Can I Still Drive an EV, if I Don’t Have a Garage?Jul 22nd, 2022
We’ve heard it before: you’re interested in making the switch to an electric vehicle but still have reservations about making the change. It’s not the range you’re worried about, or the unfamiliar silence of the engine—it’s the fact that you don’t have a place to plug your vehicle in overnight.
So, you might ask “can I still drive an EV without a garage?”
In short, yes.
Not having a dedicated personal space like a garage doesn’t mean you can’t charge your electric vehicle. However, charging your EV requires more than just an external electric outlet. You’ll want to have an electrician install a hardwired charging station ( an EVSE). If you have electric service and a dedicated area in which to park, this might work for you. However, this unfortunately may not be practical for some prospective EV drivers out there.
So, what do I do if I live in an apartment?
If you think about it, drivers in the Portland metropolitan area (or any densely populated area) will without a doubt benefit the most from driving an EV. In the city, you tend to drive slower and take shorter trips. However, while infrastructure is rapidly improving, those living in apartment and condominium buildings still seldom have access to onsite charging stations.
One option is to take advantage of the EV chargers at your workplace. Some companies have installed electric car chargers in their garages and parking lots for their employees to use. Workplace charging is still not especially commonplace, so this may not be a solution for everyone. Consider checking out these EV mobile Apps for 2022 to help you locate the nearest public charging station to you. It would be a smart move to join a charging network like ChargePoint, or EVgo, which will make the process of using a changing station faster and easier.
As far as public chargers go, you will most often find them installed in retail parking lots, hotels, new-car dealerships ( like ours!), and even on some city curbsides. While most public EVSE units deliver Level 2 charging service, some provide Level 3 charging also known as DC Fast Charging. Many Levels 2 chargers remain free to use for the public, but you’ll generally have to pay for DC Fast Charging. Some places allow pricing based on the kilowatt-hours (or kWh) of electricity used, while others only allow providers to charge on a per-minute basis.
Another option for apartment dwellers would be to petition your landlord or management company to have an EVSE installed in the building’s parking lot or garage, either at your assigned space or in a common area for residents’ use. For its part, the ChargePoint company says it will work with your building’s property manager to find a way to install EV chargers.
While there are different challenges to being an EV owner living in an apartment or shared space, it’s not impossible. If you really think about it, we don’t have gasoline stations in our apartment complexes (for obvious reasons), and you’ve always gotten along fine that way.
Let us know in the comments if you’re an EV owner who lives in an apartment, and what your preferred way to charge up is!