16 Jan Electric Cars in the CIC
Technology has brought us to a point where car buyers can easily afford family friendly electric vehicles. Home builders have acknowledged this trend, and many include common area charging stations in their overall design. In newer communities it’s even become normal to have the CC&Rs include architectural guidelines specific to the installation of permanent stations. But what if your association is 10, 20 or 30 years old?
For single-family homes, if the plan is to charge a vehicle in the driveway, the association could require information on permits, the type of charging station and the certifications of the electrician that installed the socket or completed any rewiring. Even if charging will be completed inside the closed garage and will not impact the exterior of the home, it may be best to notify the board. This gives the homeowner a chance to answer questions and dispel any myths related to electric car ownership.
Adding a charging station to a private garage in a condominium association would probably be treated the same as adding it to a single-family home. But when it comes to shared parking in a condo complex, input and approval from the board would definitely be required. The time to have the discussion is before a car is purchased because there are a number of reasons the request could be denied. The board would have to consider:
- Will power be provided by the homeowner or the association
- Would a metered station be available so the association can bill back the owner the exact amount of electricity used
- How will the station be restricted so that only those paying the additional fee would be able to use the station
- What permits are required
- Is there a specific license (besides electrician) needed to install the station
- What equipment would be installed
- Will rewiring be required
- Is there a change needed to association insurance to accommodate having the station
- Who would be responsible for the cost of installation and maintenance
- Who would be responsible for handling issues related to vandalism
- Would a resident impact survey be required before deciding on the installation
While some would argue that electric vehicles fall under the same umbrella as solar panels, solar screens and rain barrel irrigation units, the fact is that even if the board wants to accommodate the resident, not all parking areas are going to be suited to this kind of equipment.
This doesn’t mean a resident couldn’t purchase the latest Leaf. It simply means that if an association makes a good faith effort to work with the owner to create a station and the problems are insurmountable, the car owner will need to take advantage of other urban charging locations. Websites such as PlugShare, ChargeHub and ChargePoint can provide directions to free or low-cost charging sites and their apps usually include text notifications when the vehicle is ready to go.
When considering the purchase of an electric vehicle and the need for a charging station, remember to speak with the association board as soon as possible. A simple conversation can go a long way to helping your community embrace this new technology.