Part 1: Electric Cars and Charging Stations – Is Your HOA Ready?
Take a drive on any major interstate in California and it will be difficult to drive any distance without passing, or being passed, by an electric vehicle. In fact, nearly a half-million plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) have been purchased in the US over the past five years. What state is leading the nation in this trend? You guessed, our great state of California. In fact, the Golden State accounts for almost half of the country’s PEVs on the road.
As the popularity of electric vehicles has increased, so has the response from the California Energy Commission. The Energy Commission has awarded over $25 million in infrastructure projects with a focus on charging stations sites throughout the state. These efforts have resulted in 6,200 electric vehicle charge points representing the largest network in the nation.
What are the PEV options? PEV is a broad term defining any vehicle that is at least partially powered by a battery. The two primary types include BEVs, or battery-electric vehicles, and PHEVs, or plug-in hybrid vehicles.
BEVs run purely on electricity stored in their batteries requiring a regular recharge. They typically have a range between 70 and 100 miles on a full charge. They are zero emission vehicles because they do not have gas powered engines. The Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S are widely recognized in this category.
How do hybrids or PHEVs differ? Toyota Prius and the Chevrolet Volt often come to mind when the word hybrid is mentioned. This is a rapidly expanding segment and virtually all manufactures offer hybrid options. Hybrids can run on either battery power or gas, providing owners with the option to either recharge their batteries or fill their gas tanks at the pump. The gasoline option reduces “range anxiety” when a charging station isn’t in sight. PHEVs can travel up to 35 miles on electricity alone, or more than 300 miles in electric/gas hybrid mode, and typically have low emissions, depending on how much gasoline is used.
As is the case with most technology early adopters dominated the initial demand and represented a small market share of overall vehicle sales. While adoption is still relatively small, California leads the nation with PEVs representing approximately 5 out of 1,000 registered vehicles with a steady increase year-over-year. All indications are this is anything but a fad, rather an increasingly attractive option.
Beyond additional options and features, federal tax credits have helped ease the higher prices points of PEVs. Owners of BEVs typically see tax credits of $7,500 and under $5,000 for PHEVs. When combined with the fuel savings, lower maintenance costs and environmental impact it is little wonder demand has transcended early adopter consumers.
As the demand for PEVs continues to gain momentum automobile manufacturers are responding with additional model options in all classes of vehicles. The U.S. market currently boasts over 25 models available with 50 worldwide. It wasn’t long ago where few options in models was the norm as well as limited features. The landscape is definitely changing driven by stronger consumer interest making PEVs more mainstream.
As more electric vehicles continue to hit our roads, especially plug-in BEVs, the demand for charging options close to work and home will continue to increase. This potentially includes charging options in managed communities across California. The impact is starting to be felt by association boards as this once little discussed amenity becomes a more common expectation.
Homeowner association boards are increasingly evaluating the pros and cons of adding charging stations to their communities or buildings. The upside includes enhancing the lifestyle of residents as well as the brand of the community, but it is not the right solution for every association. Is it the right approach for your community?
We offer a deeper look into this developing trend in our follow up article with information and guidelines for your association to consider. Request your complimentary copy today.
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