As electric vehicles (EVs) become increasingly popular, more and more drivers are looking for convenient ways to charge their cars. However, finding a place to charge an EV can be challenging for those living in condominiums and apartment buildings. Fortunately, there are great EV chargers available for condos and apartments. This article highlights the most important things to consider when choosing the best EV charging stations for condos and apartments.
Which type of EV Charging Station is best for condos and apartments?
There are three main types of EV charging stations in the market:
- Level 1 charging: Uses a standard 120-volt outlet to power the car. It is the slowest option adding 3-5 miles of range per hour to the vehicle. Level 1 chargers typically can not connect to a condo EV charging management system. This means their energy usage can not be regulated or tracked for billing purposes.
- Level 2 charging: This charger can provide up to 30 miles per hour to the car. It requires professional installation.
- DC fast charging (Level 3): This is the quickest type of charging in public charging stations. It can charge an EV to 80% capacity in as little as 30 minutes. However, it costs tens of thousands of dollars and uses more energy than most condo parking lots have.
Level 2 chargers are the best EV charging stations for condos and apartments, providing the best charging speed and cost combination.
What about the Tesla charger?
Technically, the Tesla wall charger is a level 2 charger. However, it is an inferior choice for condo or apartment charging due to the following reasons:
- It does not provide any standard connectivity to EV charging management systems
- It does not support billing and energy reimbursement when connected to the shared electrical infrastructure.
- It does not support load management which is critical when multiple cards are connected to the same building infrastructure. Challenges of Implementing Condo EV Charging
Even if you own a Tesla, your best bet for condominium charging would be a standard smart level-2 charger.
Smart vs. dumb chargers
A smart EV charger has additional features and capabilities beyond providing power to charge an electric vehicle. These other features enable the charger to communicate with a charger management system, providing a more convenient, efficient, and reliable charging experience.
Some of the features of a smart EV charger include:
- Connectivity: A smart EV charger can be connected to the internet, allowing it to be controlled and monitored remotely.
- Load management: A smart EV charger can adjust the charging rate based on the overall demand for electricity in the parking lot, preventing the electrical infrastructure from becoming overloaded.
- Dynamic pricing: Smart EV chargers can adjust the charging rate based on the current electricity price, ensuring you always get the best deal.
- Payment integration: Smart EV chargers can integrate with payment systems, making paying for your charging sessions easy.
On the other hand, a dumb charger, also known as a basic charger, is a charger that only provides power to charge an electric vehicle without any additional features or capabilities, making it a poor choice for apartment and condo charging.
The importance of interoperability
Unlike in a private home, an EV charger installed in a condo or apartment garage must “play nice” with all other garage chargers to protect the building’s electrical infrastructure. Chargers installed today need to continue to operate in harmony with future charging stations of different brands or models installed in the future.
OCPP, or Open Charge Point Protocol, is an open standard for charger interoperability. OCPP compliance ensures that the charger can communicate with any other OCPP-compliant charger or management system, regardless of the manufacturer. Using compliant chargers, buildings can choose the best hardware and software for their needs without being locked into a single vendor’s proprietary solution. They can mix and match components from different vendors and still have a seamless and interoperable charging network.
Installing EV charging stations in your condominium can offer many benefits, including promoting sustainable transportation, attracting eco-conscious residents, and increasing property value. While some challenges are involved in installing EV charging, solutions are available to help overcome them. By working with an experienced EV charging provider and exploring financing options, you can create a more sustainable and attractive living environment for your residents.
Wevo Energy is a leading provider of software solutions for smart EV charging. We provide a software platform that supports every scenario: apartment complexes, workplaces, fleets, destination, and public charging.