I recently stumbled upon an interesting article about a California-based company which installs electric car charging stations in private parking garages. Having been contacted by several California community associations looking for a way to accomodate their members’ desire to buy electric cars and charge them in the associations’ private garage, I was excited to see that Coulomb Technologies sells its “ChargePoint” charging stations, which are about the size of a parking meter, for about $2,000, and, according to the article , they are easily installed in most garages which are already wired for lighting.
But wait, it gets better! According to the article, a charging station may actual generate revenue for the association. The electric car owners purchase a subscription from Coulomb Technologies, which entitles them to receive a key fob that activates the charging station, and the association receives 80% of the subscription fee. Of course, to determine whether or not this is a fiscally prudent thing to do, the board of directors would need to determine the cost of the electricity typically needed to charge an electric car as it compares to 80% of the subscription fee. If those numbers don’t add up (if in addition to the cost of the charging station itself the association will be “subsidizing” the cost of the electricity to charge a car), then it strikes me that it would not be fair to the majority of the owners (who don’t have electric cars) to share that expense. According to Coulomb Technologies’ founder and CEO, however, a condo or co-op community could expect not only to break even but to begin seeing a return on investment in about five years.
It also seems to me that, as I have discussed regarding solar panels, a power purchase agreement or lease would be another way to fund the cost of installing these charging stations. The investors purchasing the stations, of course, would receive the subscription fees, not the association, but it would be a way for the association to make this service available to its members without any capital outlay by the association.