Electric Vehicles: No Such Thing As Free Electricity

Electric Vehicles: No Such Thing As Free Electricity

April 16, 2014 | Rental Trends, Rental Trends and Real Estate News

The sleek sporty Tesla Model S broke new ground as one of the very first luxury electric vehicles. The car is at the forefront of a burgeoning EV industry that touts the savings to the environment and your pocketbook by switching to electricity to power your car.

[Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Cars]

However, for apartment buildings and condo associations, the cost shift is shaping up to cause a significant stir in future pricing plans.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Gas-powered cars required the driver to directly bear the price of fuel. Electric cars, however, shift fueling costs to building owners. This poses a great problem for owners of multifamily apartment buildings, who wish to install charging stations for their residents.

While only a few electric car owners (they’re still not a mainstream vehicle choice) in the building will benefit from the charging stations, all the residents will need to cover the additional cost of higher energy use.

This has led to certain vitriolic opposition to the electric car movement, with building owners refusing to let individuals charge their vehicles using their outlets. With no way to accurately measure how much electricity the car is using, there is no way to fairly charge the individual for it.

The Pay-As-You-Go Model

Some building owners are more sensitive to the needs of those who drive electric vehicles and allow them to plug in, provided they pay extra for the estimated extra amount of electricity they are consuming. In addition, should plugging in their cars fry the system, the electric car owners are held financially responsible for any damages.

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These types of situations, while beneficial insofar as they provide a place to plug in and recharge, may scare away a number of EV owners who aren’t willing to bear the added expense, especially in the case of a blowout (which could be extremely costly).

An Interesting Alternative

The alternative to this trend is being practiced by certain building owners in Los Angeles and involves higher prices for parking spots. The idea is to make parking an optional add-on feature to the monthly lease. As a result, renters are asked to consider whether driving is really a necessity for their lifestyle.

Charging more per month for a spot near a charger may be a good way to recoup the costs of the added electricity use. While the cost of electricity will most likely total less than your monthly gas bill, it is important to remember it won’t be free.

 

 

[Image Source: Flickr - Guy West]

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