Electric Vehicles in Strata

Under the Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategic plan the City of Sydney provided innovation grant funding to study Electric Vehicle (EV) charging in residential apartment buildings.

Given their popularity on the rise, we think EV’s and how they’re charged are worthy of consideration for all owners corporations, and to start asking how consumer demand may impact their schemes.

The study looked at the issues of Electric Vehicle charging in residential strata buildings. Key findings of the study were:

  • 48% of respondents plan to have an electric vehicle within the next 5 years
  • The majority want a user pays charging system (79%) on individual car spaces (61%)
  • Most buildings will require integration with the common area power supply (e.g. lifts, carpark, foyers, facilities)
  • Power management systems will be needed to shift EV charging loads overnight
  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy projects can increase capacity
  • By-laws are needed to manage electric vehicle charger installation and usage
  • New developments are starting to market their buildings as “EV Ready” to attract premium values
  • 78% of strata residents surveyed were in favour of installing charging stations now.
  • Existing power infrastructure cater for less than 10% of residents based on 32amp chargers; and
  • 30% of strata schemes surveyed were at risk of overloading within the next three years.

As key players in strata management, members of SCA (NSW) are in a prime position to pave the way for the adoption of this technology that promises a cleaner, quieter and more sustainable future.

It could well be the case soon that EV charging availability is as much a driver of consumer behaviour (and apartment values) as the availability of high-speed internet.

Owners Corporation should consider that their first request to install an EV charging station may not be their last!

The research paper provides strong evidence that demand for EV charging is going to increase dramatically in the years to come. Establishing by-laws now sets the ground rules for all future requests and can avoid some misunderstandings.

Are electric cars common enough to warrant charging stations?

By 2035-6 as much as 27% of Australia’s new vehicle fleet could be electric with over 2.8 million EVs on the road.

Generally, apartments are built with very little spare capacity in the electricity supply cables from the street, or in individual unit switchboards. A further issue is that where high-rise apartments are built in inner city areas with older supply networks, there can be long timelines for increasing the street capacity, even if there is agreement from the owners corporation to increase supply cable sizes to the apartment block or individual units.

You’ll need to consider spare capacity in the main switchboard and in either the individual’s own section or the publicly metered section—including physical room for the additional circuit breakers.

Introducing EV charging into an apartment block or multi-unit site is also going to impact on the future available power supply to other apartments or units, so any new EV charging unit (even a 15 A power point in the owner’s parking spot) will need to be negotiated with the owners corporation.

Will strata allow you to modify a parking space for a charging station?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, strata schemes could be more open than ever before to approving charging stations in common parking spaces.

A charging station would require a motion to be approved and passed by your owners corporation, depending on where and how the equipment would be installed and how it might affect the property’s energy usage.