Apartment living with an electric vehicle

When considering a purchase of an electric vehicle (EV) one of the requirements that comes up is a designated spot to charge the vehicle. This seems simple enough to meet but can be a barrier for apartment or condo living, especially since not all designated parking spots are next to a power outlet. So, can you own an EV while living in an apartment or condo? Yes, you absolutely can. Here’s how.

EV charging needs

Before we talk about charging options, it’s important to think about consumption. Will you really need to be charging your EV every night for your daily commute? Probably not, considering the average Nova Scotian only drives 45 kilometres (km) per day, with the vehicle sitting for long periods between uses, like while you’re at work for example.

You could even get by only charging once every few days, or even once a week depending on how far your commute is. For example, an EV like the Chevrolet Bolt has a range of 383km per charge, so the average Nova Scotian could easily get a week of commuting in on each charge.

Charging options

There are plenty of other ways to charge an EV that can easily fit into a daily or weekly routine. In an ideal world, you’d be able to put the vehicle on to charge once you get home at night, the same as you do with your cell phone. However, while that’s not always an option if you’re living at an apartment or condo, there are a number of charging options you can use.

You can charge an EV on a regular wall outlet, and any EV you purchase will come with a Level 1 charger suitable for these outlets. They typically add around 7-9 km of range per hour of charge, which is slower than the other options, but if your EV is sitting while you’re at work all day it’s the perfect top up.

Level 2 chargers will get the job done much faster, as they use a 240 Volt outlet and add about 30km of range for every hour of charge. They’re commonly found at public charging stations, but you can also get one installed in your home. If you plan to get your charging done while out, check out websites like PlugShare to find charging options that are close to you. Knowing where the nearest fast chargers (or Level 3 chargers) are to your home and work will make living with an EV much easier. Level 3 chargers use a 480 Volt system that add up to 250 km of range for every hour of charge. Typically, these chargers will be able to get an EV’s battery to 80 per cent charge in approximately 30 minutes, making them an easy stop on the way home.

Charging at your apartment or condo

If your building doesn’t have dedicated EV chargers, there are some steps you can take giving yourself a reliable charging option at your apartment or condo, provided the installation is approved by the landlord, owner or condo board, of course. Remember, a regular wall outlet will charge your EV. It’s slower than the other options, but if it’s all you’ve got it’s perfect for an overnight charge.

There are options to install Level 2 chargers in shared residences like a condo. It involves the installation of a Demand Charge Controller to ensure any new installations comply with the hardware limitations of the shared infrastructure, but considering dealers often include a  Level 2 Charger upon purchase of an EV, it could be worth the extra effort. To learn more, you can watch a detailed explanation of the technology and process by the team at Electrek.

Not yet ready to step into a full EV?

If you want some of the benefits associated with buying an EV, like a reduced carbon footprint and government rebates on your purchase, but are unsure about going fully electric, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is a great alternative.

A PHEV can still run on electric power alone, and be charged at home or charging station, but it also has a gasoline engine to take over on longer journeys. Some of these have driving modes that allows them to operate like regular hybrids too, allowing the gasoline engine to charge the battery while you’re driving the vehicle.

The Next Ride team are touring Nova Scotia and want you to experience the excitement of electric vehicles. Book yourself in for a test drive and see how an EV could fit your lifestyle.

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