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Virtually every vehicle manufacturer who sells vehicles in the U.S. has announced that it will transition all or most of their vehicle production to electric vehicles (“EV’s”) within the next 5-15 years, with dozens of new EV’s coming out in the next few years alone. This mirrors what is occurring worldwide. For many years Tesla, Nissan and General Motors have already been selling EV’s in the U.S. and throughout the world and have been accepted by a growing segment of the population. I have personally driven an EV since 2014 and have enjoyed its effortless driving experience, lack of maintenance and repairs, and the ability to safely and inexpensively charge at home as needed.
For those who have not been following the EV transition, the U.S. has been developing a nationwide EV charging infrastructure, anticipating the transition. Correspondingly, the Biden Administration seeks to accelerate the EV charging infrastructure nationwide. Just recently the Biden Administration has set an ambitious target of having EV’s comprise 50% of new vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are approximately 43,000 public EV charging stations and 120,000 charging ports in the U.S. at present. Tesla itself has over 1,170 Supercharger locations across the U.S. allowing for seamless cross-country travel. Tesla itself sold almost one million EVs last year and more drivers and auto manufacturers are joining the EV transition. While a transition to EV’s might seem like a long time away, the demand already exists, sales are increasing, and the ramifications of this transportation transition have some immediate effects on manufactured home and RV communities.
As millions more EV’s are sold in the U.S., their owners will insist on the ability to charge at their primary and secondary homes, including locations where they have a manufactured home, park model or RV. I have no doubt that many residents will prefer the safety and convenience of charging at their own homesite and paying directly for the electricity consumed as part of their electric bill as opposed to going to off-site charging locations. Wise landlords must be prepared to address the electric requirements needed to charge EV’s on their properties. Although most current EV’s can be slowly charged merely by plugging into a standard 110-volt wall outlet, more voltage, such as 220, is needed for more desirable faster charging. That is where landlords must step in and provide appropriate on-site charging capabilities.
As an alternative to charging at homesites, some landlords may elect, at least for the short-term, to provide centralized charging stations at one or more locations in their community, whereby tenants can charge as needed and pay the landlord for the opportunity to charge. Wise landlords should determine, as soon as possible, whether individual homesites or the community in general have sufficient electrical service to support EV charging.
I anticipate that in coming years both potential and existing tenants will contact landlords to determine whether they can charge an EV at their homesite or other locations within their rental communities. If EV charging is inconvenient or unavailable in a community, the tenants will look elsewhere and the landlords without EV charging will lose the potential to secure long-term tenants. Indeed, when I travel distances in my EV, I go to restaurants and hotels that offer on-site EV charging, spending my money at those businesses. I anticipate the same will occur with manufactured home and RV communities and that it will be a financially wise decision for landlords to make EV charging available.
I recommend that landlords get a jump on this change in technology, confirm whether their existing electrical infrastructure will support EV charging at individual homesites, or at a minimum, at landlord-designated locations in the community whereby tenants can charge as needed and pay the landlord for the opportunity to charge. Landlords might also need to plan for electrical upgrades to provide EV charging and the cost might be offset by additional revenues and/or profits from providing EV charging.
I anticipate that tenants will soon be insisting on the ability to charge their EVs in your communities. Those who supply EV charging will be at the forefront of the industry and will be able to market their communities to EV owners, keep existing tenants, secure new long-term tenants, maintain lower vacancy rates and potentially earn profits on the electricity supplied.
Now is a good time to have your electrical system evaluated. If your current electrical system is already in need of repair or upgrading, make sure that you engage appropriate professionals to evaluate the system, determine the requirements for EV charging, and implement necessary upgrades. If you are planning to purchase a community, you should undertake, as part of your due diligence, an evaluation of the current and future ability to provide EV charging. If an appropriate electrical infrastructure is not in place, you may want to take that cost into consideration when making a purchase offer.
I recognize that EV’s and EV charging and infrastructure might be a new concept to many landlords. So, feel free to contact me if you have questions.
John A. Buric is an attorney and MHCA member who has represented landlords and the mobile home, manufactured home and RV industries since the 1980’s. John and his firm provide full-service representation to the manufactured housing and RV industries. For additional information, Mr. Buric can be reached at (602) 264-7101 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This content of this article is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered as rendering legal advice. Subsequent changes in the laws could materially affect the opinions contained in the article. Current legal advice should always be sought on any particular matter.