One of the most common refrains among electric vehicle (EV) advocates around the world is: “Most EV owners will charge at home 95% (or most, or 90%) of the time.”
The problem with this sentiment is that it assumes that everyone lives in a home with easy access to a garage and electrical outlet. But this is far from reality.
First, in the US as an example, only 80 percent of households that live in owner-occupied housing have access to a garage of carport.
Secondly, and the focus of this EV Statistics of the Week, is that while the percentage varies widely around the world, a large percentage of households live in rental housing. The implication of this is that an EV owner living in rental housing does not control the ability to install an EV charging unit. And today, most apartment complexes and condominiums do not offer access to EV charging.
According to analysis of 30 countries by RENTCafe:
- Rental households ranged from a low of 9.7 percent in Singapore to a high of 56.6 percent in Switzerland.
- 22 of the countries have a rental percentage of 25 percent or higher and 5 of those have rental percentages above 40 percent.
- Half of the 15 countries have rental percentages at or above 30 percent.
- Renters are on the increase in 21 of 30 countries, with UK’s share of the population that rents up by 22% in just 5 years.
And the number of households that are choosing to rent versus buying a home is increasing in many countries, including the UK and US.
Implications for Electric Vehicle Charging
With the majority of countries having renter households at between 20 to 40 percent, a key hurdle for mass adoption of EVs is providing charging infrastructure for this significant car-driving population.
Apartment owners and managers are generally reluctant to spend the money to install charging stations that will only be used by a few renters. They would rather use funds for necessary things such as fixing roofs, cracked pools and walkways, trimming trees, upgrading sprinkler systems, etc. Until apartment owners/managers find that they are losing tenants or at a competitive disadvantage with nearby complexes, most will not take the proactive step of installing EV charging stations.
There is hope, however, in the US for example there are initiatives underway specifically to address the multifamily charging challenge, including:
- Through Volkswagen’s Electrify America initiative, plans are to install approximately 700 Level 2 charging station at apartment buildings, condominiums and other multi-family properties by June 2019 in 17 of the biggest metropolitan areas in the United States.
- PG&E, the San Francisco-based utility, plans to install 7,500 electric car charging stations for apartments and workplaces in Northern and Central California. The three-year program officially starts in 2018, and continues through 2020, with a budget of $130 million. It is unclear what percent of the charging stations will be installed in multifamily versus workplace locations.
- Through its Power Your Drive Program, San Diego Gas & Electric is installing charging stations at approximately 350 apartment buildings, condo complexes, and workplaces around San Diego county to provide about 3,500 charging ports, at nearly no cost to the property owners or tenants.
- Southern California Edison is in the pilot phase of its Charge Ready program to install 1,500 charging points at multifamily dwellings and workplaces. The Charge Ready pilot is valued at $22 million ($14,667 per charging point) and is just an introduction to the full-scale project with 30,000 charging points (at a total estimated cost of $355 million).
While initiatives like the above will help, the expected lack of available charging options at multifamily housing locations for several years means that a renter’s option for charging primarily includes:
- Their workplace, if they work and their workplace offers charging.
- If a student at their college or high school if charging is offered.
- At retail locations such as restaurants, shopping malls, big-box retailers and supermarkets.
- Municipal parking lots.
- Urban and suburban charging centers.
But the next time you read or hear someone say that most EV charging will be done at home, remind them that in most countries, 20 to 40 percent of households don’t live in a home.