Part 1: Electric Cars and Charging Stations – Is Your MD HOA Ready?
Are you ready to charge up instead of fill up? Many of your Maryland neighbors have already switched to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), and the numbers are growing. Why? Because PEVs, commonly known as “electric cars,” are budget-friendly and environmentally responsible – and that’s just for starters. Want to know more? Read on.
PEVs are powered entirely or partially by batteries. The category includes both EVs (battery-electric vehicles) and PHEVs, plug-in hybrid vehicles. BEVs operate only on battery power, so many people like the fact that they run clean, with zero emissions. However, because BEVs only have a range 70 – 100 miles on a single charge, they are usually used for short trips.
PHEVs are hybrid vehicles, which means they can operate on both battery and gasoline power – that both increases range and reduces what’s commonly called “range anxiety.” PHEVs average up to 35 miles in battery-only mode, but their range can expand to more than 300 miles in electric/gas hybrid mode. While not zero-emission vehicles, PHEVs have low emissions, depending on how much gas is used.
As for the common belief that electric cars aren’t as safe as traditional gas burning cars, it hasn’t proven true – in fact, EVs may be safer. Their batteries are often located beneath the car in the center, rather under the hood, which results in both more stability and a larger crumple zone in the front.
So what about cost? Electric cars usually have higher purchase prices than traditional vehicles, but purchasers may be eligible for tax credits: $7,500 for battery-powered vehicles and about $5,000 for most plug-in hybrids. For more specific information about how this affects Maryland residents, speak to your accountant or local PEV dealer.
As electric cars become more popular throughout the state, drivers will be looking for additional charging stations that are convenient to work or home. There are currently more than 600 public charging stations in over 250 locations around Maryland, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
At the same time, many HOAs, community associations and condo associations across Maryland are responding. Is your association thinking about installing an electric car charging station in your community? If so, be on the lookout for our follow-up article to help your association decide if an on-site electric car charging station is the right choice. To learn more about how to enhance your homeowners’ lifestyles, contact Maryland community management leader FirstService Residential.