The Future is Electric
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electric car charging

By Kevin Juhasz |

October 25, 2022 |

Updated November 3, 2022

5 minute read

Multifamily housing communities are adopting electric vehicle charging strategies to get ahead of inevitable demand.

Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in multifamily housing have transitioned from an amenity to a necessity in the United States, and the demand is spreading from larger coastal communities to secondary markets including states like North Carolina and Kentucky. Forward-thinking portfolios are rolling out proactive EV strategies to get ahead of inevitable demand.

When it comes to EVs, the tipping point from the early adopter stage to mainstream acceptance is 5% of overall sales. China and 15 European countries have already moved past this figure, and the United States joined them this year with sales already reaching the 5.3% mark.

The jump in sales figures has been astronomical. In 2017, the country sold just under 200,000 electric vehicles. In 2021, that figure had grown to 630,000 in annual vehicle sales. As of Q2 2022, the latest period for which figures are available, nearly 450,000 EVs have been sold, putting the final sales figures within reach of 900,000 for the year. At this rate, EV would account for 5.9% of overall sales at the close of 2022.

With EV purchases continuing to set records, in addition to local and federal governments taking a more aggressive approach toward adoption, the need for infrastructure to support charging is growing as well. The Biden administration announced in June 2022 plans to build a nationwide network of EV charging stations by 2030. As of Aug. 2, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had submitted plans for EV infrastructure for their respective jurisdictions.

While a network of chargers is needed and connectivity issues must be addressed, the plan doesn’t fully address the nation’s needs for EV charging stations. According to a JD Power study, more than 80% of EV owners charge their vehicles at their home or their place of business. About 40% of people charge exclusively at home. This reinforces the notion that apartment residents also need to be able to charge at their communities.

Multifamily rising to the challenge

While some government assistance from the bill will be used in multifamily, many owner-
operators are realizing that EV charging is quickly moving from an amenity offering to a necessity across every portfolio type. To that end, numerous housing organizations have moved to provide current and future residents with the means to charge at their homes, where it’s easiest, most convenient and most reliable.

Stoneweg US, for example, an affiliate of Swiss-based Stoneweg SA and the exclusive U.S. investment manager of Varia US Properties AG, is wasting no time. Stoneweg has plans to increase its EV charging stations portfolio to better serve its residents and bring its U.S. properties in line with the company’s overall ESG philosophy and environmental stewardship.

“It was imperative for us to build a consensus between our investors and our executive leadership to improve sustainable outcomes,” said Pamela Williams, Stoneweg US’s Director of Asset Management. “We believe that our ROI will be achieved through minimizing vacancy loss by offering amenities that residents want in their communities. It’s through resident retention and attracting new residents that we will reduce our exposure and insulate us from having to offer concessions.”

While Stoneweg is currently installing chargers to meet current resident demand in Florida, Kentucky and North Carolina, the company is also upgrading electrical infrastructure to future-proof other properties and increase charger availability as demand warrants. Aggressive EV charging strategies like this are rolling out across many secondary markets in the U.S. According to Xeal, a multifamily EV charging provider, 36% of charger installs to date in 2022 are in secondary markets, up from 15% in 2021 as migration patterns to more affordable cities and high demand for EV charging continues to grow.

Implementation of EV charging part of larger ESG strategy

Equally important to providing for their residents is Stoneweg’s commitment to providing for the planet. The company deeply possesses goals that include supporting the environment, creating resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. 

“Globally, there is a growing interest in sustainable practices and ESG strategy at the asset management level where investors can look to their asset managers’ tangible metrics and KPIs,” said Thomas Stanchak, Director of Sustainability at Stoneweg U.S. 

The company also helps guide its goals with an aggressive campaign that involves communicating with residents and inquiring about their stance on EVs frequently during the leasing process and the residents’ lifecycle at their properties.

“We have four consistent touchpoints in the cycle of interactions with our residents— at leasing, move-in, work orders and renewal,” Stanchak says. “We ask questions related to sustainability and EV charging, and we can then benchmark and measure that interest over time. In 2021, Stoneweg US directly surveyed select communities in Ohio and Kentucky, where 38 percent of resident survey respondents told us that they would consider purchasing an EV if charging options were made available onsite.

“Additionally, more than half of Stoneweg’s prospect and resident survey respondents year to date indicated their apartment community’s sustainability practices are of ‘high’ or ‘very high’ priority, while 43 percent of respondents indicated that sustainability certifications, including green building certifications, are a ‘high’ or ‘very high’ priority. This tells us that there’s not only a willingness to adopt EVs if charging is made accessible, but that today’s residents are prioritizing more responsible energy habits overall. Therefore, a natural part of our overall ESG strategy is that we all share the planet and cooperate to reduce our impact on climate.”

In response to growing demand and appreciation for sustainability best practices on the resident level, many other multifamily operators are taking the same proactive approach toward installations and future-proofing. Now that the U.S. has breached the tipping point, others will need to adopt the same mentality if they hope to remain competitive. Just as cars eventually replaced the horse and buggy, EV sales are showing a marked and permanent shift in transportation for Americans. This time, however, the fuel will be sourced primarily at home and tens of millions of renters will be looking to their communities for the supply.

 

Kevin Juhasz is a Content Manager LinnellTaylor Marketing.