As the automotive world progresses and the electric car continues to improve (the Tesla Model S was named Motor Tend’s 2013 Car of the Year), and more electric cars being made available to the general public (Money.com said that Chevrolet Volt sales tripled in 2012), leads us to a dilemma. Where does a condo owner charge his electric car? Depending on the association this could be a huge problem or a terribly huge problem.
The real issue is the how does an association get power to an individual condo owner? In an existing building, there’s a lot of infrastructure that would need to be built. Who pays for that? Does the building pay for a main supply in the ramp, then owners pay for their connection to the main? How is that power then metered? Most associations have large chucks of their money tied up in their reserve accounts, so pulling money from that account is out of the question and against state statute. So how would an association pay for something like this? The logical way would be through a special assessment. Now, most associations have a requirement in their governing documents that stipulate a special assessment needs to be voted on by the membership (meaning all of the owners of the building) and it’s usually a super majority that’s needed to pass the measure. So the real issue for electric car owners becomes convincing all of your neighbors to care about you being able to charge your car. That’s the rub. It takes a miracle in associations to pass needed assessments, getting owners on board to fork out their own money so someone else can charge their new car is going to be a very, VERY hard sell.
With all this said, this is a conversation that condominium associations need to have. The electric car is not going away so condo associations will need to find a way to address their charging needs. The failure to act may not hurt now, but as new condos come on line and more electric cars are on the road, you can bet the developers will have thought of it. New developments will be able to have this infrastructure part of the design, and that would cost a lot less than retrofitting an existing building. If I were a developer breaking ground in a new building, I would be adding a power trunk in the ramp that owners could tap off of to add a meter and charging station. Then future owners could do the same thing, much like the storage lockers that some associations offer.
What are your thoughts on this? sound off in the comments.