By on April 15, 2015

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Live in a condo or an apartment and would drive a PHEV or an EV if only you could charge it? Charging-station producer ChargePoint might have the solution.

The company’s Multifamily Home Service aims to bring charging stations to condominiums and apartment buildings that currently lack the facilities to charge a tenant’s electrified vehicle of choice. Property owners would foot the bill for installation of ChargePoint’s Level 2 charging station, as well as set the price for charging. In turn, the company will bill the tenants who subscribe a one-time activation fee and a monthly subscription fee; the tenant can also pay the property owner for charging via their ChargePoint account.

Finally, as the subscription service would last as long as the tenant resides in the building on a month-to-month basis, the service can be deactivated once the tenant moves out or replaces their electrified ride for one that doesn’t require a plug, and can be reactivated when a new tenant with a plug-in vehicle moves into the building.

As for how much it would cost to wire a parking stall for the service, or how much owners could charge for electricity, ChargePoint did not explain at this time.

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17 Comments on “ChargePoint Bringing Charging To Condos, Apartments With New Service...”


  • avatar

    The billing system described here could also be used for multi tenant office buildings.

    Good to see solutions being introduced that will overcome landlord irrational fears of losing their shirt by offering EV charging.

  • avatar
    sproc

    This is an inevitable and sensible market solution. I just wonder if the 2nd or 3rd waves of EV adoption will be impacted once “free” charging becomes rare.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    At first this seems like a good idea, but I shudder to think of how high the fees will actually be.

    I can operate the Leaf for $20/month, and I installed an L2 charger myself for about $850 in parts. This multi-party billing scheme will probably run 2-3X that for the consumer, so that buying an EV becomes even less attractive.

    • 0 avatar

      The landlord will set the fees. So yes I also anticipate sky high fees since the Landlords will apply Gasoline mentality to the pricing for a “fill up”. But the market won’t bear the fees and eventually they will notice EV’s parked not using their EV facilities and ask why.

      As long as electricity and equipment management is covered, the landlord doesn’t have to set very high fees. It will take time for the market to learn where the price equilibrium point is.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Yup. My youngest brother lives in NYC, Manhattan Financial District, in a high-rise and that’s what the HOA-Management has been doing for decades.

        When he owned a LEAF a few years back, he paid $50 a month extra to the HOA for a 20-amp 110v Outlet in his designated parking space in the parking garage.

        But at 110v it took many hours to fully charge the LEAF. And there often was hanky-panky going on with someone unplugging the LEAF to use the outlet for their own use, like run a power tool or coffee pot, or whatever.

        Invariably, they would never plug the LEAF in again after they used the outlet. So by the next day, it was range-anxiety all over again.

        He got rid of the LEAF and the outlet.

        ChargePoint could remedy all that.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    I’ve heard that ChargePoint is not a good deal and that drivers have found that the prices get jacked up so the property owner can make a profit.

    The cost of equipment and installation for Chicago is estimated in this PDF:

    http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/progs/env/CACCEVBuilding.pdf

    That includes licensed union electricians, so chances are pretty good that these prices are on the high side. This type of installation usually results in a separate electric bill just for the charging station, so the property owner has a pretty easy time assigning those costs to the people that use the station.

    In the building I live in, everyone owns their own parking space and gets a separate electric bill if they install a charging station. The Illinois Condominium Act can be interpreted to prevent any HOA from restricting installation of a charging station in a parking space that is privately owned. The only issue that actually exists is waiting for the contractor to do the work; you still can’t buy an EV impulsively.

    • 0 avatar
      dtremit

      For a dedicated charger in a shared garage, is there any way to lock unauthorized users out of the charger?

      We have one person in our building who’s installed a charger for a Volt (fortunately our meters are adjacent to the elevator shaft, so running the conduit is fairly easy), but I don’t think there’s anything besides propriety preventing a person in an adjacent space from plugging in.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        I’ll probably see one of the Tesla drivers in our building tonight and can ask about that, but I would imagine that the answer is yes.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I’m not aware of any security provision available between my Leaf and a charger. Such a provision would have to originate at the charging station, via PIN pad or something – which seems do-able. Otherwise, J1772 chargers are vehicle agnostic.

      • 0 avatar

        For an EVSE like the Chargepoint system described here, its controlled by RFID card.

        For a “dumb” charging station, I don’t think there is anyway to prevent unauthorised use.

        One can imagine a device that locked into the plug and needed a key to release it, a bit like a locking gas cap but in reverse. But I do not know of any such devices for sale.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          I have a NEMA 14-50 box that can be padlocked with or without my portable EVSE plugged into it. The cover closes against the plug and when padlocked and you can’t remove the plug. On the car end, the J-1772 plug is locked to the vehicle.

          My outlet box is a Midwest Electric U055C010P :

          http://www.midwestelectric.com/products/temporary-power/power-inletsoutlets-0

          Lots of reasons to go with a portable EVSE over a fixed, especially if you get the omnivore type with adapters for multiple outlet types, voltages, and amperages.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @ Chicago Dude: Thanks for sharing that document.

      The lower prices seem reasonable, actually, for union-installed equipment in a public facility.

      The higher prices may be for multi-station equipment, such as a 12-bay L2 setup. I think it would be hard to justify a L3 quick charger for people who just park there overnight. Their cars would fill up in a half hour, then just squat on the space until morning.

      L3 would be great for a delivery business running EVs all day long.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Property mgmt give a rat’s arse unless there’s some kind of incentive for them. What happens if the provider goes belly up? Who’s responsible for repairs if there’s water damage or vandalism? You could get stuck with a leased PHEV half way thru and slide thru cracks you can’t fix.

    Gas you fire it up your gone.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    This is a losing idea, the nature of which illustrates the problem.

    The best analogy is laundry equipment. In a typical multifamily complex, an outside provider will pay the property owner upfront to lease the laundry rooms. In exchange, the laundry provider will maintain the room and the equipment, and pay a revenue split to the property owner.

    Here, there obviously isn’t enough revenue to justify such an arrangement — whereas virtually every tenant can be expected to do laundry, very few will have EVs that need charging, so Chargepoint does not wish install a bunch of gear that can’t recoup the investment. Likewise, the lack of demand from tenants provides no incentive for property owners to pay for an amenity that virtually nobody wants.

    The fact that the company wants to make money on the equipment from those who won’t use the equipment is indicative of the business problem. Since there aren’t enough end users to justify it, it wants intermediaries to foot the bill. Good luck with that; without a tax incentive or rebate, there isn’t a reason to bother.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Okay, maybe I’m stupid, but one ChargePoint charger can charge one car, correct?

    So if I get home late from work, and someone else has their EV plugged into the charger, I’m SOL for the night?

    Meh. I have a 120VAC outlet in my garage that runs the garage door opener. I’d be better off using that.

    • 0 avatar

      If you have access to a 120v outlet, that will be a whole lot cheaper and always available when you get home. Clearly your best option for overnight charging.

      Some Chargepoints have two charging ports on a single post. They often sport a 120v outlet as well as the J1772 plug for an EV.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      If your garages 120v outlet is 20 amp, there are adjustable portable EVSEs that can take advantage of the higher amperage. I’ve used mine in 120v 20 amp circuits and charged at 2.3kW. Some garage’s are equipped with 30 amp 240v dryer outlets and you can get an adapter for those as well.

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