November 8, 2022

Innovations in Electric Vehicle Charging for Multifamily Dwellings


6 Min. Read

The current administration is investing in constructing a nationwide charging network. However, at-home charging will likely remain a more convenient option for many electric vehicle (EV) drivers. There is an opportunity for multifamily dwellings to stand out and prepare for the future of electrification by embracing the latest innovations in EV charging.

Inevitable need

EV popularity is rapidly growing. The number of people living in multi-unit dwellings who drive EVs is growing as well, especially as many automakers have said they plan to stop making gas-powered cars. This is significant for property owners and it highlights an increasing need to add charging stations for residents and tenants, given that approximately 71% of people prefer charging at home and 80% of EV charging occurs at home.

Renters occupy roughly 44.2 million housing units in the United States. Property owners and HOAs need to recognize that EV chargers will soon become a must-have amenity for buildings with parking lots. Adding charging stations to rental and housing properties now gives a significant marketing advantage to building owners who want to be ahead of the curve and use them as an amenity to attract (or retain) tenants.

Capitalizing on incentives

EV charger installation is becoming even more affordable, thanks to federal funding, grants, reduced electric rates, and other state or local incentives. The federal government is providing funds for and encouraging individual states and municipalities to implement programs, legislation, and financial incentives to support this energy transition to greater electrification. Several states already require charging spots in new buildings and offer financial help to assist in adding them to a property. Here are some examples of efforts:

  • In California, at least 3% of all new parking spaces must be equipped for charging EVs. Some jurisdictions have set an even higher requirement for parking areas. The state has set up rebates for property owners from $3,500 to $6,000 for each commercial-grade Level 2 EV charger they install. Higher rebates are available for those who plan to install them in disadvantaged areas. Additionally, there are higher rebates for Level 3 or DC chargers. It’s important to note that not every neighborhood or building can accommodate the DC load. More information is available at
  • Smart Columbus is a regional Ohio rebate program to support adding EV charging stations at multi-unit dwellings. The funding is for 90 Level 2 charging ports at MUDs as part of the Smart Columbus Electrification. At this time, 11 sites supporting 48 Level 2 charging ports have been approved.
  • The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act of Illinois offers rebates for installing charging stations at commercial and residential properties.

The Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center lists a variety of available incentives at federal, state, local, and utility-based levels.

ROI or turnkey options

There are other key considerations to keep in mind outside of evaluating methods to finance installation for your EV chargers. The physical site and space limitations of your property will likely dictate whether you can set up personal charging stations in assigned spots or encourage residents to share community stations in common areas. Other decision points on the road to an all-electric auto future for multi-unit building owners and HOAs include considering whether to add charging stations for EVs as a free amenity to draw and retain residents, a way to initially recoup costs and eventually garner revenue. A newer turnkey option is to contract with someone else to install, maintain, and profit from the electric auto-charging equipment, much like services providing the same for your laundry room equipment. Let’s look at each option:

  • EV chargers as an amenity Properties that do not offer charging stations already risk losing tenants and positioning, particularly in many communities and upscale or younger markets. EV charger availability is currently a search criterion on some apartment search sites, similar to other amenities or property features such as a heated pool, pet parks, and well-equipped fitness facilities.
  • Recouping costs – Level 2 charging station installation typically costs less than $2,000 per port but can be much higher, depending on the need for electrical system upgrades to support the equipment, grid upgrade costs, any trenching needed, and the actual EV charger equipment. The primary ongoing cost is for the electricity used and any resulting increased demand charges. Property managers often select a networked charging solution that tracks each user’s electricity usage for charging. The price charged is based on the goals of the apartment owner or HOA for recouping installation costs and ongoing maintenance. Some property managers cover any ongoing network operation and data fees.
  • Realizing ongoing earnings – Your building’s EV charging stations will not just pay for themselves but will also provide an additional income stream. Most buildings that have installed EV chargers factor in operating costs and a profit margin in what residents pay to use the charging station. Presently, some Southern California buildings charge between $0.15 and $0.25 per kilowatt. The actual price depends upon the cost of electricity at that time of day but also includes the amount added as revenue for the building, just like at commercial EV charging outlets. Your tenants gain the convenience of charging at home while still achieving a far lower operating cost for driving an EV than a gas-powered car.

Other things to consider

Taking advantage of other sources of electricity can help keep costs per kWh down and ensure your building is resilient to grid disruptions. As more people work from home, they need reliable power throughout the day. There are some innovations here that building owners and boards should be aware of and potentially employ:

  • Solar panels cut electricity costs and allow tenants to charge an EV independent of the grid. This helps keep charging costs down, particularly for midday usage when prices would normally be higher.
  • Battery storage banks also make it possible to charge an EV independently from the grid. Essentially, you store electricity in off-peak times to use during peak times or an outage.
  • Some EVs have bidirectional charging capabilities and can be used as mobile battery storage and a power source. This provides grid resilience and better demand-response capabilities as needed. A multifamily building can become a provider of electricity during peak hours with bidirectional charging from EVs, similar to selling solar power you generate to the grid.

Help make plans for your building

The fact that gasoline vehicles are being phased out is undeniable. Considering that the average vehicle on American roads today is over 12 years old, it will take at least a couple of decades before we can expect to see a full electric transition. Forward-thinking owners and governing boards of multifamily dwellings need to recognize the inevitability of electrification and decide if they want to add chargers to attract that tenant market and prepare for an electric future.

Adding charging stations for EVs is a great way to increase your property’s revenue and marketability. Having a company with a track record for success in EV charging implementation can keep your project on track and within budget, ensuring the installation process is as seamless as possible. Qmerit is that company.

Qmerit is the leading installer of charging stations in homes and multifamily properties in the U.S. and is trusted by top brands nationwide. With vast experience in EV charging and a proven track record of success, Qmerit will help with your electric transition from start to finish. Contact us to navigate your multifamily project and enjoy the benefits of electrification.

Author: Tom Bowen

Tom Bowen

President, Qmerit Solutions and Commercial Electrification