution

Developers of multi-unit dwellings need to look at the trends of the electrical vehicle (EV) marketplace. With EVs on the rise, these developers need to think about meeting the growing adoption of electric vehicles. Younger consumers are buying EVs, and it’s because of the benefits of decreased localized pollution from eliminated tail-pipe emissions, creating healthier and happier communities, and not having to pay for gas week after week, month after month.

Increased adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) goes hand-in-hand with charging accessibility. Currently, over 80% of electric vehicle owners charge at home. However, a problem arises with multi-unit dwellings (MUD). The majority of these multi-unit residents are forced to park on the street, lots or parking garages with no access to a regular 120-volt outlet or a dedicated charging station.

Columbus is combatting this through the encouragement of workplaces and local government supporting our Smart City initiative (now called Smart Columbus). With this program, over 2,000 public charging stations (EVSE) are planned to be deployed over the next half-decade. However, even with increased access to this type of charging, mass adoption at multi-family residences is limited without access to charging at the home.

More than 40% of Columbus' population live in multi-unit dwellings. As the Columbus metropolitan population continues to grow, and more apartment and condo complexes are available, this number is only going to rise. For this reason alone, it is crucial that new MUD developments begin incorporating EVSE infrastructure into their blueprints

There are variety of benefits for why a developer should include EV charging access in their building designs. These investments show that the developer cares about “greener” technologies. This is also an added amenity that will be sure to drive eco-minded tenants to these places. As EV sales continue to grow, with 2016 up 37% compared the year prior, the demand for MUD home charging will be a hole in the market that needs filled.

A great example of where these technologies could potentially have huge impact is with the newly announced North Market Development. The president of the company responsible for its design and construction, Mark Wood, stated “This is an opportunity to be a landmark.” With projections for the 35-story building to contain space for a vibrant living community, restaurants and stores, and one-of-a-kind atrium connecting to the North Market, this may not be an exaggeration. But to truly be historic, the developers should look to use this as an opportunity to be a progressive site. The inclusion of EVSE for the building’s residents and patrons would not only make good business sense, but the location and building could be a model for future development in Columbus and around the state.

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