What are the primary barriers for MUD residents adopting EVs? Studies indicate several consistent barriers, including the following.
Obstacles Associated with Installing EV Infrastructure at Existing MUDs
Two primary obstacles to installing EV infrastructure at existing MUDs are the risk of having to update the building to code and insufficient electrical supply.
Electrical upgrades necessary to support EV charging infrastructure are often expensive, especially when trenching is part of the project. Digging up the ground to lay wiring is more common with older buildings. However, the location of newer structures may also require laying the wires underground. Getting buildings up to code is often enough to turn existing MUDs away from EV charging. The costs are often considered too prohibitive.
More investments in EV infrastructure in older buildings and disadvantaged communities are often necessary.
The charging infrastructure is just part of the hidden costs associated with an EV charging network. In our blog, EV Charging Infrastructure – Developing a Plan, we cover all of the hidden costs you need to be aware of before starting and EV charging project for your MUD.
When the same individuals responsible for paying the utility bills are different from those making investment and upgrade decisions, it can be difficult for either one to justify the expense of installing EV infrastructure. MUD residents do not make purchasing decisions for MUD buildings. Instead, building owners, managers, or HOA handle these decisions. Most look for ways to spend as little capital as possible on the property. It’s a frequent problem for renters who also face barriers when it comes to other property improvements.
Building owners and managers with tight budgets often find installing EV chargers competes with other essential projects. It’s also unclear if money earmarked for building improvement projects can be part of the necessary financing for electrical and code upgrades.
While there are EV charger incentives for MUDs, property owners do not always see a return on the investment. One possible solution is to charge EV drivers a fee. It brings in additional revenue to help offset installation costs, but it’s also crucial to keep the chargers use affordable for tenants.
Parking Issues and EV Chargers
Available parking is often a challenge at MUDs. Where residents park typically determines the placement of the chargers. Tenants cannot install EV chargers at their meters, and most MUDs have assigned parking. It is too cost prohibitive to install chargers at every parking spot and not all drivers may want to switch to accommodate EV charging.
Shared community areas like parking lots can accommodate EV chargers when an electrical supply is nearby. However, these chargers are often at a first-come-first serve basis, meaning not everyone has the opportunity to charge their vehicles. Installing EV chargers can also limit parking spots which is a problem when the building is completely occupied. Losing a few spots to chargers may mean some tenants are searching for a parking space away from the building.
Getting approval for EV infrastructure from utilities takes time and can add to project costs. When electrical upgrades are necessary, additional costs and delays are common. The type of chargers also affects project timelines. For example, fast DC chargers tend to incur more delays due to their higher electrical load.
A Lack of Private Capital for EV Chargers
Public capital is available for MUDs to help offset EV infrastructure costs. However, these programs have limits when it comes to meeting climate and public health goals.
Using public capital is an effective way to make EV projects more affordable for MUDs. For it to be effective, utilities need to allow third parties to act as vendors. The scenario is currently in effect in California. The public funds are considered helpful, but most MUD owners and managers agree private capital is more sustainable.
Challenges to Consumer Awareness
Even though the spotlight is being shown on the growing need for EV chargers at MUD buildings, not all building owners and residents are familiar with EVs and don’t see a need to support their charging.
Tenants may place other building improvements over EV infrastructure. Residents may also have concerns about building management decisions regarding EV charging pricing and reliability.
The costs associated with purchasing and installing EV chargers remains a primary obstacle, even when incentives are available. Increased awareness of the benefits of EV charging, like cleaner air and lower transportation costs, can help tenants and MUD building owners begin to see the value in EV chargers.
EV Chargers for MUDs with Apogee Charging Solutions
If you are a building owner or an HOA looking for more information on EV chargers for your MUD, our Apogee Charging Solutions experts are available to assist. We offer a fully turn-key EV charger solution that includes incentives, grants, product, permitting, installation, and operational management.