Electric Vehicles (EVs) are here and the transition away from Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles is well underway! How do developers and strata communities seize the opportunity to join the EV Transport Evolution?

WINconnect’s Sustainability Product Manager, Craig Ashdown, explains.

 

The New Transport Revolution:

Electric Vehicle Charging in Residential Strata

 

Every now and then we take the time to reflect on how things used to be and wonder “how did we ever manage!?”

Think;

  • Fax to email
  • Photo film to digital
  • VHS to Netflix
  • Cassettes to Spotify
  • Phone box to Smartphone
  • Map books to GPS

One life-changing transition, a little beyond memory for most of us, took just 15 years to occur…

…Widespread use of horses for transport to the popularity of the internal combustion engine vehicle.

Fast forward 100 years and a transport revolution is happening again!

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are here and the transition away from Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles is well underway …And car manufacturers know it.

Industry kick starter Tesla is dominating the market with sales of their latest all electric vehicle, the Model 3, reaching 600,000 in the U.S. alone. Iconic car brands are following suit with Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes Benz and Jaguar committing to building only EVs by 2030.

Currently available EVs in Australia

 

In Australia, the uptake of EVs has had a slow start but the wheels are now starting to turn.

A recent study funded by Energia on behalf of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) forecast that 50% of new car sales will be electric by 2030 and the upfront cost of EVs will be at parity with equivalent ICE vehicles by 2025.

Given EVs are five times cheaper to fuel and 10 times cheaper to maintain, EVs will become a natural choice for Australians.

The burning questions for those considering EVs are, “how do I charge my EV?” and, “how long would it take to charge?”

Fortunately for most of us, the answers are quite simple. We’ll charge at home.

Charging time will be irrelevant because we’ll come home, plug in, sleep and head off in the morning with a full charge – just like how we use our mobile phone. A standard wall plug can be enough but could be upgraded to provide a faster charge if needed. Some will also be lucky enough to be able to charge their EV at their workplace too as car park infrastructure evolves to cater for a growing need.

For trips farther than 200km, dedicated EV charging stations with higher powered capabilities are required to allow us to re-charge and get back on the road in a reasonable time.

Illustration of city and people on balcony of apartment building

But what if you’re one of the 2.3 million people in Australia living in an apartment building?

 

Residential apartment buildings pose challenges for enabling EV charging that don’t otherwise exist in stand-alone housing, including:

  • Access to the apartment electricity meter/switchboard
  • Availability of car parking
  • Electrical supply capacity
  • Available electrical infrastructure for connection
  • Billing/recovery of electricity usage
  • Body corporate approval

In 2018, strata reporting business, Wattblock, conducted a survey of over 100 strata buildings across Australia to understand the issues surrounding EV charging.

Results indicated that an overwhelming 78% of respondents were in favour of installing EV charging stations now, and of those, 79% of respondents preferred a user pays system and 61% favoured charging in their individual allocated car space.

 

So what needs to happen?

 

As the uptake of EVs increases, so will the demand for access to EV charging facilities. Planning and provisioning for EV charging is now critical – both at the development stage and for existing buildings.

Below are four key tips to provide EV charging at your building without headaches:

 

1. Property Managers need to seize the opportunity!

Incorporating EV charging into the design of residential high-rise developments is fast becoming an expectation for potential buyers and renters.

Innovative property developers can be at the forefront of technical innovation and differentiate their development now, by providing access to EV charging facilities and marketing the development as “EV ready” – even providing “EV charging upgrade” options to purchasers as part of the sales package.

 

2. A Smart EV Charging Management System is critical

EV charging requires a large amount of power, using the same electricity (if not more) than an apartment.

Due to the nature of residential strata developments there are a lot of car spaces with limited electricity capacity available to the building. Imagine if they all plugged in at once!

A Smart EV Charging Management System (CMS) is integral to manage and distribute the available electricity capacity across the connected EV chargers. Smart EV CMS mitigates the risk of tripping the building’s power supply and reduces cost for electrical infrastructure upgrades.

 

3. Don’t forget ongoing management and billing

Standard power points located in the carpark can be used to charge an EV (in fact they provide about 10km/hour of charge!) which is great for the EV owner – but not so much so for apartment community who end up paying for the electricity via increased strata levies for their Common Area electricity account. Not to mention that it’s a potential mess and safety issue waiting to happen!

If the only option to connect an EV charger is to do so off the Common Area services and the owners don’t wish to gift the electricity – a billing and recovery solution is required.

There’s several ways to do this, but the best way is to utilise a service provider to incorporate the billing services with the electricity load management service.

 

4. Existing buildings require an EV charging feasibility audit

The first step for Strata Committees of existing developments is to have an EV Charging feasibility audit undertaken.

Existing Strata developments haven’t been designed with EV charging in mind, but this doesn’t mean it’s not possible to enable EV charging in all car spaces.

Having an EV charging audit undertaken unlocks the steps to understanding what’s feasible for the development, what’s involved, and how to implement a system which can scale as demand increases.

 

Engaging in EV charging early and working with the right service provider to guide you through the process is key. Do this, and you’ll have happy tenants, happy committees and will be well positioned for a smooth transition for the Electric Vehicle transport revolution!

WINconnect can assist with a variety of efficient, customised solutions for EV Charging at your building. To find out more contact us on 1300 791 970 or email enquiries@WINconnect.com.au

 

Like this article? Read it on LinkedIn to interact, share your feedback or get in touch with Craig Ashdown to discuss the possibilities for EV Charging.

 

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