A Desert Community Charges Up
Milagro is a literal oasis in the desert: a lush, sustainability-focused 28 townhome cohousing community on the west side of Tucson.
The environmentally designed community features adobe block homes with passive solar orientation, rooftop passive solar hot water heaters, as well as a water conservation system that includes wastewater treatment and recycling, and underground irrigation for interior spaces.
Such thoughtful design means that homeowners enjoy an unusually verdant, sanctuary-like environment with a shared community garden, rainwater cisterns, citrus and pomegranate trees, and more.
But there was also something the community felt was missing from their green refuge. As electric vehicles have moved from novelty to mainstream in recent years, residents began having conversations about adding EV charging stations to their water-permeable parking lot.
Getting Ahead of the Curve
Ken Schachter, a homeowner on the community taskforce that oversaw the project, describes why the community was interested in EV chargers: “Our goal is to do our part to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and slow climate change. We wanted to get ahead of the curve; to have adequate charging capacity for many residents to be able to easily own and operate electric vehicles.”
Homeowners were certainly interested in having ready access to convenient, fast charging. But one big question remained: how to finance it?
An EV Dream Realized
An enterprising homeowner went online to research options and found TEP’s Smart Charging Program, which provided exactly the support that Schachter says “enabled us to move forward with our dream.”
A rebate from TEP helped make the project affordable enough that the cohousing community’s vision could become a reality. The residents of Milagro decided to install three dual port load-sharing level 2 chargers, for a total of six ports in their community parking lot.
The Future is Electric
This Tucson cohousing community is the latest example of a multifamily property that has benefited from more affordable EV charger installation. TEP’s program has also helped a variety of retail operations, hospitality, nonprofits, businesses and more make the transition toward a transportation future full of electric vehicles.
It turns out that installing the EV chargers has already had a ripple effect at Milagro. “Those of us who were waiting for adequate charging infrastructure before buying electric vehicles can now make the switch!” says Schachter.
Residents are even discussing ways they might harness solar energy from their carport roofs to generate electricity to power the EV charging stations in the future. An investment in EV charging technology appears to be the right move for this multigenerational community—one that can benefit their families and homes for years to come.