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March 25, 2024

How Chargie And Bell Partners Are Rolling Out EV Charging Nationwide

Modern in-unit appliances and high-end amenities are popular draws for prospective multifamily tenants. But for a growing number of apartment or condo hunters, choosing a home often depends on whether an EV charging station is available.

That is why Bell Partners Inc., one of the nation's largest apartment investment and management companies, prioritized installing reliable EV charging for its residents when it took over ownership and management of Bell South Shore, a 506-unit rental community in Austin.

“When we acquired the property in February, none of the 10 EV ports installed there were operational,” said Cindy Clare, Bell Partners chief operating officer. “Chargie — our EV charging network provider — and our construction services team worked to address this issue seamlessly. Now, many of our residents have been using the new equipment since we activated it less than a month ago.”

Bell Partners’ commitment to providing residents with EV infrastructure extends beyond the EV-friendly environs of Austin. Clare said the company plans to have approximately 350 charging stations installed across its nationwide portfolio by the end of 2025.

“This is something our residents tell us they want,” she said. “And from an environmental, social and corporate governance standpoint, it’s the right thing to do.”

While most American drivers still prefer gas-powered vehicles, EV adoption continues to grow. More than 8% of passenger vehicles registered in 2023 were all-electric. Globally, Tesla's all-electric Model Y was crowned the best-selling car last year.

Even as roadside charging stations become more common, at least in some regions, Chargie estimated that between 80% and 90% of EV charging continues to take place at the vehicle owner’s home or workplace, where people can conveniently leave their vehicles for several hours.

That makes charging stations an attractive building amenity, whether they are installed in a garage at a multifamily property or at an office or other place of business, Chargie CEO Zach Jennings said.

While Bell Partners works hard to ensure its residents are satisfied, the company needed an experienced partner to help it on its EV journey and to make good on resident expectations, Clare said.

She said EV adoption raises three big challenges for a landlord, and Chargie is helping Bell Partners with all of them: (1) managing the upfront installation costs, (2) determining whether the building has the necessary electrical capacity to provide reliable charging service and (3) maintaining the infrastructure long-term.

Jennings said some building owners learn the hard way that installing and providing EV charging is not something they can cobble together on their own, especially if they want to do it at scale across multiple properties.

“When owners or landlords try to go it alone, they tend to end up dissatisfied because they may have chosen the wrong equipment or are using too much power, which raises their costs and limits further expansion,” Jennings said. “EV charging uses heavy-duty infrastructure, and its installation and maintenance are not as simple as having an electrician change a light fixture in your lobby.”

Taking a turnkey approach, Chargie has installed more than 15,000 charging stations for multifamily and office landlords across the country. Jennings estimated that his company’s technical know-how, coupled with its expertise in helping its clients obtain government rebates and subsidies, has saved its customers $100M in avoidable expenses.

Clare said Chargie helped Bell Partners make use of incentives at several of its locations to reduce installation costs. She credited Chargie’s turnkey approach with helping her company navigate the complexities of rolling out a consistent and effective EV charger initiative.

“It’s really important that we have a partner big enough to go wherever we are, to do what is necessary to install and maintain charging infrastructure across our properties, because we're not the EV experts,” Clare said. “And if we’re going to recommend Chargie to our third-party clients, we want to be very comfortable that they can execute anywhere our properties are.”

It isn’t just the private sector that is climbing aboard the EV station wagon. Following up on an executive order that requires all federal vehicle acquisitions to be zero-emission by 2035, the U.S. General Services Administration recently authorized Chargie to operate within federal government systems. The GSA granted the company FedRAMP authorization under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.  

Before it granted this designation, the GSA scrutinized Chargie’s ability to provide dependable and secure service across its growing EV fleet — the same sort of reassurance that Clare said Bell Partners needs from its EV partner.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Chargie,” she said. “We look to replicate the success we’ve had at Bell South Shore across our portfolio, enhancing the customer experience for our residents and guests.”

This article was produced in collaboration between Chargie and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

Studio B is Bisnow’s in-house content and design studio. To learn more about how Studio B can help your team, reach out to studio@bisnow.com.

Contact John Krukowski at john.krukowski@bisnow.com

This article originally appeared on BISNOW.