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Transition to EV vehicles continues in Rossmoor despite infrastructure hurdles


The electric vehicle industry as a whole may be going through some upheaval so far in 2024, but it appears as though Rossmoor residents’ embrace of the EV isn’t being noticeably affected by the static of EV production changes and overall sales drops.

“I expect there’s a little hesitancy in some peoples’ minds, but it’s also turned into a great opportunity,” said Adrian Byram of Sustainable Rossmoor, with lower prices on several brands and models this year.

That EV-related corporate churn has not put much of a dent into the rising tide of EV ownership in Rossmoor. The latest totals, as kept by GRF reflecting issuance of the “RFID tags” that allow vehicles to freely enter through the front gate, show about 460 electric vehicles registered to Rossmoor residents. Byram said last week that about 360 EVs were so registered in June 2023.

But the landscape for EV owners could stand some improvement, some of them say. Though Rossmoor has 30 “Level 2” chargers located at Gateway, the Event Center and adjacent to the Tice Creek Fitness Center, those aren’t necessarily convenient. Carol Sebilia, who moved to Rossmoor in June 2023, charges her Pruis plug-in hybrid at those stations, but it isn’t always an ideal situation.

Charging her car overnight at those stations, requiring a walk home often in the dark, isn’t generally practical, Sebilia said. “We’re between the proverbial rock and a hard place, because you can’t charge up at home.”

At least not with the recommended Level 2 (240-volt) charging, because most detached carports would require electrical upgrades or specialized equipment, which can be expensive. While EVs can be charged with a standard 120-volt outlet, that method is only capable of producing about five miles of range per hour of charging, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, compared with 25 miles for Level 2.

Carl Brown, chairman of Fourth Mutual’s EV Charging Committee, said, “We cannot afford to have the Mutuals pay for charging, so what we’re looking at is the idea we will put in better power supply systems – upgrades.”

In the shorter term, Brown said, residents likely will have to come up with most of their own solutions, including eventual installation of a few Level 2 chargers per carport. The 1970-era electrical systems in most of the carports now will put limitations on home charging, as will the price tag. Brown said he hopes most Rossmoor residents can obtain greatly improved home charging capabilities in the relatively short term for about $3,000 per residence.

EV vehicle industry flux

The current state of the EV vehicle industry is complicated. Overall, sales of EVs have largely stalled in 2024; EVs accounted for 7.3% of all new vehicle sales in the U.S. in the first three months, which is slightly down from the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the Kelley Blue Book people.

Profits for Tesla, by far the largest maker of EVs, for the first three months of 2024 dropped by 55% from the same period in 2023, according to a report of auto industry analysts canvassed by Yahoo Finance.

The company blamed that partly on lower prices for its own vehicles but said increased prevalence of hybrid vehicles, and more production of them by some manufacturers, have also had an impact.

But several other lower-volume EV builders – BMW, Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Mercedes, Rivian and Vinfast among them – have recorded more than 50% year-over-year growth in EV sales so far in 2024, according to Cox Automotive.

All those companies, except for Vinfast and plus Honda, Fisker, Fiat, Volkswagen and others, are represented on Rossmoor’s roster of EVs. Teslas predominate, but Chevrolet’s Bolt/Volt models, Toyota’s plug-in Prius and Nissan Leaf are also well represented.

Brad Waite has a 2015 Leaf, which he charges with a 240-volt “Level 2” charger he installed at his home. That solution, he said, wouldn’t work with a detached carport.

Waite suggested one possible shortterm solution. “I think the Mutuals should look into putting Level 2 chargers in, perhaps in guest parking spaces, and charge residents to use them,” he said.

Sebilia suggested that chargers similar to those at the Event Center and Gateway could also be installed at Hillside, another high-traffic lot.

Solutions are elusive

Last November, Byram, Brown and other EV advocates approached the GRF Planning Committee about taking concrete steps toward what they called a “Rossmoor-wide EV charging solution” addressing the problem of insufficient electrical infrastructure serving Rossmoor carports.

Byram said little progress has been made so far toward that “Rossmoor- wide” solution; GRF officials have said that will likely require more money than it currently has. This is one reason residents may have to front money to pay for the first home charging systems, said Brown, who would like to see more Mutuals take a harder look at EV charging.

Added Byram, “We’re trying to get different solutions out there we can look at side-by-side.”

Brown said Fourth Mutual doesn’t have very many EVs yet, perhaps 12 or 14. And that number will only grow, he said, whether Rossmoor has a homecharging strategy or even if individual EV builders’ fortunes wax and wane.

“I suspect that number will increase as time goes on,” Brown said.