Electric Vehicle Charging

CaseStudy:IncreasingEVChargingAccessatMulti-UnitDwellings

October 2nd, 2020

Post by Donna Marbury, Smart Columbus Storyteller

The majority of electric vehicle (EV) charging happens at the owner’s home. In fact, as much as 85 percent of EV charging happens at home, with the majority of those owners living in single-family homes. 

But what if you live in a condominium or apartment and own—or wish to own— an EV? Multi-unit dwellings (MUDs), such as owned or rented condos, apartment complexes or townhouses, make up 40 percent of households in the city of Columbus, and 40 percent of suburban households in the Columbus Region. With our goal to increase EV ownership 5X, we knew that we also had to increase access to EV chargers in MUDs, in order to make them an attractive and accessible option for more people in our community.

One of Columbus’ five priorities through the Electrification Program is to increase the number of charging stations in the region by nearly 1,000 ports. Focusing on MUDs is one way the Smart Columbus team worked to expand the region’s charging infrastructure and prepare for future EV market development. Smart Columbus found that providing financial support helped to overcome some of the barriers to installing EV charging equipment at MUDs.

Through the Smart Columbus Electrification Program, made possible by the Paul G. Allen Philanthropies, the City of Columbus committed to adding 90 Level 2 chargers to MUDs in the Columbus region, and developed a rebate program to incentivize property owners to add them to their properties. The first round of the program funded 11 sites in central Ohio. In total, $167,998 were distributed, leveraging $137,500 in matching dollars from developers. Interest in the program was so great, that Smart Columbus eventually funded an additional five sites, and committed funds from the second year of the Electrification Program to fund additional MUD incentives. 

Smart Columbus conducted research to get a better understanding of the types of MUDs, installation challenges of EV chargers and cost of deployment and payment of charging services. This white paper and video explain the unique challenges of adding EV chargers to MUDs, and how we worked with property owners to create a rebate program that helped property owners add EV chargers as an incentive to their tenants, while meeting the Smart Columbus goal of strengthening the charging infrastructure. 
 

Highlights from the case study include:

  • Developing an incentive program with minimal bureaucratic red tape
  • The pros and cons of rebates compared to grants
  • Designing a program that allowed us to study the charging behavior data of users
  • Leveraging partnerships that led to diverse applicants and local contractors

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