As electric cars become more common, the demand for charging stations is increasing. Electric cars are mostly used by people who live and work in or near cities, which makes up a large portion of condo owners.
Parking is already one of the toughest challenges in managing shared condo spaces. Trying to accommodate electric vehicle (EV) charging stations adds one more hiccup. But, it comes with enough benefits that a growing number of condos are allowing or considering them.
One of the key benefits of EV charging stations is that they can help attract and retain condo buyers. People who own or want to purchase electric vehicles look for buildings with charging stations.
As well, condo buyers value sustainability and environmental condo management. Charging stations are an easy way for buildings to go green, increasing their property value. Having an EV charger can earn a condo up to three LEED points. These points count towards an environmental score that attracts prospective buyers.
Of course, installing EV charging stations is not without its challenges. Retrofitting an existing lot for charging stations can be expensive and requires the building to have saved enough resources.
As well, condo boards can be accused of favouritism for allowing tenants to use communal electricity to power personal vehicles. In many places, there is still a lot of red tape for condos to get around for individual tenants or condo corporations.
How do you handle installing electric vehicle charging stations when:
- A condo owner wants to install one?
- The condo building or corporation wants to install them?
A Condo Owner Wants to Install An EV Charging Station
How this is handled depends on local legislation. In California, for instance, the condo must allow owners to install EV charging stations. However, that owner is responsible for paying for the installation, maintenance, and electricity use.
Condominium owners who want to apply for an EVCS install can join together. By having their parking spots grouped together they can reduce the costs and complexity of installing their charging stations.
When installing a charging station, boards will want to measure electricity use for submetering. The board cannot charge back the charging electricity to the building. Instead it should be metered and charged back to the owner.
Other places are slower to catch on, but the trend is growing. Ontario recently changed its Condominium Act to make it easier for owners to install charging stations. One change is that boards need to provide access to all information required for owners to get an assessment and application. As well, condo boards need to reply to the application within 60 days.
To reject an EVCS application, the condo board needs an expert to prove the installation doesn’t meet the legal or safety requirements. The quick turnaround time and expert assessment make it important to adopt a system to streamline condo board approvals.
The Condo Building Wants to Install Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
If the condo building or corporation wants to install charging stations for electric vehicles there are still a few challenges. In Toronto, even though most buildings are interested in EV stations, only 10% of existing buildings have them.
In large part, the slow adoption is due to costs. If the condo lacks the infrastructure or if there are few electric vehicles currently in the condo EV chargers are a tough sell. The charging stations are often an expensive install if retrofitting is required.
The costs seem especially high with electric vehicles still making up only a small minority of total car sales. But as EV sales are expected to see exponential growth, it’s worth it for condo buildings to start planning today.
For buildings in development, installing EV charging stations is much more cost-efficient during the build. It’s worthwhile installing them during this phase, as it will only get more expensive later.