Hunting For Kilowatts

A real-world example of the importance of creating affordable EV charging solutions for multi-unit housing

Leading Charge’s Founder, Peter Vierthaler, recently attended a Seattle Electric Vehicle Association meeting where he met a woman named Elizabeth who drives a fully electric Kia Soul. Peter and Elizabeth began speaking about her love for her car and electric vehicles in general. Eventually, as with most electric vehicle discussions, the topic of charging came up. This is where we were blown away by Elizabeth’s fortitude in finding opportunities to charge her vehicle.

Peter knew that we had to get Elizabeth’s story out to our industry and beyond; at the end of the meeting, he collected Elizabeth’s contact information and after a follow up conversation, received her permission to share a day in her life as an EV driver, living in a place where charging solutions are not yet available everywhere.

Elizabeth's Kia Soul has a range of about 100 miles in the summer, which can be reduced by almost 20% in the cold of winter. Her Soul charges at a rate of 3 miles per hour on a standard 110v plug (these are the standard outlets in a home or garage), 15-20 miles per hour on a 240v plug or level 2 EV charger (a 240v plug is the same that your range or clothes dryer is plugged in to, and a level 2 charger is a standard 40amp charger you see in many areas), and at about 125 miles per hour using a DC fast charger.

Elizabeth lives in an apartment building in Kirkland, Washington that does not offer EV charging. The parking lot is overcrowded and the ownership/management has not yet opted to bring charging to the property. Elizabeth, who has her own business as a dog walker, must find charging for her Soul away from home. 

Elizabeth has several locations around Kirkland and the greater Seattle Area which she visits to charge her Kia. These locations include a University of Washington Medicine clinic, the Kia dealership where she bought her car, the Kirkland public library, south Kirkland park and ride, Bellevue Square Shopping Center, Best Buy, Westlake Center parking garage, and sometimes even the KOMO 4 television station downtown. 

All of Elizabeth's charging options have their own unique set of challenges.

Outside of the basic fact that they ALL take her outside of her home, each location either has a supply and demand issue, or a monetary rate associated with usage.

  • The dealership, Lee Johnson Kia of Kirkland, is the best and only option for Elizabeth to use high speed charging. But the dealership only has one DC Fast Charger and one level 2 charger – both of which are free. Having the chargers available for free is great; however, the single DC Fast Charger is not enough to serve existing Kia customers needing a charge, and the general public whom the dealership is hoping to convert to Kia electric vehicles. Often Elizabeth must wait in line with other rather angry and agitated people.
  • The  University of Washington Medical Clinic parking lot behind Elizabeth’s building is her next most-convenient charging location. The problem she faces there is that the cost to charge with the public UW level 2 charge is $2/hour and the rate increases to $5/hour after the first two hours of charging. This makes it very expensive to leave her car hooked up overnight. [20 mile per hour of charge, for 5 hours on these chargers is about $20/fill up.)
  • The other charging options (various malls and shopping centers 5-12 miles from her home) are a variety of free charging and toll charging depending on the location. All are level 2 providing just 15 to 20 miles of charge per hour. Many businesses will provide free charging for Elizabeth if she shops or eats at their establishments; again an added cost to factor into her lifestyle.

Elizabeth has designed her business and lifestyle around charging opportunities. If she is hungry, she will go to Bellevue Square; if she is going to check out a book she will go the Kirkland Library and if she wants to shop, she will go the Westlake Center in Seattle. 

Instead of spending evenings and weekend at home after work, she often finds herself out and about so that she can recharge her car. Beyond this, Elizabeth must work more to accommodate the added expense of shopping to get free charging, or per-hour tolls to charge. 

All of this has Elizabeth exhausted. When Peter asked her how much she would pay to have charging available at her apartment and get her life back, she said that with her current business, she’d pay $50 more over the standard parking rate, and up to $100 more if she had a standard office job.

Elizabeth is still lobbying her apartment manager to provide EV charging. She is also enlisting others in her community with electric vehicles to increase the pressure. In the meantime, Elizabeth will continue looking for apartments with car charging and flee when she finds her charging oasis.

Oftentimes, apartment management companies and owners/investors simply don’t understand how to approach a retroactive car charging installation project, like the one needed at Elizabeth’s complex. Leading Charge works hard to have conversations with managers and owners of multi-unit buildings in metro areas like Kirkland, Bellevue, Seattle, and even Edmonds, to educate them on the possibilities. 

Beyond the ability to provide chargers to residents with EVs, there is a significant untapped revenue stream available to these investors, that we hope to leverage in our conversations, to interest the powers-that-be in projects that will not only provide a better living experience for current tenants, but a space for future tenants to come.

Check out Our Feature in Northwest Partners’ Newsletter!

Our parent company, Northwest Partners, LLC, is an established and trusted representative of high-quality and energy efficient building envelope products – including exterior moisture barriers by VaproShield, and a line of European designed, highly insulated windows by Eco Windows and Drutex.

Northwest Partners reserved some space in their second quarterly newsletter to introduce Leading Charge, describe what we offer, and invited visitors to our site.

This introduction lays a great foundation for the upcoming Leading Charge newsletter, which you can expect to begin receiving in just a few weeks! Click the preview below to take a look at what Northwest Partners has going on and don’t forget to subscribe to receive their issues quarterly!

EV CHARGING FOR SCHOOL BUSSES

HOW CAN YOU MAXIMIZE YOUR school transportation POTENTIAL?

Provide charging for your current and future EV school busses by making the best use of the excess electric capacity of your facility or transportation depot. Our offerings allow you both to maximize the on-site capacity and eliminate or reduce the requirement of bringing more electric capacity!

cost

Our systems cost up to half of standard offerings and, in most cases, eliminate the need to and cost of bringing additional power to the facility. Easily grow and expand your charger network as your fleet grows. One load balancing device can monitor and control up to 100 chargers.

power management

Our systems’ technology allows for the effective use of Level 2 chargers (saving you almost 80% in comparison to Level 3 chargers!) as it monitors and ensures each bus receives its charge on a priority basis, determined by the vehicles’ scheduled down-time. Each charge is independently managed, and energy used is tracked in real-time..

what is the first step to get a project started?

Review this brochure, then contact us to set up a free evaluation of your property. Our team is here to help you understand the process & find the best solution for your facility!

HOW TO GET IN TOUCH

Leading Charge can be reached by contacting the Northwest Partners office line, Monday-Friday 7A-5P: (206) 784-0920

You can email us any time at: info@northwestpartnersllc.com

At no additional cost to your project, our team will:

  • Meet with you at your property to discuss options
  • Recommend the best system for your current and future needs
  • Provide you the opportunity for competitive bidding for your project
  • Monitor your installation and make recommendations as applicable

CAR CHARGING FOR FLEETS

Looking to MAXIMIZE YOUR FLEET POTENTIAL?

Provide charging for your current and future EV fleet by making the best use of the excess electric capacity of your facility. Our offerings allow you both to maximize the on-site capacity and eliminate or reduce the requirement of bringing more electric capacity!

cost

Our systems cost up to half of standard offerings and, in most cases, eliminate the need to and cost of bringing additional power to the facility. Easily grow and expand your charger network as your fleet grows. One load balancing device can monitor and control up to 100 chargers.

what is the first step to get a project started?

Review this brochure, then contact us to set up a free evaluation of your property. Our team members are charging experts, here to help you understand the process and find the best solution for your facility!

HOW TO GET IN TOUCH

Leading Charge can be reached by contacting the Northwest Partners office line, Monday-Friday 7A-5P: (206) 784-0920

You can email us any time at: info@northwestpartnersllc.com

At no additional cost to your project, our team will:

  • Meet with you at your property to discuss options
  • Recommend the best system for your current and future needs
  • Provide you the opportunity for competitive bidding for your project
  • Monitor your installation and make recommendations as applicable

CAR CHARGING FOR BUSINESSES

HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR EMPLOYEES DRIVE GREEN?

Our team can help you provide charging for your employees and customers with the most versatile and dynamic charging system available! Your employees will be able to charge their vehicle at faster rate and you can offer charging as a payroll benefit without driver cost, or be reimbursed for the energy used, each time someone plugs in!

cost

Our systems cost up to half of standard offerings and, in most cases, eliminate the need to and cost of bringing additional power to the building. Easily grow and expand your charger network as demand requires and go well beyond the five to ten chargers you may be limited to without introducing our revolutionary products.

what is the first step to get a project started?

Review this post and the rest of our site, then contact us to set up a free evaluation of your project. Our team members are charging experts, here to help you understand the process and find the best solution for your business!

HOW TO GET IN TOUCH

Leading Charge can be reached by contacting the Northwest Partners office line, Monday-Friday 7A-5P: (206) 784-0920

You can email us any time at: info@northwestpartnersllc.com

At no additional cost to your project, our team will:

  • Meet with you at your property to discuss options
  • Recommend the best system for your current and future needs
  • Provide you the opportunity for competitive bidding for your project
  • Monitor your installation and make recommendations as applicable

CAR CHARGING FOR APARTMENTS

how can leading charge help future-proof your investment?

Our team offers building developers, owners, and operators the ability to attract and retain high quality residents to multi-family buildings with state-of-the-art car charging in the parking lot or garage! Affordably priced electric vehicles are rapidly increasing in popularity, and residents are willing to pay $25 to $50 more each month for a parking stall with dedicated charging. New technology allows for electric use tracking, billing, and reimbursement to the owner!

cost

Our systems cost up to half of standard offerings and, in most cases, eliminate the need to and cost of bringing additional power to the building. Easily grow and expand your charger network as demand requires and go well beyond the five to ten chargers you may be limited to without introducing our revolutionary products.

what is the first step to get a project started?

Review this post and the rest of our site, then contact us to set up a free evaluation of your property. Our team members are charging experts, here to help you understand the process and find the best solution for your investment!

HOW TO GET IN TOUCH

Leading Charge can be reached by contacting the Northwest Partners office line, Monday-Friday 7A-5P: (206) 784-0920

You can email us any time at: info@northwestpartnersllc.com

At no additional cost to your project, our team will:

  • Meet with you at your property to discuss options
  • Recommend the best system for your current and future needs
  • Provide you the opportunity for competitive bidding for your project
  • Monitor your installation and make recommendations as applicable

CAR CHARGING FOR CONDOMINIUMS​

Leading Charge offers condominium associations the ability to provide charging for your property without bringing new power from the street! Our systems allow for up to hundreds of chargers, rather than the five to ten allowed based on your current electric system’s configuration. All owners get equal access to excess electric capacity and the cost of electricity used in charging is tracked for each individual and reimbursed to the homeowner association.

cost

Our system costs about half of standard offerings and in most cases, eliminates the cost of bringing additional power to the building.

what is the first step to get a project started?

Review this post and the rest of our site, then contact us to set up a free evaluation of your property. Our team members are charging experts, here to help you understand the process and find the best solution for your community!

HOW TO GET IN TOUCH

Leading Charge can be reached by contacting the Northwest Partners office line, Monday-Friday 7A-5P: (206) 784-0920

You can email us any time at: info@northwestpartnersllc.com

At no additional cost to your project, our team will:

  • Meet with you at your property to discuss options
  • Recommend the best system for your current and future needs
  • Provide you the opportunity for competitive bidding for your project
  • Monitor your installation and make recommendations as applicable