NBH Rotary Foreign Exchange Student, Jacob Schlutter from Denmark, has been nominated for the Green Skanderborg Prize 2022 for making electric-vehicle charging available in his housing complex.
[electronic translation from original Danish.] This is how the landowners' association got a common charging solution. Bøgehusene is a child-friendly neighborhood near Skanderborg, but it did not go as a game, as a group of residents wanted to set up charging stations. Thorough research, a good plan and a new focus on climate, however, paved the way for a flexible charging solution - also for guests in electric cars.
For Jacob Schlütter, it was in every way the right thing to do when he and his family of four moved into their new home in 2018 - a terraced house from 2008 at Skanderborg Bakker in East Jutland. The beech houses with their 65 households are a child-friendly neighborhood, and the distance to the work, which was then in Aarhus,  was affordable. One thing was missing though: a charging station. The family's Ford Fiesta was to be replaced, and the dream was an electric car.
- Each house in our association has its own permanent parking space, which is located on one of the association's four common parking areas, so I thought  I could just set up a charging stand. This could be done by pulling a cable from my own house and down to my parking space. A quick investigation showed, however, that the excavation work on the 50 meters alone and the establishment of charging stations would cost around DKK 50,000. In addition, the landowners' association,  which owns the common parking areas, was not crazy about the idea that I set up my own charging stations. tells Jacob Schlütter. Instead, he began researching what was being done in other landowners' associations.
First, there was resistance.
Jacob Schlütter therefore contacted his electricity company and asked, "how do you do that?". It ended with him at the landowners' association's general meeting in June 2020 making a proposal that the association establish its own network of charging stations in the parking areas. However, it was far from all neighbors who thought the idea was as good and necessary as Jacob Schlütter thought. Because was it necessary at all? The self-driving cars were just around the corner. And what about the economy and all those who had no plans to buy an electric car? Because it was not too expensive? Such were some of the many questions. The chairman of the association even exclaimed that such a project was not carried out with him as chairman.
- I was probably a little overwhelmed by the reactions and the desire to ask and the doubt and resistance that lay in many of the questions. But when I think about it, most of them were completely natural, and I have to admit that I did not have good answers to them, says Jacob Schlütter, who ended up withdrawing his proposal. 
The dream of an electric car was also dropped in favor of a plug-in hybrid, which then had to be charged at his workplace, Skejby Hospital, if there was otherwise a vacant charging station.
The nerd gets wiser
The idea of ​​a common charging solution had taken hold, however, and a small working group of the association's members began to read up on what it takes to establish charging stations in an association like theirs. 
It became the next year and a half to a myriad of meetings with charging operators, electricity companies and installers. And various financing options were explored, all the while in the working group they slowly became wiser on concepts such as connection fee, load balance, amperes and reimbursement fee.
- The nerd in me stuck to the subject, but I can well understand if some give up, because then stop, where is the whole charging market and the various solutions complex, and where we have spent much of our free time on it. But I also knew that if we were to have a chance to come through with a new proposal, it required that we had answers to everything and every detail, says Jacob Schlütter.
As part of the work, the working group also contacted several of the local real estate agents to hear what access to charging stations means to an association like theirs.
- I do not want to say that their answer was decisive, but it became very important, because according to all the real estate agents we spoke to, access to our own charging station will make our homes more attractive and increase the value of the houses, says Jacob Schlütter. 
He was told that the real estate agents had buyers in the drawer who were actually interested in their neighborhood, but opted out of it due to the lack of charging option.
A safe solution
Meanwhile, the work progressed, and on Bøgehusene's Facebook page, the residents could follow and ask questions, which the working group made sure to answer thoroughly and if necessary accompanied by documentation and calculations. Only in December was the work so far advanced that an information meeting was convened. About 15 of the association's residents showed up to hear more about the proposal for a charging solution that took more and more shape.
- On Facebook, a discussion quickly gets lost on oneliners. Therefore, we convened a meeting where we had the opportunity to elaborate on our proposals and funding, and how charging stations work. At the same time, it gave a good indication of whether we were on the right track in relation to the other residents. And even though there were still skeptics among us, we had a good feeling, says Jacob Schlütter. When the calendar showed December 17, it was time to resubmit the final proposal for a joint charging solution at the landowners' association's extraordinary general meeting.
- Specifically, we ended up proposing a model where the solution rests in itself. For us, it was important that there is no one to profit from this. We also proposed a so-called fixed price agreement, where the electricity costs the same throughout the day. Being a new electric driver requires new habits and for many also security. We estimated that the security that lies in a fixed price would give more people the necessary peace of mind. With a fixed price, the load on the network would also be more evenly distributed throughout the day, because not all residents would charge at the same time when the electricity is cheapest, which in turn had an effect on how many amps we had to buy, explains Jacob Schlütter.
The mood turns
The actual establishment of the charging infrastructure with excavation work, cabling and connection fee would with the proposal cost DKK 500,000, which the group proposed to finance with a 10-year loan. It would prepare all of the association's 65 parking spaces for a charging station at no additional cost. When the individual landowner wants a charging station in his car park, it will easily be possible to set it up for a lump sum of DKK 6,000. Larger investments such as the charging stations in Bøgehusene usually require a two-thirds majority in most landowners' associations, and the association in Skanderborg Bakker is no exception. . With 65 households, it therefore required at least 44 votes in favor of the proposal.
- It is difficult to point to one thing as decisive, but it was noticeable how the mood at the general meeting changed in favor of our proposal. There is no doubt that the legwork we had been doing since the proposal was first made paid off. And then many of the association's members might also have become more aware of how fast the development of electric cars is going, says Jacob Schlütter. In the end, the proposal for charging stations in Bøgehusene was adopted by 45 votes in favor - one more than necessary. Only four voted against.
Fixed price and flexibility
At the end of January, the work started, and on 24 February, Bøgehusene was able to inaugurate their charging stations on the association's four parking areas. They are each supplied with 25 amps, and if more is needed over time, it will be possible to upgrade it. 
Eight households have already got their own charging stations up, and in March, which was the first full month with the new charging stations, 3,000 kWh was distributed on 222 charges.
- There has only been a positive response, and all 65 households will easily be able to set up a charging stand. Eight households have already received one, i.a. my neighbor who also has a plug-in hybrid. Before, she had never charged it, but now she only runs on electricity, says Jacob Schlütter and adds:
- In January, we signed a fixed price agreement with an electricity provider, which runs for one year and means that we charge DKK 2.70 per. kWh. With a refund fee, this means that we charge DKK 1.58 per. kWh. In addition, we pay 10 øre per. kWh, which goes to maintenance of the charging stations, and DKK 69 per. month in subscription to our charging operator. But we are no more bound than that we can easily change electricity company or charging operator if we get a better offer. The actual charging infrastructure underground, which is the big investment, we own ourselves. The association has also set up a guest charger, where visitors can charge DKK 3 per person.
Missing advice
Today, the charging stations have been in operation for two months, and the rumors about Bøgehusene's charging infrastructure have reached all over the country. And at the city hall, the project has been nominated for the new NBH Rotary Foreign Exchange Student, Jacob Schlutte from Denmark, has been nominated for the Green Skanderborg Prize 2022 for making electric-charging available in his housing complex.  The group has experienced enormous interest and curiosity for the project - both from other landowner associations in Skanderborg and from other parts of the country.
- We are of course proud to be first movers. On behalf of others, however, I may be a little annoyed that they are struggling with the same questions that we ourselves faced two years ago. Here we could have wished that there was some help from the municipal side, for example, in the form of advice, says Jacob Schlütter:
- It has subsequently struck me that there was not really much difference between the first proposal and the one that was adopted. In addition to the fact that time has matured the entire green transition to electric cars, it was absolutely crucial enough that we in the working group had done a great deal of legwork and were able to answer all questions thoroughly. It will also be my advice to others facing the same challenges. Jacob Schlütter will soon replace his plug-in hybrid. He has in fact written the end note on an electric car during now that he has got his own charging station.