Can You Charge an Electric Vehicle if You Live In an Apartment?

Do you currently live in an apartment and want to buy an electric vehicle, but don’t have the means to charge it every night? You’re not alone, and fortunately, you’re not out of luck either. It turns out that there are a few solutions to charging an electric vehicle (EV) even if all you have is a lonely open parking spot in an apartment complex.

Charging an electric car in an apartment complex could take a long time

If you’re planning to buy an electric vehicle (EV) like a Tesla, Nissan Leaf, or maybe even an Audi E-Tron, it’s important to have your ducks in a row when it comes to being able to charge it at night and get the most range in the morning. Ideally, you would have a garage in which you can get a Level 2 charger (240-volt) installed and charge it, but if you live in an apartment complex with open parking, then you might have to get a little crafty.

2019 Audi Etron front shot
2019 Audi Etron | Audi

For starters, US News reports that while access to a Level 2 charger would be ideal, being able to access a Level 1, or a standard 120-volt outlet, could easily suffice when charging up your EV. However, they also noted that while Level 2 charging can add about 25 miles of range every hour, Level 1 charging typically only adds around four miles every hour.

This means that if you can find a standard electric outlet near your parking spot, then you can feasibly charge an EV using an extension cord and the provided Level 1 charging cord. However, just remember that you’ll likely only get around 30 to 60 miles of range between the time you plug it in and the next day when you unplug it.

 A Chevy Bolt is plugged into a new charging station in front of City Hall.
A Chevy Bolt is plugged into a new charging station in front of City Hall. | (Staff photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

RELATED: A Gas-Powered EV Charger Is an Imperfect Solution for Range Anxiety

If your apartment doesn’t have an outlet, charge your EV at work

If you currently live in an apartment complex and don’t have access to a standard electric outlet, then there are other EV charging options as well. For example, if your place of work has a charging station, which is typically a Level 2 charger, then you can charge your EV fully while you’re working an eight-hour workday. However, if you only have access to a Level 1 outlet at work, then you’ll be able to add around 30 miles of range during your work period.

An electric vehicle charges at a Tesla charging station on February 2, 2021
A Tesla charging station | Chen Hao/VCG via Getty Images

RELATED: Is Charging an EV Cheaper Than Putting Gas?

There are other EV charging options as well

But let’s say you don’t have access to a charger at home or at work, then you can always take advantage of the thousands of charging stations that are available to the public. Many of those chargers are Level 2 chargers, but others are fast-charging stations – referred to as Level 3 chargers – that can add 50 to 150 miles of range in around 30 minutes. And if you own a Tesla, then you can also use one of the many Tesla Supercharger stations.

One thing to note is that while many of these public charging stations are free, some of them do charge you to charge. Your best bet is to download an app called “PlugShare” in order to find free or cheap charging stations around your home or work.

A Tesla is plugged in to an electric vehicle charger in Stavanger, Norway
A plug-in electric vehicle charging point in Stavanger, Norway | Carina Johansen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

RELATED: How Do You Charge Your Electric Car During a Power Outage?

If you can’t charge your EV at home, plan ahead

Lastly, whether you’re able to charge your EV in your apartment complex and workplace or not, it’s important to plan ahead in order to get the most range out of your EV. While you might not be able to wake up to a fully charged battery every morning, you can at least figure out your car’s range, your typical commuting distance, and public charging stations in order to get you to where you need to go without any range anxiety.

Ultimately, it’s possible to own an EV when you live in an apartment complex, but it could just take some careful planning.