Multifamily Properties are Going Electric

3 min read

 Incentives for Including Charging Infrastructure

As demand for electric vehicles (EVs) intensifies, multifamily owners and operators are increasingly forced to explore their EV charging options. 

EV sales are soaring, increasing by 67 percent from 2021 to 2022, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has adopted an International Code Council provision (a system of code development through a governmental consensus process that provides the highest level of safety in the world) requiring apartment communities to provide EV charging infrastructure for up to 20 percent of lots with 25 or more parking spaces. States like California and New York are working to phase out sales of new gas-powered vehicles within the next 15 years. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) established valuable tax credits for purchasing EVs, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) provided funding to build out the nation’s EV charger network.

Installing EV charging infrastructure can improve property values, help property owners attract and retain tenants and reduce the disproportionate cost of transportation for low-income residents. As multifamily affordable housing property owners weigh infrastructure and charger options for their properties, it is important to consider installation costs, which can vary based on factors including:

  • The number and type of charging infrastructure (Level 1, 2 or 3);
  • The geographic location, which governs labor and permitting costs, as well as local utilities plus state and local government incentives;
  • The specific location of EV chargers on your multifamily site, with costs for required trenching; and
  • The required electrical upgrades to utility transformers and electrical panels to accommodate existing and future electric load increases

Labor is the largest expense in a typical installation, and the per-charger cost goes down significantly for larger installations. The DOE offers a resource of federal, state, local and utility incentives that may be available to offset installation costs.

Level 2 chargers are the most common in apartment buildings. They can also network and balance electrical loads. In some states, governments and utilities offer rebates and incentives for chargers. For example, California utilities have provided approximately $240 million for EV charging infrastructure at multifamily properties since 2016, and Colorado provides rebates of up to 80 percent of charging station costs for multifamily properties (90 percent for income-eligible multifamily properties). Additionally, through the IRA, multifamily properties that install new EV chargers or charging equipment can claim a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the cost of the installation and equipment, not to exceed $100,000. It should be noted that the project must meet prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements to receive the full benefit.

Additional information on the DOE’s federal, state, local and utility incentives to help offset costs, as well as information on the prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements can be found using the links below.

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Ravi Malhotra has provided turn-key solutions for the green retrofit of multifamily properties through ICAST and Triple Bottom Line Foundation.