An EV Charger Is a Vital Amenity in the New Housing Market
As more drivers adopt electric vehicles, EV charger installation requests are rising. Multi-family and investment property owners are finding new opportunities to reduce carbon emissions, attract tenants, and increase the value of their properties. If you are looking for ways to make your investment property stand out, here are some things to consider about adding an EV charger to your property.
The Demand for EV Home Charging
Electric vehicle sales are seeing dramatic increases across the country, especially as drivers lament higher gas prices and fear the impacts of climate change. In California, for example, new car registrations for electric cars jumped 68% in 2021 over 2020, and sales are expected to continue as California moves towards its goal of 100% zero-emission sakes by 2035.
As EVs become more commonplace across the country, electric vehicle home charger stations will be in high demand. Charging an EV at home is the most preferred way to keep EVs running, as over 80% of electric vehicle drivers use an electric car home charger, and the number is expected to grow.
According to a study out of the University of California, Berkeley, California, homeowners are three times more likely to own an electric vehicle when compared to renters. The gap is even more prominent across the US, with homeowners being six times more likely to own an EV. The evidence suggests that more renters are not purchasing electric cars because they cannot add an EV charger at home.
Is an EV Charger a Landlord-Tenet Problem?
For a homeowner, electric vehicle charger installation is straightforward. An electrician comes out, performs any necessarily electrical panel upgrades, and installs the EV charger. For renters, this process is not so clear cut. Most renters do not want to make such a significant investment in a property they do not own. The lack of an EV charger at home means many renters do not make the switch to an electric vehicle.
Economists consider this situation as a typical landlord-tenant problem. Landlords tend to underinvest in investments related to energy. What is interesting is that a landlord could make the appropriate electrical infrastructure investments and then increase rent to recoup the costs. To help alleviate the costs, California has set up a $1.4 billion program to help property owners install more charging stations in apartments, condos, and multi-family residences.
Property owners have several things to consider before adding a level 2 home charger to their investment properties.
While every new EV comes with a level 1 charger, using this “mobile charger” is not as straightforward as you might think. Every major EV manufacturer (Tesla, Ford, Nissan, GM, etc.) prohibits charging their vehicles on a shared circuit. That means you cannot just plug your car into any home outlet. More importantly, EV manufacturers also forbid the use of extension cords. These mandates protect the property’s electrical grid, and adding length to the circuit or drawing too much load can overload the grid or create liability risks.
An EV charger should go into its own dedicated circuit, that is, an outlet that goes directly to the electrical panel. If your investment property, like most homes, does not have an accessible, dedicated circuit, you will need to hire an electrician to add one. Otherwise, you risk a renter using their level 1 charger on whichever they choose, which puts your property at risk for damage.
Level 2 EV Charger Locations
If your investment property has a tight parking lot or no parking, adding a level 2 home charger can be an issue. Beyond meeting local parking codes and applicable ADA requirements, you need adequate space to install an EV charger. Depending on your setup, following local codes could result in losing parking spaces.
Setting up electric vehicle home chargers is straightforward if your investment property is a single-family residence, duplex, triplex, etc., where each property has a garage. Each family can have a garage car charger. Setting up charging stations is a little more complicated if your properties do not have individual garages or rely on larger parking lots/garages. Many commercial properties, however, have found that creating dedicated spots in the parking area for EV charging stations works well.
If drivers are expected to share level 2 charging stations, you may need to use equipment that uses a payment system to ensure the electricity usage is paid for fairly.
To handle the requirements of one or more EV home charging systems, your existing electrical panel may need to be updated or replaced. Older panels from Zinsco and Federal Pacific will be replaced entirely, while other panels might need some simple updates. These updates are essential if you want to offer charging options for more than one EV on the property. Properties with higher charging needs may require a service panel with at least 400 amps.
Luckily, load management devices and innovative smart panels offer incredible flexibility. These options can help provide reliable charging without necessarily replacing your entire electrical panel. They work by spreading out how power is distributed, so you never overload your circuits. They can also be programmed to charge during off-peak hours when electricity is less expensive.
Why Bother Adding an Electric Vehicle Charger Stations to Your Investment Properties?
With concerns about updating electrical panels, adapting parking space, and adding dedicated lines, it would be easy to imagine that adding an EV charger to your investment property is not worth the hassle. In reality, it is actually a prudent move.
Here are just some of the benefits to consider:
Improve your property value.
Studies show that homes for sale with a level 2 home charger already installed sell for 13% more than average houses in the same area. In addition, 76% of homes with a level 2 charger not for sale saw an increase in value. Whether you are looking to flip a house, borrow on your equity, or just enjoy rising values in your properties, installing an EV charging station offers an excellent return on investment.
Protect Your Investment
Renters who own EVs are going to find ways to charge their vehicles. They might try to use whichever outlet is closest to where they park, which could damage your electrical grid. Providing access to a dedicated circuit or a more advanced EV charger could save you thousands on future electrical repairs.
Increase Tenant Appeal
As more drivers choose to own electric vehicles, charging stations will be important in their rental decisions. Having an EV charger on site will make your property stick out when compared to other rental options.
Younger professionals entering the housing market are more environmentally conscious than previous generations, which means they will be attracted to a property with environmentally-conscious tech. Your property will especially stand out if there are not many public EV charging stations nearby.
Future-Proof Your Property
The world is going electric. From smart homes to electric cars, the electrification movement is gaining momentum. Making the proper upgrades to the electric panels in your investment properties and adding EV chargers will ensure that your rental unit doesn’t become obsolete to forward-thinking renters.
Help the Environment
Drivers who already have access to an EV charger are more likely to switch to an EV or plug-in hybrid car. By doing your part, you can contribute to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and help others cut back their carbon emissions.
EV Charging Stations Can Pay for Themselves
There are currently several tax incentives and rebates that come with purchasing and installing electric vehicle chargers. The IRS has a program that offers up to a 30% tax credit (up to $30,000) on the cost of commercial EV charging stations. With the current interest in getting more people behind the wheel of an EV, these programs are likely to continue.
As the property owner, you also have options for paying for the electricity from a charging station. You can provide charging privileges to residents only and even charge for the service. For example, you could include a flat monthly fee for access to the charging station or use a metered system when tenants only pay for the power they use. You can also simply raise the rent to help cover the cost of installation and usage.
Partner Your EV Home Charging Experts
If you are considering adding an EV charger to one or more of your investment properties in Gilroy, CA, or the Santa Clary Valley, call Watson’s Charging Stations and Electric for a free consultation. We can handle all your electric needs, from installing new charging systems to updating your old electrical panel. Take the next step towards improving and future-proofing your property, and give us a call today.