Consulting EV 1024x384 - Plan Today for Apartment Communities of the Future

Cardinal Group Consulting has been active in the pre-development space recently; working with Owners and Architects during the feasibility and conceptual design phases of several apartment communities in Denver and around the country. Like all developers, our clients are quite interested in rental rates and operating expenses, not to mention designing a physically appealing and operationally efficient community. But in a period of intense technological and life-style changes, how can we know what the future will hold?

One area that we expect to become increasingly important to the overall performance of multifamily communities is the availability of EV charging stations. Tesla has made waves across the automotive industry with its EVs, but they are not the only group investing huge sums into the development of EVs. According to a recent CNBC article, Toyota plans to invest $35 billion into 30 different EVs by 2030 and Nissan plans to spend $18 billion on their EV fleet. Meanwhile, Ford ‘s F-150 Lightning is expected to generate huge sales, considering the F-150 has been America’s best-selling car (not just truck) for 40 straight years and will have a modest $40,000 starting price.

So, what does this mean for new apartment communities? For starters, it likely means significantly more demand for electricity, as residents will likely want to charge their vehicles while at home, but overnight charging is not always the best option for today’s advanced battery technology. While 110-120 volt AC chargers could take up to 18 hours for a full charge, 208-240 AC chargers can cut that time to 2-4 hours and 208 – 480 volt DC chargers can cut that time to only 15 – 45 minutes! Incorporating the appropriate infrastructure to support these charging stations will be paramount to “future proofing” new multifamily communities.

According to a 2018 industry survey conducted by CleanTechnica, about 20% of charging station installations used government subsidies totaling less than $1,000. But commercial incentives can be significant. For example, Colorado provides rebates to multi-unit dwelling owners for up to 80% of charging station costs through its Charge Ahead Colorado program. Further, EV charging stations are now required to be installed on-site in order to receive any sort of LEED certification!

While it may not be necessary to install dozens of charging stations right now, the demand seems to be coming, and coming quickly. That means new apartment communities will need to have the infrastructure in place to efficiently install additional charging stations as demand grows and that means ensuring the appropriate electrical infrastructure is planned and installed during construction to avoid the potentially significant retrofitting costs.

There’s no doubt that it’s difficult to balance future trends and demands with near-term goals, especially when it comes to multifamily developments costing tens of millions of dollars. Cardinal Group Consulting can help developers by thinking about these trends and their impact on operations and the eventual success of the project.

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