As the adoption of electric vehicles in North America accelerates, an increasing number of HOAs and property managers are faced with challenges in finding the right EV charging solution for their multi-unit communities. While managed, subscription-based options exist, these typically lock communities into expensive, complex, long-term contracts. A multi-unit community in San Francisco, California recently found their solution with the Wallbox Pulsar Plus.
As is increasingly the case at multi-unit properties, the 320 Alabama Street HOA was tasked with addressing increased demand for EV charging from unit owners. Each individual owner was seeking their own charging solution, but with more than a dozen EV owners and with challenging physical limitations within the building, the HOA wanted to find a standardized solution that would simplify the installation and allow individual owners to charge their EVs while not limiting or affecting other residents who might want to install EV charging in the future.
For the installation to be successful, the HOA wanted to ensure that
- Power usage was billed directly to the unit
- The HOA would not be responsible for the installation costs
- Power would be distributed equitably based on the limits of the building and future potential demand.
The HOA turned to San Francisco-based Coil Electric to help them identify and install the right EV charging solution for their condominium community. Based on the needs of the building and owners, Coil determined that the Wallbox Pulsar Plus was the best option for the community.
“The HOA was looking for a charging solution that they didn’t have to manage, didn’t have to pay a monthly subscription fee to maintain, and which had the flexibility to grow in the future,” said Raymond Difley, President 320 Alabama HOA. “On top of that, the HOA was concerned about the power demands of connecting multiple, independent chargers, so finding a solution that allowed chargers to work together was also an important selling point.”
“The Pulsar Plus ticked all the boxes for what the HOA was looking for,” said Bobby Penn, General Manager of Coil. “Power Sharing was the first thing that we looked at, and while a couple other chargers offer a version of this, no one else implements powersharing as simply and as reliably as the way Wallbox does.”
The independent nature of the Wallbox system was also a key selling point. “Most of the other solutions explored by the HOA came with long-term contracts, considerable ongoing monthly fees, and complicated billing and reimbursement schemes,” Penn added. “The simplicity of the Wallbox solution made Pulsar Plus an easy choice.”
For this project, Coil installed and networked 13 Pulsar Plus chargers, with sufficient room for the remaining unit owners to join the system in the future. Coil utilized a meter tap arrangement that runs a dedicated EV circuit from each unit’s electrical service to a sub-panel that in turn serves the individual charger assigned to the unit, allowing for direct billing to each owner based on their own consumption. “Installation was straightforward and made easier with clear installation guidance and documentation from Wallbox,” Penn said.
Wallbox chargers, including the Pulsar Plus, utilize a thin wire CAN-Bus configuration for Power Sharing, allowing each charger to work together to dynamically balance power delivery to each connected vehicle and ensure that total demand does not exceed the power available to the chargers. In combination with the onboard intelligence inside each charger, Wallbox Power Sharing works without the need for an active Internet connection, which is often both expensive and a challenge, especially for underground parking areas.
“Our client is thrilled to have solved their EV charging challenge with a solution that is easy to use, lets owners operate and manage their own EV charging, and doesn’t require a monthly fee to maintain,” Penn said. “The owners are happy in knowing that the system is working to charge their cars, while the HOA is happy knowing that the system is working to charge everyone’s EV while keeping the building’s power supply from overloading.”
As one of the first multi-unit installations of the new Pulsar Plus in the United States, the Wallbox North America team worked closely with the Coil Electric team throughout the process, from pre-sales support and training through the final installation and configuration of the Power Sharing system, ensuring a seamless experience, both for Coil and for the HOA. Penn remarked, “Wallbox was fantastic throughout the process. This is a true partnership and we are thrilled to be working together with the Wallbox team.”
“While we originally targeted the Pulsar Plus for single-family residences, the technology is ideal for multi-unit installations as well,” said Brett Graessle, head of sales and business development for Wallbox North America. “Together with Coil, we have quickly proven this concept with this installation in San Francisco, and we are excited to work with all our partners to bring our technology to more homes and communities across North America.”