It’s hard to believe that the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt made their much-anticipated debut as the country’s first mass-market plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) more than five years ago. And in that time, nearly half a million people have jumped on the PEV bandwagon.

But what are buyers actually getting when they purchase a PEV? A PEV is a broad classification for any vehicle that is powered, at least partially, by battery power. In the world of PEVs there are major types: 
  • Battery--electric vehicles (BEVs) run purely on electricity stored in their batteries. They need to be recharged regularly, typically after traveling approximately 70-100 miles on a full charge. And because they don’t have gas engines, BEVs are zero-emission vehicles.
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) run on either battery power or gas. This means owners have the option of recharging their batteries or filling up at the pump. PHEVs can typically travel up to 35 miles on electricity alone, or more than 300 miles in electric/gas hybrid mode. PHEVS are low-emission vehicles, depending on how much gasoline is used. 
As consumers become more environmentally conscious, the market for these low-emission cars continues to grow. Today, more than 25 PEV models are available in the U.S. and more than 50 are available worldwide. And that number is expected to grow.  

But not all proponents of PEVs are in it for the environmentally-friendly nature of these vehicles. The reasons why consumers are purchasing these cars are as diverse as the consumers themselves. Some appreciate them from a technology standpoint, while others are in it solely for the savings. Though plug-in electric vehicles tend to have a higher price tag than a conventional car, 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 about $5,000 for most PHEVs. With more benefits and better features, PEVs are now attracting a greater number of mainstream buyers. 

What does this mean for community associations?

The ever-increasing sales volume of PEVs, especially electricity-only BEVs, will eventually mean that these drivers will need charging stations close to home, many even demanding them in their own communities. This undoubtedly impacts homeowners associations, community associations and condo Boards across the country, especially here in Florida, where almost everyone owns a car.  
In many instances, installing an on-site charging station can enhance the lifestyles of homeowners in that community, and increase community desirability. But how do you know if it is the right solution for your community? To help you decide, watch for Part 2, 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.
Friday July 08, 2016