Utilities estimate that 80-90 percent of PEV charging occurs at the home, of which the majority are single family dwellings. In many, cases the charging equipment consists of a simple 120V outlet (Level 1 Charger). Much less progress has been made in making electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) available for condominiums, apartments, and mobile homes referred to as Multi-unit Dwellings (MuDs).
The linked document provides infrastructure and operations issues specific to MuDs. The intent is to help all involved from owners, property managers, home owner associations (HOA), tenants, contractors and more understand the requirements and issues involved in providing EVSEs.
The above graph gives an informative multi color outline of the steps and roles of the tenant/unit owner (green), property manager/owner (blue), electrician (orange), and utility (purple) .
Understanding Charging Requirements
Understanding the miles of range per hours of charge will help in determining what type of EVSE will be required. Most commutes of 50 miles per day or less can be handled by a Level 1 charger. The electrical requirements and capabilities go up from here as seen in the left table.
Building Architecture and Physical Electrical Design
Garden Apartments, Low Rise Condominiums, and Mobile Homes
The primary issue with garden apartments, low rise condominiums, and mobile homes is that the electrical service is not always located near the desire parking area.
If installation involves, trenching and excavation of concrete and asphalt, the construction costs could exceed the cost of the EVSE . To minimize these cost, the focus should be on placing the EVSE as close to the electrical service as possible.
Most garages have limited power near the deeded or assigned parking. Electrical loads in these structures were generally designed for lighting and elevators. Electrical upgrades will require coordination of the electrical contractor with the local utility. Boring the garage walls and parking decks are costly and will require services of a structural engineer. On the up side, low-cost surface-mounted conduit is generally accepted in garages.
Mid- and High-rise Apartments or Condominiums Without Parking Structures
When MuDs do not have parking structures or assigned parking then installation of an EVSE and or ownership of a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) can be a challenge.
Parking Ownership Models
Assigned Parking: Most MuDs have assigned parking as well as a common area parking for guests and other needs. The key is always getting the EVSE near the electrical service. Whether this entails swapping of parking spaces which often are the choice locations, or installing the EVSE in a more remote common area, long term planning can help make this transition easier.
Common Area Parking: A solution can often be made with the compromise of installing an EVSE in a common area. If you are the owner of a PEV and can't see why someone will not give up their choice spot, then empathize by giving up yours. When retrofitting an existing structure, convenience and cost to the electrical service must always be considered.
Low Cost - High Cost Reminders
The above diagram gives a really quick breakdown of cost associated with multi-unit dwellings.
A Level 1 (120V) EVSE near and existing meter, using existing wiring, that has TOU rates is going to be an easier sale.
A Communicating Level 2 charger in a specialized location, assigned to an independent meter and requires commercial rates is going to be at the other end of the cost spectrum.
These are the technical issues, but do not underestimate the human factors involved in getting individuals to swap parking spaces or educating HOAs on the cost and process involved. The key is education. Be willing to negotiate and compromise with a dose of patience.