Why “Smart” EV Charging Technology is the Right Choice
Every industry has its own jargon and the Electric Vehicle Charging ecosystem is no different. Currently EV chargers can be divided into two categories – “dumb” and “smart” chargers. A dumb charging station only charges the vehicle and that’s it. It’s a little like buying an old-fashioned mobile phone that only allows you to make calls. Think of an electrical outlet as a “dumb charger.” They can’t connect to the cloud, be managed remotely, or integrated with other software platforms.
A dumb charger may be all you need if you’re charging your EV at a single-family home, but it’s not the optimal choice for owners and residents of multifamily properties.
Smart EV charging or networked charging refers to an integrated system where an electric vehicle and a charging station share a data connection, and the charging device shares a data connection with a charging operator, typically via cellular, Wi-Fi, or both. Networks for smart EV chargers are often provided by the manufacturer of the charging station but can also be provided by a third-party network service provider.
Smart EV charging stations collect data and can process payments for the use of the charger. Like a modern gas pump, these types of chargers will usually tell their users exactly how much electricity they consumed and charge them the precise cost of that electricity as set by the property owner.
The greatest advantage of smart chargers is that they monitor each residents EV charging usage and allows the property owner to charge by the kilowatt-hours (kWh) consumed. Smart chargers often show notifications when the vehicle is charged and can send a text or email notification to the resident to move their vehicle within a set time frame or additional fees may be applied based on the amount of time they choose to temporarily “rent” the EV parking space.
How Smart EV Chargers Enhance the Resident Experience
• Resident uses a free-mobile app or RFID card that includes their credit card payment information to pay the exact price for their charging experience. This takes the property owner/manager out of the resident billing process.
• Residents can use the scheduling feature of the charging station app or potentially integrated with your resident management system to pick a time that is convenient for them to charge their EV.
How Investing in Smart EV Chargers Improves NOI for Owners
• Offering EV charging provides an incremental revenue opportunity on an existing parking space asset.
• EV charging retains and attracts residents to your property and allows you to check the “EV Charging” amenity box for a prospective resident’s new home search.
• Federal, state and utility incentives may be available to offset initial investment costs.
• Smart chargers enable Load Management for multiple EV chargers. This allows chargers to “share” or “split” the existing power available at the property, which eliminates expensive electric service upgrades.
• In states with Cap-and-Trade legislation, smart charging stations keep track of carbon emission reduction metrics across all properties which supports sustainability goals and allows the owner to capture and monetize carbon credits.
Smart EV charging offers many benefits for residents and owners. They provide valuable data for assessing resident use and making future investments. While smart chargers come with a $12 – $20 per month network fee, those fees can easily be overcome by the benefits derived from offering this essential new amenity to your residents.