Navigating the Labyrinth of Buying an Electric Vehicle

By: Peter Vierthaler

As gas prices climb, electric vehicles are becoming more attractive to the general population. The demand for electric vehicles is high and most producers can’t keep up. All car makers are having difficulty obtaining parts and chips to complete new vehicles. Tesla has indicated production will be hampered by supply chain issues and has postponed production for their Cybertruck for another year. Ford, which is producing the F-150 and Mustang electric vehicles is warning that demand is high, but shortages are hampering all vehicle production. Shortages may cost them an additional $1.5 billion in 2022. Other manufacturers are having similar problems.

As drivers ponder a switch to an electric vehicle, they will need to consider the following before buying. How much do I want to pay and how long will the payback be for lower fuel and maintenance costs? How much do I drive and at how many miles will it take to offset the embedded carbon (pollution created from manufacturing the car) from zero carbon driving? What will I use the vehicle for and what features are important to me? Where will I charge, how convenient will it be, and how much will I pay for it?

As difficult as it is for me to say, not everyone should buy an electric vehicle right away. Some people drive very little. It takes about 15,000 miles, on average, of driving an electric vehicle before the embedded carbon is negated from driving carbon free. If you drive only 3,000 miles a year it might be best to wait a few years to buy your electric vehicle. By then the cost will come down, the driving range will increase, and the manufacturing of the vehicles and batteries will be less carbon intensive.

The ideal candidates for electric vehicles today, are those driving long commutes, ride share vehicles, delivery vehicles and pick-up trucks. Ride share and delivery vehicles can be in service for 8 hours a day and more, often being driven 30,000 miles per year. The embedded carbon is negated after just 6 months.

Pick-up trucks, especially those used in the construction industry are gas hogs, often only achieving 8 to 12 miles per gallon and being driven long distances. Companies like Ford, Tesla and Rivian are addressing this problem and offering these drivers an alternative. These trucks also double as a power source for tools and possibly as a whole home back-up generator. In general the fuel savings from electric vehicles will be significant, the maintenance about half the cost and longevity of the vehicles perhaps double.

As an example, I drive my Tesla an average of 18,000 miles per year and at today’s gas price save $4,400 in fueling costs, compared to a gas vehicle with similar horsepower and acceleration. Over the past 6 years my maintenance costs have been about $4,500 and I have over 110,000 miles on the odometer. My battery range has reduced in range from 270 miles to 245 miles. The range reduction has become a non-issue because of the added charging stations since my purchase.

Charging is becoming less of a problem every day. Tesla has continued to add charging stations throughout the country and companies like Electrify America have been installing charging for all other non-Tesla vehicles. There is $7.5 billion available now from the Federal government to install even more chargers. Traveling the interstates has never been easier with an electric car. Installing a plug or charger in your home is easy and costs between $500 and $1500 and many vehicles can charge at work.

The trouble comes when trying to charge a vehicle at an apartment or condominium building. Apartment owners must make a significant investment in infrastructure, and it isn’t clear to them what the return on their investment will be. Condominium owners must achieve consensus from fifty percent or more of the owners to approve funding for chargers. All residents must be given equal access to the excess electric capacity of the property. These can be a challenge!

Leading Charge has significant experience in helping businesses, apartments, and condominiums find the right charging system for them. Contact us to help you understand the options and the costs associated with each.

Generate Income with Community EV Charging at Your Property

-Peter Vierthaler

One year ago I installed a smart charger at my property in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. I have solar panels on the roof and was generating much more electricity than I could use. I had one parking space situated right next to the electric room that was ideal for vehicles from the local community to come and charge. There wasn’t another charger for a half mile in any direction. It was slow going at first and took a while for the charger to get much use.

At about 6 months in I began to see more activity. I am not sure why it stepped up, maybe more EV purchases in the surrounding neighborhood. Today we are at about 25 charges per month. Mostly regulars but I do see some guests as well. I have kept the price low to help gain momentum.

I only charge $0.95 per hour, most chargers run about $1.50 per hour. I decided to leave it at $0.95 per hour until the 31st of March when Seattle City Light takes away the 25,000 Kwh that I had stored up over the past 4 years. Thereafter I am hoping that my solar generation will equal the charging usage. Ideally my electricity cost will be close to zero and I will be able to pocket the charging fees.

There are two methods of billing drivers for charging. The first is by the number of Kwh used and the second is an hourly charge based on time the vehicle is plugged in. I charge on an hourly basis which works out better than charging per Kwh delivered. I get paid even while the vehicle is plugged in and not charging. This adds about 20 percent to my revenue stream. I currently generate about $80 per month in gross income. Net income will depend on the cost of your electricity.

If you have available public parking you may want to look into being a fueling station for your community. Check the PlugShare app first to see how much available charging there is around you and how far away it is. EV drivers aren’t going to want to walk more than 3 to 4 blocks to your charger. Do you have enough density surrounding you? Single family homes will typically have their own chargers and won’t need yours.

If you are considering community charging let us know. Leading Charge can analyze your neighborhood and let you know which will be the optimal charger(s) for your location!

EV and Low-Income Housing: Equitable Electrification

Guest Author: Sophia Davis

Since electric vehicles (EVs) have hit the market, consumers have expressed clear interests in their economic and environmental benefits compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. In contrast to internal combustion engines, EVs are known for their energy efficiency along with high performance and minimal maintenance costs. Financially, EVs provide consumers with cost-saving benefits. In 2018, a study by the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation found that the annual cost of a driving a typical gasoline car was $1,117 while EVs cost drivers only $485.[1] EVs are also linked to reduced utility costs as “added utility revenue puts downward pressure on rates.”[2] Additionally, EVs have zero tailpipe emissions. For reference, a typical vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.[3] With these statistics, it is no wonder the City of Seattle is committed to have 30% EVs on the road by 2030.[4]

The use of EVs seems like an obvious choice; however, EVs often have a major drawback being their high initial cost. Currently, the average EV costs $19,000 more than the average gasoline-powered vehicle.[5] In economic forecasts, the now-steep investment in buying an EV is to be reduced by EVs’ growing market, as technological advancements and increased production volumes are lowering the costs of both charging infrastructure and in EVs.[6] By 2030, the average 250-mile EV is projected to cost $900 less to buy than the average gasoline vehicle.[7]

The good news is that China and Europe are manufacturing electric vehicles that sell for under $25,000. These vehicles are selling mostly in China and Europe where gas prices are high. As manufacturing increases many of these models will begin to make their way to the United States.

Regardless of projections surrounding the EV market, the interest in EVs cross economic boundaries. In a study by Consumer Reports and the Union of Concerned Scientist, 31% of potential EV buyers made under $50,000 a year.[8] The need for EVs in affordable housing is strengthened by the fact that low-income households often spend larger proportions of their income on vehicle-related expenses, comprised of initial purchase price and the ongoing gasoline and maintenance costs.[9] As the purchase price of EVs declines, more low-income households will be able to purchase an EV. For low-income purchasers, an EV intuitively reduces their proportional expenses related to vehicle ownership as EVs have lower fuel and maintenance costs than gasoline-powered vehicles.[10]

As Seattle sees an increase in EVs, so does the city’s need for EV infrastructure. The most affordable option for EV drivers in Seattle is at-home charging. A feasibility study by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency found that to facilitate EVs in low-income communities, “[m]ulti-family housing needs to provide charging infrastructure by requiring all new construction to include charging infrastructure.” [11] The report also found that there is a strong interest in electric car-share programs from affordable housing organizations. [12] Affordable housing projects must be able to accommodate the ever-growing EV market and the movement towards equitable electrification in the EV market.

[1] Microsoft Word – SWT-2018-1.docx (umich.edu)

[2] Luke Tonachel, director of NRDC’s Clean Vehicles and Fuels Group – Electric vs. Gas: Is It Cheaper to Drive an EV? | NRDC

[3] Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle | US EPA

[4] City charging infrastructure needs to reach electric vehicle goals: The case of Seattle (theicct.org)

[5] Electric vs. Gas: Is It Cheaper to Drive an EV? | NRDC

[6] City charging infrastructure needs to reach electric vehicle goals: The case of Seattle (theicct.org)

[7] When might lower-income drivers benefit from electric vehicles? Quantifying the economic equity implications of electric vehicle adoption (theicct.org)

[8] Survey Shows Strong Support for Electric Vehicles | Union of Concerned Scientists (ucsusa.org)

[9] When might lower-income drivers benefit from electric vehicles? Quantifying the economic equity implications of electric vehicle adoption (theicct.org)

[10] When might lower-income drivers benefit from electric vehicles? Quantifying the economic equity implications of electric vehicle adoption (theicct.org)

[11] Findings from Literature Review: Facilitating Low Income Utilization of Electric Vehicles (wa.gov)

[12] Findings from Affordable Housing Organizations: Facilitating Low Income Utilization of Electric Vehicles (wa.gov)

Driving a Tesla on the German Autobahn

Driving a Tesla on the German Autobahn by Peter Vierthaler

Have you ever wanted to drive fast on the German superhighway called the Autobahn? I recently rented a Tesla 3 in Amsterdam for just 75 Euro per day with free charging. A Tesla 3 performs just as well on the Autobahn or maybe better than many BMW, Mercedes and Porsche models that can rent for 200 Euro per day and more.

Usually, I take the train but this time I rented a car from UFO Drive, an Amsterdam based company that rents only electric vehicles. My experience with UFO didn’t get off to a good start. The pickup address was a construction site. I walked around for a half hour looking for access to the garage until I decided to give them a call.

“Hello, I can’t find the address to pick up the car.”

“Go to the Hilton and take the elevator down to level -2.”

“The address of the Hilton is 130 not 154”, I exclaimed.

“Yes, that is correct” she said. I just left it at that.

“Is there an attendant that can help me?”

“No, please use the app.”

Tesla 3 Rented from UFO Drive in Amsterdam

I walked to the Hilton and found my way down to the level -2. After a few more minutes of wandering, I came upon the bank of Tesla 3s against the south wall. Faced with a group of near identical cars, I struggled to identify which one was mine. My booking showed me nothing, but the app I had just uploaded showed the plate number. I found my car, pushed the unlock symbol and the mirrors popped out. The car was open. I threw my carry-on into the trunk, sat down, pushed the start button, and headed to the exit. I was on my way! In retrospect I could have saved myself some time by watching the introduction video but who wants to watch a video to pick up a car?!

Soon after driving out of the garage, I received my first speeding ticket of 65 Euros. I didn’t know about it until I received the final UFO bill. I am anticipating a few more tickets in the coming weeks.

My journey took me in a big loop, Amsterdam-Stuttgart, Stuttgart-Salzburg, Salzburg-Graz, Graz back to Amsterdam. It is the last leg from Graz to Amsterdam that I want to tell you about. I had just one day to get back to Amsterdam. My sister was scheduled for surgery and she wanted me to bring her to the hospital the next day, I had to be there. The distance is 1220 kilometers (approximately 768 miles) and 12 hours is what the navigator told me it would take. “I’ll arrive around 7 pm”, I told her.

Autobahn route from Austria to the Netherlands. Notice the large amount of construction alerts along the way!

I left my aunt’s place at 7 am weaving through back roads to get to the Autobahn. All good when I entered the world famous Autobahn, but then I hit the tunnels. Austria is incredibly mountainous and there is no way to build an Autobahn without tunnels, lots of them. As a kid I enjoyed them but now they just slowed me down. Had the navigator adjusted for the reduced speed of 100 km/hr (62 mph)? At the German border I looked again, arrival time 7:30 pm, the tunnels and the charging stop had cost me a half hour!

German “no speed limit” sign

5 km (3 mi) into Germany, there it was, the round white sign with five black lines running through it,  no speed limit! I pushed the accelerator to the floor and the Tesla leapt forward, pushing me back into my seat. I felt a kind of freedom that you can’t find anywhere else. With the Stones turned up high I toyed with speeds over 180 Km/hr (120 mph). Adrenaline rushed through my body as I passed reached 190, then 200. Now I was sure I could make up for lost time, or so I thought.

The fun was short lived. The first of a series of construction signs appeared. The signs looked innocent enough, just a worker with a shovel digging into a small pile of dirt. The reality was much different: 100s of workers driving massive equipment into mountain size pile of dirt. This construction zone was 15 km (9 mi) long and at a speed of only 80 km/hr (50mph). About 30% of my trip would be construction zones. Was the navigator taking these into consideration?

The trip through Germany continued in much the same way. Other speed reductions included quiet zones at 120 (74 mph), sharp curves from 80 to 120, passing trucks (sometimes taking 5 kilometers , or 3 miles, to pass another truck) at 80, and epic stand-still traffic jams. Altogether these accounted for 70% of my trip leaving only 30% to drive fast, and that I did. It takes a while to get used to the higher speeds. I am fairly comfortable staying steady at 180 km/hr (111 mph) but nursed the Tesla up to 220 km/hr (136 mph) on one particularly empty stretch of highway just outside of Frankfurt.

It takes practice to drive like a seasoned German racer and here is what you need to know………

. . . As long as trucks don’t try to aggressively pass!

It takes a while to learn the rules of the road. The most important rule is to pass only on the left. Passing on the right is taboo, enrages fellow drivers and can get you a ticket. The second most important rule is to stay right unless passing—something that is often overlooked by state troopers in the US. As fast as you think you may be, a seasoned German Autobahn veteran will make you feel like you are standing still. Slowing a veteran in the left lane is the ultimate sin and can usher a response ranging from blinking lights to outright vehicular harassment. One such driver veered into my lane just inches in from the front of my car, sharing a well understood hand signal. Sometimes you need a break from this craziness and that is where the convenience of self-driving comes in.

This Tesla 3 was outfitted with all of the current self-driving options, and it took me a while to figure them out. UFO drive had sent me a link explaining self-driving, which again I didn’t read—why make it easy? Clicking down on the drive lever once starts the cruise control. I set the cruise control for 4 Kmh (2.5 mph) over the speed limit. Once activated it uses regenerative breaking to keep you three seconds from the car in front of you. This is especially useful at slow speeds and in traffic jams. Self-driving includes lane control as well.

Clicking down twice starts the self-steering that keeps you centered in the lane. Self-steering does not engage at speeds over 150 km/h (93 mph) and the system throws tantrums (alarms blaring and lights flashing) if you exceeded 150 km/h (93 mph) while engaged. Self-steering requires hands on the wheel and if after 3 warnings that you aren’t complying it will shut down, much like a slap on your hand. The navigator plays a crucial role in optimizing the self-driving experience.

The navigator knows the current speed limit and displays it. This is very helpful in Europe because speed limits are constantly fluxuating, and it is a part of what makes speed limit enforced Autobahn driving so stressful. Exceed this speed limit by little more than 5 km/h (just 3 mph!) and a bright flash indicates a ticket is on the way. I was blitzed (the German word for a camera flash) twice that I know of. Tesla provides an alarm that chimes at a set speed to keep you in line. Be careful though, the navigator does have its weak points and often misses construction zone limits and can misinterprets fog and quiet limits as the overarching speed limit. That caused me confusion and lead to a lot of blinking head lights in my rear-view mirror.

At my third charging stop I scrolled to the destination time. My arrival was now 8:30. I had lost an hour and a half at the half-way mark……………… was the Tesla navigator and system to blame?

Tesla does a great job with the navigating your route. It knows where you are and in seconds maps your destination inclusive of charging stops. Don’t try to second guess the navigator. It is on your side. It will work to minimize your travel time. One thing that will throw it off are fast speeds. It assumes that you will be traveling at the speed limit. In the case of the Autobahn, it assumes a maximum of 130 km/h (80 mph). Anything above that will increase your need for charging. Don’t assume that because you are driving faster that you will arrive sooner. The added drag at high speeds will drain your battery faster than the speed will advance you. More often than not you will arrive at your destination faster if you stick to the speed limit. Boring!

Finding the chargers can be a challenge. The navigator will get you close but a charging bank is often in a back corner of a large property. You will almost never find directional signs and you may have to hunt for a while. The charging cords are easy to plug in. The charging app will indicate the length of charge. It is smart to stick with the recommended charging time. To little and you might not make it to the next charger, too much and it will lengthen your arrival time. Now that you’re plugged in, it’s time to eat!

Charging stops run the gambit from traditional gas stations with a German restaurant to exclusive electric vehicle stations operated by Tesla and others. My first charging stop was a Courtyard hotel with charging way in the back. I plugged in and had 40 minutes to kill. I walked a quarter mile to the lobby and found a fantastic breakfast buffet. It featured pancakes, waffles, eggs, sausage and as many cappuccino as I could drink. Not every station restaurant is that plush. More often than not, McDonalds, Burger King and KFC are your only options. My fourth stop was a gravel parking lot with only a McDonalds a block away. I grabbed my Filet-o-Fish, fries and cola and sauntered back to the chargers. I had 15 minutes left to down the food.

The “Tesla Charging Table”
Traditional German fare . . where could we be?

I took another look at the destination time, 8:55, 2 hours behind my original estimate. I called my sister to let her know, no dinner together tonight. I continued with my trip with 2 chargers left to go.

The fifth charger was the last one in Germany. I was busy on the phone and missed the off ramp. No worries, the navigator showed a U-turn opportunity in just 5 km (3 mi) ahead. I ended the call and watched intently for the next off ramp. I exited, crossed the bridge, and started down the ramp. Half-way down I slammed the breaks…. a car was coming at me in reverse. I pulled to the side, walked down further and in front of me an upside down Mercedes. The driver was sitting up against the car, the medics, and a crowd had formed a semi-circle around him. He looked like he was in good hands. I returned to the car, backed up the ramp, and turned to the navigator for help. It showed me a country road to get back to the charger. 20 minutes later I entered the charging station. It was different, no gas pumps, only high-speed DC fast chargers. This was the first charging only fueling station on my route.

I plugged in and needed 45 minutes of charge. Uggh… I checked my destination time, 9:30, two and a half hours more than the original estimate. By this point I was exhausted and losing my patience. I got out of the car and walked into the restaurant, just lettuce in coolers on both sides of me. It looked like salads were the big option here. A far cry from the burgers, sausages and pork knuckles I had come to expect at other charging stops. I wasn’t hungry though and purchased another large coffee to go.

I had time to kill so walked around the station. About half of the chargers were in use and the roofs were loaded with solar panels. There were no gas pumps, leaky nozzles, no tanks to fill, no fuel trucks. The fuel is simply delivered from underground power lines—something one could rarely find stateside.

I walked back to my car and saw through the window that the charging session was complete. I clicked to unlock the door but nothing happened. “Oh no!” this can’t be. I checked the trunk to make sure it was closed. It was. Now what? I turned to the chat on the app and typed my message. “MY DOOR WON’T OPEN. IS SOMEONE THERE? A minute later I got a call and after giving my birthdate the door opened. Phew! I was on my way again.

My last charging stop was in Holland. It was a small charging station with 8 chargers. I left my door unlocked this time. It was late, 8:30, and the Burger King was closed. I settled for a package of cashews and another cup of coffee from the gas station next door. I waited for 200 km (124 mi) of charge and took another look at the destination time, 10 pm. Three more hours than estimated, 15 hours in total.

My final link to Amsterdam was fairly uneventful except for another “blitz” and a 10-minute detour. I pulled into my sisters at 10:10. I was physically and mentally exhausted but had a smile on my face. I parked the car and packed my luggage up the stairs. My sister door was closed and she was fast asleep.

I sat on the couch, my bed when in town, and reflected on the day. I had lived a fantasy of many drivers globally, driving unlimited on the German Autobahn. The Tesla 3 had performed admirably and was everything that I had come to expect from a Tesla. I was happy that UFO Drive had made such a great car available for such a low price and I had saved $500 in gas because the charging was free. I had driven 1500 km (932 mi) over the allotment and was charged an additional $450, understandable. Would I do it again? You bet I would! UFO drive has several locations throughout Europe, and I would highly recommend them for a guaranteed thrill on your next European vacation.

….and by the way my sister’s surgery was a success and she recovered in record time!

Tesla only charging station in Germany near the Dutch border. The rooves were all solar!

Beat the Rush!

Beat The Rush!

After more than a decade of hype, there are signs that the electric vehicle (EV) market is becoming a reality. That portends well for the sellers of EV charging equipment (EVSE). The industry has been somewhat ahead of its time, but EVs are finally catching up.

Now there are 30 plus manufacturers of electric vehicles all at different stages of their output. Everything from the high-end, exclusively EV Tesla with production of around 1,000,000 per year to Ford with just 20,000 per year.

Ford is already selling its electric version of the Mustang and will begin sales of its F-150 truck this spring. The F-150 focuses on utility, and will provide plug in power for tools and act as a generator for home power outages. Both features are of huge value to suburban contractors and homeowners. I am a big fan of converting legacy vehicles to electric because they already have a customer base. I am betting that Ford will come out a winner in the coming years. Ford expects to ramp up EV production to 40 to 50% of its total production by 2030.

Along with more EV production and competition come reduced vehicle prices. The lowest I have seen is for the Dacia Spring. It is sold in Europe by Renault and is built in China. It has a range of 150 miles and is priced under $22,000, and with incentives: under $16,000. Eventually vehicles such as these will become available in the U.S.. What does all of this mean for property owners that want to stay ahead of the curve for EV charging? Hurry!

Why the hurry? Because as EV adoption explodes the demand for load managed charging will explode as well. Load managed systems can charge many times the vehicles without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for electric transformer and capacity upgrades. Unfortunately, the companies with the best systems are still in their infancy and lead times have increased due to manufacturing capacity, the availability of parts, and a shortage of qualified electricians.

Leading Charge is at the forefront of the best, low cost, technologies available in the industry and can be your guide to the best charging technology specific to your building. If you are serious about providing your EV owners with a convenient and inexpensive method of fueling and want to create more revenue, increased resident retention and a higher property value, the time is now!

Generating Income in New Ways; Introducing EV Charging as an Amenity

Vehicle charging for multifamily buildings generates income and increases building value.

As more properties understand the value proposition, we are seeing our pipeline for multifamily and condominium charging grow significantly. At the same time, energy conservation is helping to reduce the cost of charging infrastructure. 

Developers are beginning to see the potential for a new revenue stream, and are including charging in their plans and specifications. Some projects in California are already netting $100 per stall, per month. Where developers were incorporating just 2 to 5 chargers last year, we are seeing several projects specifying 10 to 50 chargers. On average we are seeing about 5% of new parking spaces designated as charging spaces.

Condominiums are leading the way for retrofitting EV charger stations.

Condominium charging demand is being driven by the 2-5% of electric vehicle owners who are actively petitioning their boards to bring charging to the garage. On one high rise tower, a proactive board had already engaged an engineering firm to determine the source for the power to charge. It was determined that the building had 900 amps available. With proper load management this can easily charge 100 vehicles.

Simple conservation measures can reduce the cost for both new and existing multifamily buildings. Reduced loads in common areas -such as garage/entry/hall lighting, common area insulation, unit insulation and electric water heater use- and in units can almost eliminate the need to bring extra charging capacity to buildings.

This is the first of many blog posts that I hope you will find useful as you look to maximize the potential of your new and/or existing building. In my next post we will discuss simple energy conservation measures for cost savings and EV charging maximization.

Using Microgrids to Enhance Charging Capacity at Existing Properties

New technology for existing buildings brings big opportunities to reduce expenses, generate income, and create new capacity for electric vehicle charging. With energy retrofits and solar panels, we can save money and generate income for all properties with parking. By creating microgrids, we can take advantage of new-found electric capacity to charge more vehicles.

Excess electric capacity can be diverted in real-time for vehicle charging. With capacity optimization, many properties will never have to add outside capacity to maximize vehicle charging potential.

The Challenge

Does your apartment, condominium, office, commercial or government building have the electric capacity it needs to charge vehicles?

The answer isn’t simple and can depend on many factors. The traditional cost to bring new wiring and upgrade the electrical system can be expensive and depends on the size of your building, location of the electric strike, main feed conduit size, electric room size, the number of chargers desired and their energy needs. Many of these costly upgrades are no longer necessary.

The opportunity

The good news is that technology is catching up and we can make use of microgrids to maximize electric capacity, in every property class, to an extent never thought possible.

For a multifamily building in Seattle, an electrician completed a 30-day survey of actual electricity used by the entire building in one of the coldest Decembers on record. He determined that there was enough capacity to add an additional apartment unit, laundry machines in eight (8) existing units, and charging for five (5) vehicles. I later learned that most buildings’ electrical usage peaks at about half to two-thirds the capacity that it was designed for. This building had a 400-amp service but never peaked at more than 200 amps.

The news gets better. We can supplement this available capacity even more by making the following changes where appropriate:

  • Installing highly insulating double or triple pane windows.
  • Adding thickness or density to insulation in walls ceilings or crawlspaces.
  • Installing air barrier membranes when residing to limit air movement.
  • Installing energy efficient appliances.
  • Changing to low flow aerators where electric hot water is dispensed.
  • Adding solar panels and battery packs.
  • Converting fluorescent and incandescent lighting to LED.

The best news is that engineers have developed a unique method for tapping both the existing, unused and newly created capacity for vehicle charging. It is called “power allocation.”

The solution

Power allocation simply means directing unused electric capacity to car charging when electricity isn’t being used in your building. It redirects power in real-time to and from car chargers. The biggest benefit comes at night when most building capacity goes unused.

Now every building with parking can benefit from power allocation, and existing buildings can better compete with new.

The most advanced microgrid technology allows you to manage the charging rate of up to 100 vehicles at the same time. Drivers access an app and enter driving miles desired and time of departure. A load management controller handles the rest.

This comprehensive system bills vehicle owners for power consumed and sends out an end of charging session notification. A dashboard tracks CO2 emission reduction, miles charged, kWh delivered, number of vehicles online, etc. The system uses algorithms to predict future charging requirements.

This technology is also available to new buildings to help them meet building code driven requirements for vehicle charging. This helps new buildings eliminate the expense of bringing in more electric capacity for car charging. The cost can vary dramatically based upon the size of the building and the amount of parking.

Revenue and equity

The opportunity to add revenue and increase equity for any property is alluring. Every property with a parking component can benefit. Parking spaces with dedicated vehicle chargers rent for more and will produce more net income. 

are you ready for the future?

Electric and plug-in cars are the wave of the future. Your residents and/or employees will want them for a variety of reasons including climate change, fuel-cost savings, reduced maintenance, and for exceptional performance. Regardless the reason your tenants choose an electric car you will want to take advantage of the profit  potential by becoming the fuelling station of the future.

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: Brian@LeadingCharge.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

Project Profile – EV Charging for The Village @ Edmonds Westgate

Project Name: The Village Apartments at Westgate

Address: Edmonds WA

Project Description: 91 rental units with both surface and underground parking.

 

Need: The property is new development, completed in 2019, and wanted a solution for introducing charging that would provide savings on electric service infrastructure while still offering the ability to grow with more chargers as the demand for electrical vehicles increases.

Management’s Request:  Create a solution for car charging at The Village that would provide additional income for the property. It should provide billing capability for monthly charges, hook-up fees and/or for the full reimbursement of electric costs.

Leading Charge Solution: Install one load management controller and seven car charging stations, two are fully reserved and five are first-come, first-serve. The load management controller can eventually manage up to 100 chargers in any configuration required by building management. Also:

  • Power for car charging will be available on every parking level.
  • EV owners are charged an extra $25 on top of the regular monthly parking fees for first-come, first-served chargers, and an extra $50 on top of regular monthly parking fees for fully reserved chargers.
  • A $15.00 per month, per charger fee allows for activation and support of the online app. The app is used to manage the drivers’ charging and bill a credit card for fees and electricity reimbursement.
  • The proprietary app allows for customized billing options for each charging space. This includes reimbursement for the power used by the vehicle.
  • Additional chargers are easy to add as demand for charging increases.
  • Management is provided an online, real time, dashboard to track charging statistics and power usage.

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