Should Your Board Install Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Your NYC Condo Building?

Electric vehicle purchases are on the rise. Their impact on the environment, plus a variety of rebates and incentives, makes them appealing, especially for the shorter drives most people make within the city. But where should people be able to charge their electric vehicles? Should you and your fellow Board members consider providing electric vehicle charging stations to your residents?

Increased Need for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, electric vehicle purchases rose more than 30% in 2020. Analytics firm Blastpoint is projecting a 71% increase for 2021, despite significantly less car use with people working from home and restricting travel. Blastpoint’s report speculates that shorter drive times increased the appeal of electric vehicles, which are more limited in range than hybrid or traditional engine cars.

With that increase in sales came an explosion in the building of public charging stations, which increased by 25%, or 6,000 new stations, in the same time. Americans have access to more than 35,000 charging stations coast-to-coast. But, according to the report, most of those charging stations are found at stores, gas stations, hotels and offices.

As manufacturers shift to move electric vehicle production, buildings are going to have to adapt, says Matt Resnick, director of project management at AKAM. General Motors, for example, has recently pledged to stop making passenger vehicles with gasoline engines by 2035. Simple logistics are driving a lot of the decisions around EV charging stations in NYC condo buildings, Resnick explains. “A lot of buildings in New York City simply don’t have parking garages or lots,” he says. “What’s the solution? Maybe we’ll see charging stations on the streets along with parking meters in areas where there’s little other parking opportunity for EV’s to charge.”

Options for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in NYC Condo Buildings

Your condo building can install different kinds of charging stations that provide different speeds of charging for electric vehicles, or EVs.

  • Level 1 is a basic outlet, like plugging a car into an outlet in your home garage.
  • Level 2 is the type most commonly being installed in condominium garages and public spaces. They charge more rapidly than Level 1 but aren’t as fast as the
  • Level 3, which is direct current and what you might see at a Tesla charging station or similar large charging facility.

For New York City’s condo Board members, there are several questions to answer when considering whether or not you install EV charging stations for your residents.

  1. Should your charging stations be operated by the building or a third-party vendor? If the building is large enough, and the charging stations will be busy enough, a third-party vendor may be willing to manage user charges, with a potential revenue share going to the association. They may accept all major credit cards or have their own special payment card that users reload as needed.

    If the building decides to take on the expense, the stations could be billed by use, similarly to the way a third-party vendor would handle it. They might choose to have residential users sign up and be billed a flat monthly rate. Some months, the user may come out ahead in a flat fee arrangement, but the expectation is that it will balance out over time.

    A flat fee arrangement is best if the stations are not available to anyone but building residents; it’s important to remember that adding stations to the parking garage might require shuffling of parking spaces within the garage.

    Either way, Resnick notes that there may be a small revenue opportunity for your building if you install EV charging stations.

  2. Are there subsidies for installing charging stations? New York has extensive state-wide subsidies that can benefit your building. “If your building has a semi-private garage with some parking spaces available to the public, you can get charging stations installed for very little,” Resnick explains. “Private garages attached to buildings can get about 50% of the costs covered. These programs are new, but we are seeing buildings expressing interest in the available subsidies.”

    The Charge Ready NY program is run by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. “Charge Ready NY offers public and private organizations that install Level 2 EV charging stations at public parking facilities, workplaces, and multifamily apartment buildings rebates of $4,000 per charging port they install, a significant savings of 30% to 80%, depending on station and installation costs. Any public or private entity, such as municipalities, for-profit companies, and non-profit organizations, are eligible.”

    ConEdison also has a subsidy program that developers, equipment owners, site hosts, customers and approved contractors can all apply for. The EV Make-Ready Program provides those incentives for installation of electric infrastructure to support the installation of EV chargers in the state. Boards interested in applying for the programs may get more information and apply at ConEdison’s website.

  3. Should your electric vehicle charging stations be available to building guests? Some buildings choose to make EV charging available to all building guests; others limit it to residents. That largely depends on the logistics and space available, including opportunities to retrofit that space. You certainly don’t want to take a limited resource from your residents in favor of allowing guests to use it.

Are EV charging stations going to become an important amenity?

As Resnick said, electric vehicle manufacture is only going to increase as people search for cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Even if your building doesn’t have a parking facility, your Board may be able to work with the owners of whatever facility you do use to provide that benefit to your residents. Savvy Boards are looking to that future of EV’s and planning to capitalize on that highly desired charging station amenity.

Capital projects, including installation of electric vehicle charging stations, require expertise and knowledge to execute successfully. To learn how a professional property management partner can help your condo Board manage any capital improvement project, contact AKAM today.

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