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How to Own an Electric Car and Live in an Apartment

Considering buying an electric car, but Not Sure how to charge an electric car at an apartment?

Living in an apartment certainly presents more challenges with charging an electric vehicle, but don’t be discouraged.  There are many solutions to charge an electric car at an apartment with no charging stations.

It is estimated that nearly 39 million people in the United States call apartments home, and demand for apartments continues to rise across the globe.  But, many apartment complexes still do not offer charging stations for electric vehicles as demand grows and commitment from governments and auto manufacturers to produce more electric vehicles increases.

Now, if you’re really serious about buying an electric vehicle, it’s time to get creative to make your dreams come true.

Charge at Work

If you still work at a physical office and commute to an office, this is the easiest (and one of the cheapest) solutions. More and more companies are providing EV charging for their employees, so if your company provides chargers, you can charge up all day and leave work on a full charge.

If you commute to work, but your office does not provide EV charging, there is still hope. Many companies receive incentives for providing EV charging to their employees.  Why not ask and see if they are open to it? It’s likely you won’t be the first one, so the more interest they have, the more likely they would consider providing this perk to their employees.

Find Public EV Chargers Nearby

Find public charging stations near your home or office or any other place you visit frequently like a mall, restaurant, or gym.  There are many apps like Chargemap, Chargepoint, and Plugshare that show EV charging stations nearby, with photos, reviews, and real-time availability.  Even Google Maps lets you search for “EV charging stations“.

Plug Into a Wall Outlet

With a heavy duty extension cord, it is possible to charge your vehicle by running it from an outlet in your apartment to your vehicle.  This would be considered Level 1 charging where you are plugging the vehicle into a standard 120-volt outlet. If this is an option for you based on your parking, you will generally get a few miles of charge per hour or about 20-50 miles of charge over 10 hours.  If you commute less than 50 miles per day, you could plug your EV in every night and have close to a full charge the next morning.

Ask Your Landlord or Property Manager to Install an EV Charging Station

If you haven’t struck up a conversation yet with your property manager about EV charging stations, now may be a better time than ever.  As more and more people start to consider electric vehicles, apartment complexes will eventually have no choice but to install charging stations.  It is possible that your landlord has been considering this, but is waiting for more tenants to request EV charging.

Installing EV charging for tenants benefits both the tenant and property.  It would allow the apartment to advertise EV charging as an amenity and potentially charge higher rents.  Much of this would depend on the parking situation and the type of complex you live in.  It could be in the best interest of the property to consider this sooner rather than later.

Companies like Chargepoint and EverCharge work with your property to install EV charging stations on site.  ChargePoint even offers a template letter you can send to your landlord.  The apartment may pay for installation, but ask tenants to pay a small monthly maintenance fee.  This is in addition to all usage costs from charging your vehicle.  So, this may not be your best choice.

Look for Apartments Nearby with EV Charging Stations

If all else fails, it might be time to search for apartments in your area with EV charging stations.  If your lease is expiring soon and you were already considering moving, this could be your opportunity.  Find a place that offers EV charging, so that you can finally purchase that electric vehicle you’ve been eying.

Owning an Electric Vehicle while Living in an Apartment

Consider purchasing an electric vehicle with a longer-range battery, even if you don’t plan on taking long road trips.  The extra cost upfront could make up for the time spent charging.

All electric vehicles have different battery ranges, but most use the same charging methods.

Charging Types

  • Level 1 charging uses a standard 120V outlet, the same you’d plug your toaster into.  This gives about 3.5 to 6.5 miles of range per hour or up to 60 miles in 10 hours.
  • Level 2 charging uses a 240-volt outlet, the same you plug your oven or clothes dryer into. This gives about 12 to 35 miles of range per hour or up to 350 miles in 10 hours. Likely a full charge.
  • Level 3 charging, or superchargers (DC fast charging), gives about 90 miles in 30 minutes. These are typically only found in public charging stations.

Understanding the  different types of EV charging may also be helpful so that you can make an informed decision on how best to charge.

Charging electric vehicle

Owning an electric vehicle, even if you live in an apartment with no chargers, doesn’t have to stop you from purchasing your first electric car.  You may need to get creative and use multiple methods of charging listed here, but if you are really set on buying an electric car, you can make it work!