Sales of electric vehicles (EVs)—or vehicles that have an electric battery-powered motor instead of an internal combustion engine—are soaring in the United States. In 2021, EV sales totaled 434,879 units, representing a year-over-year increase of 83%. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles only add to the total. In 2021, Toyota’s hybrid sales increased 73%, while Honda’s rose by 67%. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, either: one KPMG survey of auto executives suggests that EVs may account for more than half of U.S. sales by 2030.
As EV sales grow, charging options must multiply to keep up with demand. While homeowners can easily charge EVs on their own properties, renters are increasingly frustrated by the challenges of finding a place to charge their EVs. But this may soon change as high-end multifamily developments across the U.S. are leading the charge in supplying on-site EV charging stations as eco-friendly amenities for residents. Read on to learn why EVs are growing in popularity and how luxury apartments are meeting the growing needs of EV owners.
How EVs Support Climate Goals
The move away from fossil fuel-powered vehicles is an essential part of a worldwide quest to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This will improve as electric grids derive less power from coal-fired plants. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), coal-fired electricity generation is declining. It represented 23% of the total electric power generated in 2021. It declined to 20% in 2022. In 2023, analysts expect it to decline further, to 19%.
Just how much will your electric vehicle reduce emissions? Overall, lifecycle emissions for EVs are about 60-68% less than for their gasoline-powered counterparts. However, it also depends on what electric subgrid your charging station draws its power from. Check out the variations in the EPA’s Power Profiler. For example, compare the electric subgrid of MRO East (part of WI) with the subgrid of RFC West (Chicagoland). The former generates 1526.4 lbs of CO2 per MWh, while the latter only generates 985.0 lbs of CO2 per MWh. But regardless of the source of electricity for an EV, they are way more energy-efficient than gasoline-powered vehicles. According to energy.gov, only about 12-30% of the gasoline actually moves the vehicle down the road.
Cities Prioritize Building EV Charging Station Infrastructure
There is a symbiotic relationship between EVs and charging stations. More EVs generate more demand for EV charging and vice versa. Faster charging and increased range have also contributed to the growing adoption of EVs. Various EVs from Tesla, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Rivian, and Kia now boast 300+ mile ranges. A couple of EVs exceed 400 miles.
Major cities are increasingly recognizing the importance of EV charging facilities. In 2020, the City of Chicago passed an ordinance establishing requirements for certain projects. For residential buildings with five or more units and onsite parking, and commercial properties with 30+ parking spaces, 20% of those parking spaces must be reserved for EV charging. Chicago’s requirements are consistent with EV charging standards set by the International Code Council. These standards have already been adopted by the U.S. Department of Energy as well.
The Future of On-Premises Charging
As EVs become more commonplace in the years to come, the number of multifamily parking spaces with EV charging will likely increase as well. One industry executive estimates that 80% of spaces will eventually offer EV charging.
In some urban areas, demand currently outstrips the supply of public charging stations. A 2022 survey from the National Multifamily Housing Council looked at 221,000 renters living in 4,564 communities. It revealed that 27% of renters would like to see EV charging stations. This is far more than the actual number of EV owners in these communities. Even in cities where public EV chargers exist, they may not be powerful enough to meet consumer needs. Many of the public chargers are Level 2, meaning that charging can take several hours. The ideal EV charging is the so-called “DC Fast,” which only takes about 20 to 45 minutes to fully charge an EV.
Companies are working to meet demand. For example, Electrify America already has more than 3,400 fast charging stations available at almost 800 locations. By 2026, it expects to have more than 10,000 charging stations at about 1,800 locations. As electric vehicles proliferate across the country, charging at the workplace will also help to address demand. Many companies are already offering Level 1 (120v), Level 2 (240v), or DC Fast Charging as an employee benefit. To a degree, workplace charging reduces the need for EV charging at home. It allows EV owners to cover both legs of their commute in “all-electric” mode.
Landlords and employers are wise to address EV charging demand. Anyone driving an EV is unlikely to go back to gasoline or diesel-powered options. In a Plug In America survey, 96% of electric vehicle owners said their next vehicle would be another EV. By offering EV charging, property owners and managers may see benefits in the form of reduced turnover: once an EV owner moves into a multifamily complex with charging access, they may be more likely to settle in and stay for a while.
Luxury Apartments Offering Onsite EV Charging
Some luxury apartment developers were well ahead of the curve in anticipating demand. For example, Draper and Kramer’s 61 Banks Street offers boutique Gold Coast living right along Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. It was an “early adopter” in offering EV charging to its residents. And, it’s a perfect complement to the community’s 24-hour valet parking. In Chicago’s South Loop, residents of Eleven Thirty South Michigan are steps from Lake Michigan, Grant Park, and all that downtown Chicago has to offer. Residents enjoy numerous luxury amenities, EV charging among them.
About Draper and Kramer
Draper & Kramer is a full-service real estate firm founded in 1893 that combines a rich heritage with the early adoption of the latest innovations like on-site EV charging stations. You’ll find Draper and Kramer luxury apartment properties from Chicago to St. Louis and from Dallas/Fort Worth to Phoenix. Browse Draper and Kramer’s entire inventory of high-end apartment buildings today.