Luxury Amenity or Necessity?

Most property managers view electric vehicle charging as a luxury amenity. But rapid EV adoption is quickly changing the narrative. Here’s how one manager could have prevented $3M from literally walking off his property.

Some see an image of EV charging. Looks like money to me. Image: RealPage

Have you ever entered the market for a new home? Can you recall your “must-haves”?

Open floorplan? Spacious master bathroom? Laundry chute? (My personal favorite, but ya don’t see many these days!)

Last week, a property manager of an 80+ unit condo association in the San Francisco Bay Area reached out to me.

“Alex, we need to offer EV charging for our homeowners in our building’s parking garage. Can you help us?”

Hearing the pain in his voice, I asked about the urgency of the situation.

Without skipping a beat he replied. “In the last three months alone, we’ve lost three prospective homeowners, all for the same reason.” “Go on…”, I encouraged.

“Three separate realtors approached us to submit an offer on behalf of their clients. But each walked away after hearing my response.

“What was the question?”, I followed.

They all asked, “Does your building have EV charging?”

He continued. “One prospective buyer purchased an open unit across the street! The differentiator? That property offers on-site EV charging.”

The price tag on that unit? A cool $1.1 million.

House Majority

The property manager continued, “And it’s not only about prospective buyers. In a recent homeowner survey 25 of the 80 owners expressed an immediate need for EV charging today. Another 20 expressed a “down-the-road” interest.”

The average two-bedroom, two-bath unit this property manager oversees sells north of $1M. Watching $3M in sales walk-off of his property in a few months can prove a powerful motivator.

The manager confided, “It’s our job to stay ahead of the curve and keep residents happy. We can’t afford to risk losing out because we’re lacking EV charging.”

Sign of the Times

Surely that’s an extreme example. Right?

In California, a state boasting some of the highest gasoline prices in the nation (see my post on the cost of EV ownership), EV charging is no longer a luxury amenity for wealthy homeowners in affluent cities.

For regular folk renting in a multi-unit dwelling (like me), access to domestic charging represents an urgent need. That’s why it’s a leading barrier to widespread EV adoption.

Industry experts tell us that EV adoption is reaching a breakthrough point.

Charging Forward

To anyone who watched Super Bowl LVI commercials this month, you may have noticed something. The era of electric vehicles is already here.

Analysts predict that by 2030, one in four cars purchased in the US will be electric. You may be aware of Tesla. But even automakers like GM and Ford announced plans to only manufacture EVs for passenger transport by 2035.

You likely already know a few EV drivers. Maybe you are one.

Building Our Future

For new buildings, the cost of adding EV charging stations is often negligible when wrapped into the total project cost. Building codes in California now require that all new buildings include electrical infrastructure to support EV charging, even if the owner isn’t ready to install the stations yet.

Adding EV charging to existing buildings gets trickier. You’ll need to check the site’s existing electric capacity, measure the distance from the property’s electrical room to the parking area, and consider how to spread capital project costs across residents.

3 Million Reasons Why

If you’re a property owner, a resident, or an EV driver living in a multi-family property, why not get ahead of the curve? It’s only a matter of time before you’ll have a conversation about EV charging like I did this week.

EV charging is a valuable amenity and future necessity. If done correctly, it can add property value and attract desirable tenants. And who doesn’t want to live next to an EV nerd, like me?!

And if cost is a barrier, there’s good news. Many California utilities and planning agencies are now offering generous incentives for EV charging stations at new and existing multi-family properties.

It’s never the wrong time to begin preparing your property for the future. Or, in the case of my property manager friend, does $3M need to walk out of your door before you’re ready to act? (We hope not!)

Give your residents even more reasons to come home, and stay.

Learn More

I’m working alongside a talented team to build a future of widespread EV adoption supported by convenient smart-charging solutions. Sorry, we don’t do smart laundry chutes (yet!)

If you’re considering large-scale EV charging solutions powered with renewables, let’s see if I can help. You can reach me at alex.kaufman@powerflex.com.

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