Over the past five years, nearly a half-million U.S. cars in this country have been able to zip right past gas stations – and it’s not because they’ve always had a full tank of gas. That’s how many plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) have been purchased in this country since December 2010, when the first mass-market PEVs – the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt – made their much-heralded debut. 

What are PEV buyers actually buying? 

Let’s define our terms. A PEV is a broad classification for any vehicle that is powered at least partially by battery power.  There are two major types:  BEVs, or battery-electric vehicles, and PHEVs, or plug-in hybrid vehicles.
BEVs run purely on electricity stored in their batteries, so they need to be recharged regularly – but not before traveling approximately 70 – 100 miles on a full charge. And because they don’t have gas engines, BEVs are zero emission vehicles.

What is a PHEV or hybrid car? 

That’s a vehicle that can run on either battery power or gas, so owners can 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.
Today, over 25 U.S. and 50 global PEV models are available, and more automobile manufacturers and better-featured electric car models are coming on board each year.  While the initial push in sales primarily came from early adopters, innovators and technophiles, a growing number mainstream buyers are discovering the environmental, emotional, budgetary and other benefits of electric cars, and those numbers continue to grow. 

While all PEVs have higher price tags than their conventional counterparts, they pay off in terms of lower operations and maintenance costs and better environmental sustainability.  In addition, PEV owners may be eligible for federal tax credits – $7,500 for BEVs and under $5,000 for most plug-in hybrids.  As additional models come on the market, with more benefits and better features, electric cars are attracting a greater number of mainstream buyers, rather than just early adopters. 

The ever-increasing sales volume of electric cars, especially electricity-only BEVs, means more and more drivers are seeking charging stations located close to work or home – or demanding them right in their communities. Consequently, this is impacting homeowners associations, community associations and condo boards across the country, especially in large multi-family communities in New York, Florida, California and other automobile-loving states. 

Installing an on-site charging station is proving to enhance homeowners’ lifestyles and community desirability, but it’s not the right solution for every community.  Is it right for yours?  To help you decide, read Part 2: Electric Cars and Installing Charging Stations in Your Community, our follow-up article with information and guidelines to help your association make the best choice.  For more innovative ways to enhance your homeowners’ lifestyles, contact FirstService Residential

Plug-in electric vehicles are a growing trend. Installing charging stations within your high-rise’s parking garage is one way to enhance homeowners’ lifestyles and your building’s desirability. There several other ways to upgrade high-rise amenities too.

Sign up to download our infographic for more details, and find out how partnering with a property management company can add value to your high-rise community.

Friday February 19, 2016