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More and more people are driving electric cars. It is important to have the entire charging infrastructure in good order. Housing associations also have a stake in this.

The group of drivers of electric vehicles is growing and so is the demand for charging points. This is why 23 housing corporations have teamed up with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and market parties to explore options for charging electric cars. Recently, four Amsterdam housing corporations and the City of Amsterdam made a model policy document available to the public. Fellow corporations and landlords can use this to draft or improve their charging station policies.

Electric vehicles are steadily becoming cheaper and the used market is also growing. Around 15 percent of renters are expected to drive an electric car by 2030. This means that the demand for the ability to recharge will also be felt by housing corporations. Collectively, parties have therefore tasked Bureau Huur & Energie Consult agency with providing guidance. How can charging points be rolled out safely? The report they released provides answers to legal, technical and financial questions.

Maarten Corpeleijn is an energy consultant at Huur & Energie Consult and carried out the research. “It is important that housing corporations and homeowners’ sssociations (HOAs) start catering to electric drivers. We are seeing a lot of HOAs where electric drivers have already started arranging things themselves, with or without the permission of the HOA board. In many cases this is expensive, unsafe, can’t be expanded, and nothing has been regulated around monitoring and the payment of charging fees.”

Corpeleijn hopes that housing corporations will take a proactive approach in response to the report. “We argue in the report that it is often a better idea to make a collective provision for charging points as a housing corporation, rather than leaving it up to residents or HOAs. We all have to be in step with the transition to electric driving, including housing corporations. If you don’t look forward, you will eventually have a problem.”

Existing buildings and new buildings

As a housing corporation, it is advantageous to invest in charging stations for several reasons, Corpeleijn explains in the same vein as the report. In existing apartment complexes, you can clearly see problems that are starting to emerge around charging infrastructure, because charging infrastructure was not taken into account back in the day. “Each resident often has their own parking space. If people then start driving an electric car, each parking spot has to be fitted with a charging point separately. If tenants have to install their own charging station and connect it themselves to the collective meter box, then they have to run a very long stretch of cable. If everyone does that for themselves, it’s impractical, expensive and also not always fire-safe. They also sometimes charge unsafely straight from a socket.”

Recommendations are made in the report for existing buildings. For example, agreements should be reached on how charging stations can be connected and who will make what level of investment in them.

For new buildings and renovations, the document describes how to make smart investments in charging stations. “From a charging perspective, it’s really nice if not everyone has their own spot anymore, or electric cars are all parked together. You can then put charging points in a part of your garage, for example, the least attractive spots far from the entrance. Tenants will then only park there when they need to charge. The idea that everyone should have their own charging point is outmoded: we also like to share gas stations with each other.”

Revenue model

In addition to improving efficiency and fire safety by proactively investing in charging stations, Corpeleijn says there is also a revenue model for housing corporations. “Using the electricity in an apartment complex is cheaper than charging on the street. So tenants prefer to charge at home. Corporations and HOAs can recoup their investments; either by a surcharge on the electricity rate, or by charging more money for parking spaces where a charging infrastructure is present.”

Role of the government

Along with recommendations for housing corporations, the report concludes by looking at the role of government in the transition to electric driving. Regulations governing corporations and charging infrastructure need to be improved. For example, corporations are currently not allowed to supply power to renters of parking spaces who do not otherwise live in the building and have no relationship with the corporation. So they can rent a parking space, but are not allowed to use charging stations. 

“It is time for the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations to correct this mistake. When the housing law was written, simply no one had given any thought to this situation. Fortunately, this concerns a small group, and I expect that this group will also be served the end as well,” Corpeleijn adds.