3 Tips for Charging Your Electric Car at Your Apartment

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3 Tips for Charging Your Electric Car at Your Apartment

Megan Foukes · Sep 8, 2022
Electric cars fill up on juice at a traditional EV charging station.

With people trying to be more eco-friendly and cut down their carbon emissions, it’s no surprise that electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming a hot option for car buyers across America. However, not all states and cities are yet suitable for EVs, and finding places to charge cars can be a problem.

If you’re looking to get an EV but live in an apartment, here are 3 tips for charging it up at home:

Types of EV Charging

Not all EV chargers are the same. Before we get into the tips, it’s important to understand the different types of charging available for EVs:

— Level 1 charging: Basic level of charging. This can use a standard 120V household option. You will get around 4 to 5 miles of range per hour.
— Level 2 charging: Requiring 240 volts, you get more mileage, usually 12 to 20 miles of range per hour.
— DC fast charging: Using 800+ volts, this is the fastest charge available for EVs.

Although it would be convenient to have a DC fast charge to use, it’s important to be realistic about charging expectations where you live. If you own a home, you can install a charger that uses over 800 volts and not worry about the length of time it will take to fully charge your car. In an apartment, however, you will more than likely be using Level 1 charging. Not only will it take significantly longer to fully charge the EV this way, but you will also increase your electric bill. It’s important to make sure this is financially feasible for you and doesn’t cause you to go over budget.

Look for Apartments with EV Charging Available

Luxury apartment building boasts several EV charging stations for residents.

If you’ve been considering moving out of your current apartment and into a new one, you may want to consider looking for apartments that offer EV charging as an amenity. Just as you would when searching for apartments that have the usual amenities (i.e. pool, laundry facilities, extra storage), you can also look for charging stations.

Because EVs are still fairly new to many areas in the US, it may be a bit more difficult to find an apartment with EV capabilities outside of big cities. Try asking around if you live in a smaller neighborhood and see if anyone has any recommendations on apartments that may implement EV charging. If none of the places you’re interested in do, ask if they plan on incorporating charging stations for residents in the near future.

Use a Heavy-Duty Extension Cord

This tip may not be applicable to some, but if your apartment is close to your vehicle, you can purchase a heavy-duty extension cord and plug in the car directly from your unit. As mentioned above, this will take awhile to get a full charge, and you may rack up your electric bill. You also run the risk of someone damaging or stealing the cord since it will be out in the open.

Tip: Before you go out and do this, talk to your landlord. It’s important that they’re aware of your situation so they can respond accordingly. Even in the worst-case scenario, it’s better to be told “no” before you start than it is to be fined or evicted while you’re in the middle of charging.

Charge While Out and About

Two happy friends stop to fast charge their EV while out on the town.

When living in an apartment, you’ll more than likely be using Level 1 charging for your EV. However, if you’re willing to do some research, you may be able to snag some Level 2 or DC fast chargers that are close to your apartment. If you go into the office for work, you can utilize charging stations at or near your workplace. If you work from home, you could plan a day to work outside of your apartment, and charge your EV while running errands or working at a different location for a couple of hours. To search for fast-charging stations, use apps like PlugShare or OpenChargeMap to get accurate results.

Being Eco-Friendly

There are many ways you can go green while living in an apartment. Buying an electric car is undoubtedly one of the most popular. Unfortunately, not all living situations are suitable for the EV life. Apartments are notorious for packing in as many tenants as possible to fill the space, and it can be tough to find an apartment that’s close enough to your car to allow for easy charging. Make sure you plan ahead if you are going to purchase an EV. If you already have an EV and are moving into a new apartment, do your research before jumping the gun and signing a lease. Double check that you won’t have any issues charging at or near your building, and calculate how much you plan on driving on a daily and weekly basis.

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