Any Tesla owners in multi-family struggling to access their buildings chargers?

Hey owners,

I run a small parking technology company, and I wanted to gauge interest in an EV charging feature we're working on. My company helps condo residents share parking spots with other residents of their buildings, and we've recently been approached by a couple buildings that specifically want our help with EV parking.

They seem to fall into one of two categories: (1) They have chargers going into deeded parking spots, but the chargers sit unused most of the time because only the deeded spot owner can use it or (2) They've put chargers in communal parking spaces, and EV owners end up hogging these spots just to park their car, either leaving their car long after it's charged or not even charging at all.

I'm trying to gauge how common this is. We're looking into adding an EV feature to the app where you can mark that your spot has an EV charger, and share that spot with other residents on a calendar when you're not using it — or make communal spots reservable. Spots could be shared/reserved at an hourly/daily fee, which could even cover the costs of electricity.

Is this something people need? Would anyone be interested in beta testing this?

We have one building in San Diego with 97 EV chargers that's pushing really hard for this, but I'm not sure of how most condo buildings handle chargers. Would love any feedback/insight!
- Evan


  • So you are essentially creating a Plug Share app for residents of a condo/apartment building.
  • Looking for that right now.

    Key is how big are the chargers?

    You will have a lot of PHEV customers so that means 3 hrs for a full charge no matter how big the charger. Three hours per charger plus 15 minutes of change over, you'd be able to charge 7 cars per charger per day if you have a valet person doing the moving or are really strict with people on moving after finishing with big idle time charges.

    Bigger chargers, and faster charging EV's 50kW and get 100 miles in 30 minutes, 45 minutes per car including changeover, 32 cars a day.

    Chargepoint typically wants 10% of the revenue so charging at $0.35 kWh, mixing up PHEV's and EV's for 20 total cars, 500 kWh dispensed, $50 a day per charger net profit. 100 chargers per your example, $5,000 a day, $2M+/- a year profit for the building.
  • My advice is that shared residential chargers will only lead to problems because of their inconvenience to residents.
    I'm a long-time EV driver and some investment properties in multi-family complexes with shared parking lots. None offer EV charging yet since I haven't figured out an economically viable means of doing so for these particular places. Expensive installations are required to get enough extra power to parking spaces.
    If you don't have as many charging stations as you do residents with EVs, you'll likely have bad feelings, unhappiness, arguments, and maybe even fights between residents- not something a harmonious community wants.
    Your option 1) seems to be the only one that makes sense unless you actually have enough charging spaces to handle demand and, given the adoption rate of EVs, you will likely always be behind until every parking space has an EV charger.
    The reasons for this are:
    - Tenants will lose a major EV convenience: Probably the biggest convenience of EVs is that one can get home, plug in, and forget about it until the next day when you can be sure it will be full and ready for the day's activities.
    - Charging demand is not uniform distribution over the day: Most charging is done at night, while one is home. During the day, working people are generally not around (COVID work from home excepted) so home chargers are of little value. If you have a high proportion of stay home parents or retirees, this may not be the case.
    - Miss out on low night time rates: Electricity rates are usually lowest in the middle of the night, when people are sleeping. Therefore, it is cheapest to charge from ~10 pm to ~7 am. If you charge flat rates for electricity, you'll lose from those who do charge during the day. If you charge graduated rates, your tenants will mostly want to charge when rates are low.
    As you see, there is little value in trying to share a few charging stations between many residents.
    I suspect that the best business option for a multi-family residential complex would be to install a block of chargers at spaces, then rent those spaces and chargers out for ~$10/month extra + electricity (at market electricity rates), ~$50/month including electricity, or just electricity price at no more than 200% of the market electricity rates (more than 200% and I suspect people will grouse about being overcharged). You might also charge a one-time set-up fee of perhaps $1,000 - $1,500 per space (including charging station) to offset your capital investment costs.
    I wouldn't count on making a whole lot of money off of this, at least initially, since EV drivers know how cheap electricity really is.
    We went through trying to share chargers at my office but the real solution is to just provide more chargers. One can install a dozen for about the same cost as one can install 2.
    Such an investment is likely to 'upscale' the community a bit since most EV drivers think more long-term than the average population. You will undoubtedly get some self-entitled whiners as well with whom you'll have to deal.
    Good luck!
  • > @"Earl and Nagin 08 RDS 359" said: Expensive installations are required to get enough extra power to parking spaces."

    $70k for a new 600A service, 6 x 2 plug Chargepoints, 50kW total, 24kW shared for 12 cars charging. One apartment building put in 15/120 spots. Not shared, tenant pays an extra $50 month plus electric at $0.35.

    They went immediately and owner makes good money on them. He'd do even better if he had them setup for sharing as it attracts more tenants who pay more for housing and parking/charging.
  • @"evan.goldin_98408463" ,
    Beware of the advice of FISHEV. He or it, is the blight on this forum. As you'll find on most threads here all posts are anti-Tesla, anti-EV, or make suggestions that, if taken, will generally lead to unpleasant experiences with EVs.
    Few EV owners will be happy paying $0.35/kWh when the retail price is usually $0.10 to $0.14 at off-peak rates. It is like paying $7/gallon for gasoline when other stations sell for $3/gallon. That $50/month is another $600/year that the driver will also pay. It would be great for you but probably won't be seen favorably by the tenant and will likely be motivation to seek other residence options at the lease end.
    3 kW at each space (~15 amps at 240 volts) is fine but the suggested 15/120 (~1.5 kW) is way too slow, especially at the quoted price.
  • The experience I have with this is with my daughters apt. building and the buildings she was looking at in Evanston Ill. Her building is a 450 unit hi rise with a public parking garage as their parking that has 5 30 amp J1772 spaces with no usage fees. The spaces can not be reserved and are open to the public with parking fees that are less than the city owned garage a block away (which also has 3 hour free charging). I have never had an issue getting one of the chargers when visiting, have never seen anyone else use them and my Daughter says they are rarely used. All the buildings we looked at prior to her moving had at least 2 charging spaces and none of them were in use when we toured the buildings and the mangers said the usage was very light.
  • @Ghammer,
    I guess, in some ways, it's good that the infrastructure is ahead of EV proliferation there in Evanston. Kudos for the foresight.
    It hasn't been that way where I've been or clearly where the OP is (San Diego).
  • There are some chargers around me in a shopping center next to a condo complex. To avoid having people park there all day they put up Chargepoint and other chargers. The ones tgat charge non Teslas fast CCS? are about 30 cents to charge but I don't know if they have a tome limit. The ones tgat charge Teslas are Fred for the first 3 hours and a dollar an hour after that.
    I wss in Vermont and the town had chargers that were cheap to charge at but after 3 hrs it was $1 after 24 hours 4 n hour. This prevents people from leaving cars parked there.
    The town next to me has public chargers with long cords but it says that town owned cars have priority. Some people mentioned that they plugged in their cars only to come back to find them unplugged and a town owned car parked next to them plugged onto the charger instead.
  • I need spellcheck. It's $1 for hours 3-4 and $4 an hour after that.
  • It is interesting to read about the Evanston example above. That is likely just due to very low market penetration of EVs there. In the CA Bay Area - just 4 years back my sister's company had 4 chargers put in at their office parking. After a year and a half they removed them again. What happened? Too many EV drivers fighting over them. Arguments in the parking lot spilled into the office. Management finally put together a schedule and sign up where people could get 90 minutes and then had to move. Then the people were getting up in the middle of meetings and walking out because it was their turn to move their car to the charger. They didn't spend the money to put in more chargers, they just ripped the existing ones out.
  • edited January 23
    > @jerrykham_98166189 said: > Then the people were getting up in the middle of meetings and walking out because it was their turn to move their car to the charger."

    Two people would be doing that, one to move out, one to move in which is fine unless it takes more than 20 minutes for the two people to do the switch.

    And it's not like you can't look at app and see when your charge time is up and plan your move to before or after the meeting if you were the main presenter or the main audience of the presentation.

    Key is setup of self regulating systems. People sign up, have 20 minutes or lose their spot, no "free" charging and that way big charges if you don't move in 20 minutes. Rules like those with no home charging get preference, those with longer commutes get preference. Most people don't need to charge at work, only a few.
  • At my mother's condo they had the same problem. All the snowbirds were fighting over the pickleboard courts. They then had to make a reservation system and post it.
    Same thing with some of the baseball fields or picnic areas at county or town parks. Too many people showing up at the same time wanting to use everything.
    So it's just not charging areas.
  • > @FISHEV said:
    > >people don't need to charge at work, only a few.
    What annoys me is hybrid cars that only get 60 miles of range taking up electric charging areas when they could use gas as a backup. Some of them are cheap and want free charging. One town near me has a town employee that leaves his personal hybrid car plugged in all day.
    But with a Tesla the range is around 300 miles on most models. How many people actually are crazy enough to commute more than 150 miles each way to work each day? You would spend 5 or more hours driving each day.
  • > @Tesla2018 said: > What annoys me is hybrid cars that only get 60 miles of range taking up electric charging areas when they could use gas as a backup."

    We and they don't want them using gas. We want them to be able to drive EV to work, charge up and drive EV home.

    A PHEV withing 25 miles and with home charging would get priority over an EV within 25 miles and with home charging since that would maximize emissions reduction. PHEV needs the work charge to be zero emissions while the EV does not need the work charge, more of a convenience.
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