Living in a flat or apartment is no longer a barrier to owning an EV for those that want one. Some people are still understandably concerned about the nuts and bolts of EV ownership when living and/or working from a multi-unit dwelling (MUD, but owners of these buildings who arm themselves with the right knowledge can ensure EV ownership is nothing to stress about for their residents.
There are several elements to consider when it comes to installing EV chargers at an MUD, including:
- The number of chargers required
- The best location for the chargers
- The energy needs of those chargers
- The types of hardware and software that suit your needs
- The types of technology that will future-proof your building as EV ownership changes and grow
Across Europe, apartment living is very common. In Germany, 56% of people live in an apartment or other MUD; in Sweden, the stat is 49% and 20% for Norway. Building owners who offer chargers – something that is fast becoming a requirement for new buildings in various countries – will find that their locations are more appealing to the modern resident, as long as they approach the topic the right way.
The benefits of installing your own chargers
Installing your own chargers comes with a lot of benefits, including:
Residents are Kept Happy
Residents know that there’s nothing stopping them from getting an EV if there are available chargers on-site and those who already have an EV will be relieved that they don’t have to rely on other locations in order to charge. Plus, installing chargers makes your building a more attractive choice for new residents over one without them.
As EV adoption grows, buildings with chargers are more likely to be prioritized by modern residents looking for an equally modern home. As such, installing chargers is an investment in the future of your multi-unit dwelling.
Potential for V2X
Through smart charging, there’s the potential for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) or even vehicle-to-everything (V2X) in the future. V2G enables chargers to use vehicles as batteries and feed energy back to the grid to balance energy levels at peak times, which, in turn, balances energy levels within your building. Additionally, this technology could be used to share energy between the vehicles and the building itself, helping to power it while ensuring the EVs still get the fuel they need. Read our Vehicle-to-Grid Guide for more information:
Installing charging at your MUD means you’ll have full visibility and control over how they are used. You choose the technology, you are responsible for the financial side of charging, and you have the ability to balance energy loads to avoid overload. This is much more preferable than allowing residents to install their own chargers – which in many areas they are legally allowed to do.
Considering the ways in which the EV landscape is evolving, it makes perfect business sense to ensure your building is fully kitted out with the right hardware and software to make charging easy for everyone involved.
Things to consider
With all of this in mind, it’s time to consider the basics of what you need to understand before you install chargers at your MUD.
Types of Charger
Choosing software-agnostic chargers mitigates risks because they can be operated by multiple vendors. It also means that software that is sub-par can easily be switched out, which is far less expensive than changing hardware.
The ability to regulate the power supply to chargers is very important for the owner or manager of a MUD. Without it – especially if the infrastructure is older and only intended for everyday residential use – energy surges can occur as a result of a resident charging. Plus, buildings have a finite amount of energy that they can use, so a sudden spike can cause the power to shut down for everybody.
When energy is properly managed through load balancing, the available energy capacity can be allocated to where it’s needed without the risk of overload.
The right infrastructure has to be in place before chargers can be installed. If the wiring infrastructure in your MUD is only designed to handle ordinary residential use, that will still work fine as long as load balancing is implemented. Introducing chargers that are actually fit for purpose is important because patching up sub-par tech instead of upgrading is costly and causes ongoing problems.
Additionally, users have to know how their devices communicate with each other. There’s a payment system involved when charging, as well as apps, which means the software needs internet connectivity. Ideally, if there isn’t great signal coverage where vehicles would be charging, an additional solution to boost cell phone usage, in general, would also be implemented.
Plus, an energy meter is needed to ensure that residents are getting the energy they are paying for.
Speaking of the financial side of charging, spot pricing is another area of consideration for owners or managers of MUDs. This enables the ability to accurately invoice for the precise cost of energy at any given time, meaning individual residents pay for what they are using and other residents aren’t unfairly charged.
How CURRENT can help
CURRENT is the expert here, and a huge part of our role is about educating people and guiding them through their choices. We are here to analyse and understand your circumstances and curate a solution that both suits you and is future-proof.
A great example of this is a project we undertook at a multi-unit dwelling in Oslo. It had over 200 charger points but didn’t quite get its load management right initially; it ended up with high peaks and extortionate energy bills as a result. Once CURRENT stepped in and was able to diagnose the issue, we could deploy a solution that worked much better, and this saved the equivalent of approximately £4,000 every month for the client.
When it comes to making the most of your MUD, the right charging solution can make the world of difference to your building’s appeal, your sustainability goals, and the future of the MUD for tomorrow’s residents. To learn more about how CURRENT can help you implement the right solution, get in touch today.