Clean Cities Works to Eliminate Charging Barriers for Multi-Unit Dwellings

March 6, 2020

Providing expanded options for home charging of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will be important as the market for PEVs continues to grow. Studies have estimated that as much as 90% of PEV charging occurs at residences. Though many organizations are working on charging solutions for single family homes, multi-unit dwellings (MUDs) present some unique challenges including the variety of property styles and architectures, models for access to electric service, parking, and potential capital costs.


The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Vehicle Technologies Office is funding the Vehicle Charging Innovations for Multi-Unit Dwelling project to help identify and address MUD charging issues. The Center for Sustainable Energy, which hosts the San Diego Regional Clean Cities Coalition, is leading a nationwide team of project partners including Virginia Clean Cities and other DOE Clean Cities coalitions; Energetics; Forth; Idaho National Laboratory; the National Association of State Energy Officials; state and local government agencies; MUD property owners; electric utilities, and; charging technology providers. The project team will engage stakeholders to document barriers to MUD and residential curbside PEV charging, gather utilization data from existing MUD and residential curbside charging stations, demonstrate innovative technologies that address barriers, compile project findings in an easy-to-use toolkit, and disseminate the toolkit across national, regional, state and local channels. VCI-MUD project manager, John Livermore, said “Our team is excited to demonstrate how multi-family developers can use innovative approaches to minimize costs and maximize the number of residents that can access charging stations. The project pilots will include technology that eases the administrative burden for property managers, enables multiple vehicles to use a single charging station, and integrates charging stations with the electrical grid.”

Virginia Clean Cities is contributing to the project by:

  • collecting and analyzing data,
  • helping to plan and implement charging infrastructure demonstrations and evaluation, and
  • working to engage partners and otherwise contribute to market transformation in our area.

In Virginia this year, state Senator Scott Surovell introduced SB 630 and successfully led it to passage by both legislative houses. It specifies that members of condominium or other “common interest community associations” may install electric vehicle charging stations in their individually-owned spaces or areas. The measure also protects the association from any liability claims resulting from the installation, maintenance, or operation of charging stations. This should add clarity for property owners in these types of governance arrangements that would like to consider installing their own electric vehicle chargers. Virginia Clean Cities supported this legislation.

Our coalition works to advance air quality improvements, economic opportunity, and energy security through deployment of alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure, education programs, and other petroleum reduction activities. For more information on the Virginia Clean Cities coalition and how you can join us, see our Stakeholders page.

More information on electric vehicle charging for multi-unit dwellings is available from the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.


This article was written by Marc Lemmond of Virginia Clean Cities with input from Kevin Wood of San Diego Clean Cities with the Center for Sustainable Energy.