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Charging EVs in apartments

Charging EVs in apartments?

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Can apartment residents own and charge an electronic vehicle (EV) at home?

Unfortunately, for most apartment residents the answer is no. At least not in the building or not easily.

Owning an EV while living in an apartment is a conundrum. Some people have resorted to running an extension lead from their apartment to the car.

From 2023, installing EV charging in new apartment buildings will be very common as required by the National Construction Code and market demand. But installing EV charging in an existing apartment building is more challenging.

Firstly the owners corporation (OC) need to agree to install the required infrastructure. This then lets people install their own charging unit if they chose to.

In a recent webinar by Australian Apartment Advocacy this specific issue was discussed great detail.

The challenges for any OC considering EV charging capability are:

  • Is there sufficient grid capacity in the apartment building’s location?
  • What is the size of the incoming electrical mains?
  • Is there space in the building’s main board to fit the metering?
  • Can the building install solar panels to off-set the power usage costs?
  • Are building infrastructure upgrades required such as cable trays in the car park?

There are also questions about the cost and capacity of the charging capability. According to Chad Pisani of WINconnect (Owned by Origin) the charging speed can vary from 11km per hour of charging (normal power point) to 77 km per hour of charging. It also varies from car to car.

The webinar cited an example of costs. While every building is different, in an existing building of 100 apartments, it cost the owners corporation $90,000 to install EV charging. There was an extra $5-6,000 cost per bay for each owner to connect the specific charging station if they wanted to. (This remains the property of the apartment owner and can be removed and taken with them).

Other options discussed included an EV share car. Each share car reduces the need for about 20 cars in an apartment building. Residents can book the EV share car and don’t even need to worry about returning it filled with petrol. Just plug it back in on return.

The game changer will be vehicle to grid. This is where the building uses solar power from the building to charge EVs during the day, which then powers the apartments and building. It’s an aspirational outcome but not that fanciful in new apartment projects.

Apartment EV charging will add significant value to an apartment and will be featured in marketing in the future.

EVs in apartments was also covered in a recent ABC news article which shows how an apartment resident is forced to charge their EV via an extension lead off their balcony, or in a public charging station.

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