M&T Electric | Feature Article
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Are You Future Ready?

Twin Cities Electrician Leads the Charge for EV Charging Solutions for Multi-Tenant Communities and Businesses.

As the Electric Vehicle (EV) and EV Charging industry continue to hold the national spotlight, the scurry remains within the industry across multiple frontiers. Education and public awareness, infrastructure development, and products and services are all areas that will support rapid growth for the anticipated number of EVs that will be on the road. Industry professionals are traveling at light speed to find their footing. There is still a lot to be learned, especially where deeper understanding and intelligent planning are critical to long-term success.

Cities, utility companies, and community partners race to understand infrastructure requirements and their increasing demands. Charging station manufacturers and installers work around the clock to evolve the products and processes to meet the rising needs. All seek to improve the availability and access to EV charging stations in homes, multi-unit dwellings, retail/commercial parking areas, and commercial fleets.

In the Twin Cities area, Tim Chapeau and his team at M&T Electric lead the charge for EV charging station installations. Chapeau’s team specializes in multi-unit dwellings, commercial properties, and business fleets that make up a considerable portion of the market demand.

Anticipating the current climate, Chapeau and his team have spent the last two years refining the process for a scalable and efficient solution. As a result, they have developed a process that allows them to move residential communities into multi-station environments quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively into a “Future Ready” state. M&T’s turnkey solution has made them a go-to for businesses throughout the Twin Cities area who want to position their properties to meet both immediate and future demands for their tenants and patrons.

We spent a few minutes with Chapeau after the recent completion of scalable EV Charging installations at Falls and Pinnacle Towers (two prominent Minneapolis properties) and were able to gain some insight.

“It’s a reality for multi-tenant communities,” sites Chapeau. “The increased demand for EV charging stations, especially for multi-unit and commercial facilities, is through the roof right now, and everyone is scrambling to make a move.”

Forecasts predict that market revenue currently valued at $9.6 Billion/year (2020) will increase to $70 billion by 2026. This will trickle down rapidly to residential and multi-tenant communities, shopping malls, grocery stores, even the industrial sector. For multi-tenant communities sitting in the higher demand segment of the residential sector, it is estimated that the average number of Electric Vehicles per tenant property will increase from 9 to 34 by 2024.

So, what’s the secret to his success? According to Chapeau, it’s all about people, process, and working with the right products. Chapeau also states that understanding and demystifying some of the misconceptions and barriers to entry for customers plays a significant role in helping them make better long-term decisions.

Dissecting Chapeau’s theory also provided an opportunity to talk about some of these misconceptions surrounding EV charging technology that can affect the decision-making process.

Let’s go in reverse order and start with products. Tell me about your alignment with what you call “SmartPower” products and how you came to work with them.

“SmartPower is the new approach to EV Charging solutions that uses a high-efficiency power-sharing technology. The long and short is that it is just a far better fit for multi-unit and commercial properties. Working with SmartPower products, we are frequently able to get up to 10x the number of charging stations in place using the same amount of power that traditional (one-at-a-time) installations would require for 1-2 stations.

Plus, the products we use allow us to manage the entire installation process and make it super easy and painless for customers.”

Let’s talk about that process. What’s the difference between your process and other typical installations?

“The old approach to installing stations was just to put them in one at a time using miscellaneous equipment (and usually different installers). This was fine initially because most locations only put in a few charging stations.

When you need multiple stations, it becomes a different ball game. A lot of time and money get wasted going back to the drawing board to manage power allocation, safety, and a bunch of other factors.

Our process puts a plan in place first that considers both immediate and future needs. We do this to make sure that we maximize the use of all existing power resources before having to make any upgrades. It also ensures getting far more charging stations in place for a lot less money down the road.

We were working out our process well before the current surge in demand. We have the tools and resources in place for customers that allow us to cover most or all of the legwork for things like tenant surveys and permitting – things that slow things up if someone isn’t on top of it. If a customer does need additional power, we can do that work and manage all of the details with the utility company.”

What’s the worst thing that can happen if a residential or commercial property doesn’t manage all of this correctly?

“Well, the first thing I think of is safety. If I went out and bought 30 plug-in EV chargers and plugged them in at a single property, I would very likely take down power for all or part of the facility. It would also create both fire hazards and code violations.”

It seems like there are many pieces to the puzzle between power assessment, product allocation, installation, support, etc. So how do you manage it all?

“We have been doing this for a while, so we understand how it all works. We have experience working with HOA Boards and business owners and have learned how they need things to work. Also, and more importantly, we use experienced installers and trained professionals for all of our installations. They know what they are doing. As a result, they make fewer mistakes and are better with customers.”

What would you say is the biggest misconception about EV Charging solutions from customers?

“The most common is the misconception that property owners and managers have is that they don’t have enough power for what they need. One-at-a-time installations feed this misconception because they are extremely inefficient and over-utilize available power resources. They end up buying a lot more power before they need to instead of utilizing available power that would allow for many more charging stations if appropriately used. Our process saves a lot of money.”

How does this not create work for property management staff and business owners, especially with billing? How does customer billing get managed with your solutions?

“It’s pretty seamless and hands-off for property managers and business owners. The usage billing is all direct to the individual tenants, and they can manage it online. Also, during the planning and installation process, we manage the majority of the legwork for things like inspectors and utility requirements. We even survey the tenants (residents) and help confirm interest and commitment levels.”

What would you want customers to know about working with you and your team?

“We are experienced and stand by our work. We have been installing EV charging stations since 2012, and we took the time to understand the industry and develop our process before getting involved. Because it’s a hot ticket item, you will see a lot of people jumping in the game. As electrical contractors, we have also been supporting property management companies throughout the Twin Cities with our full-service electrical contracting business since 2007.”

Aside from recommending your services, what suggestions would you offer to property management companies and business owners to investigate EV charging solutions?

“I would advise them to consider their current and future needs and to have a long-term plan in place before installing stations to avoid re-work down the road. I would also advise them to establish a long-term relationship with an installer that can manage their needs both now and in the future.”

In the meantime, the EV charging industry isn’t going anywhere. With consumer needs multiplying exponentially over the next few years, M&T is prepared for the journey ahead.

“It’s exciting to be on the leading edge of an already leading-edge industry,” cites Chapeau. “It’s fun and challenging, and we are constantly learning.”

Would you like to learn more about EV Charging Solutions for your property or business?
Call M&T Electric today at 651-967-0280 or contact us online to receive our Get Started kit and to schedule a free consultation.

Why Should You Choose M&T Electric For Your EV Charging Solutions

We work exclusively with multi-unit dwellings, commercial properties and businesses.

We are power sharing experts. We have been installing EV charging stations since 2012.

We stand by our work. We guarantee superior products and exceptional service.