Australia is currently at the forefront of a transformative journey toward a greener future, by the growing adoption of EVs. As we navigate this eco-friendly shift, challenges faced by strata buildings is the seamless integration of EV charging infrastructure. Unlike individual homes, strata buildings accommodate multiple residences, necessitating a unique approach to address the intricacies of sustainable transportation in these shared spaces.
Shared Spaces, Shared Responsibilities in Strata Building
In the realm of strata buildings, communal areas such as parking zones, electrical circuit boards, and overall load management become pivotal considerations when contemplating the installation of EV charging infrastructure. Acknowledging that 80 percent of EV charging occurs at home, as per the U.S. Department of Energy, underscores the importance of convenient charging options within apartment buildings across Australia.
Retrofitting for Sustainability
Existing strata buildings were not initially designed to accommodate the charging needs of electric vehicles. However, a significant development took place in October 2023 when the National Construction Code was amended to mandate that all new strata buildings must be EV-ready for each parking bay. This shift brings attention to the need for retrofitting existing structures to align with the evolving landscape of sustainable transportation.
Balancing individual residents’ EV charger desires with overall building power consumption is a crucial consideration for effective load management. The objective is to prevent disruptions and ensure a harmonious integration of EV charging infrastructure without compromising the existing functionality of the strata building.
The Government Grant Programs
In the pursuit of a sustainable future, government incentives play a pivotal role in motivating widespread EV adoption. The New South Wales Government’s EV Ready Grant Program stands out as a proactive initiative, offering grant funding to strata buildings to subsidise the costs associated with installing and maintaining EV chargers. With financial support of up to $80,000, this program encompasses initial scoping reviews, supply and installation, required electrical modifications, and ongoing operational costs.
Pros and Cons of EV charging in strata buildings
Let’s look at some of the key Pros and Cons of installing EV charging in strata buildings.
|Pros of EV charging in Strata
|Cons of EV charging in strata buildings
|High upfront costs
|Residents can charge their EVs at home, providing ease and eliminating the need to find external charging stations.
|EV charging is going to be a capital outlay for the building they may not have provisioned for – both chargers, electrical upgrades and fire safety. This involves a detailed assessment of the current electrical system, and may be costly, depending on the building’s age and power load. Look at grant funding and financing options to overcome this.
|Eases Range Anxiety
|Limited Space and Parking Allocations
|Reliable home charging reduces worry about running out of charge, known as range anxiety. Beneficial for those with longer commutes
|There may be limited space for allocating for EV charging bays in buildings with limited parking. Buildings must cater for both EV and non-EV owners, so not to compromise non-EV parking. Plan thoughtfully with open communication to achieve an optimal balance. To overcome ICEing of EV charging bays, establish building rules around EV charging behaviour. Alternatively you can install smart parking bollards solutions which include a booking system to ensure fair access. These also integrate into your building management platform.
|Reduces cost of per KWh of power consumption
|Load Management concerns
|Nearly all the energy suppliers offer discounted electricity plans
|As we all know, approval processes, legal, insurance, safety and regulatory often take a long time in strata and are fraught with complexity. By-laws may need alteration, and voting may be required. Engage with expert advice to stay informed.
|Increases property value
|Ongoing Cost of Maintenance and Upkeep
|Strata buildings with EV charging facilities are more attractive and potentially command higher values. Buildings without EV charging facilities may fail to attract potential buyers and tenants
|Ongoing maintenance and associated repairs may add to long-term costs the building hasn’t yet budgeted. Opt for a plan that covers all ongoing operating and maintenance expenses.
|Offers potential government grants and rebates
|Cost Allocation and Billing
|Government grants and incentives for EV charging in strata apartments are currently available to encourage EV charging installation in a larger number of residential strata buildings. Take advantage of the free money!
|Strata buildings need transparent methods to determine how to fairly bill and allocate costs for EV charging, for both installation and ongoing maintenance. What is individual usage and what is common expense. The strata manager should be able to handle this with a variety of software platforms available.
|Future-proofs the building for EV trends
|Looking at what future trends are likely to be if you can install enough EV charging capacity for future EV adoption rates then you’re also future-proofing the building
|There has been a huge amount of misinformation around fire safety risk with EVs. EVs are SIGNFICANTLY less likely to catch fire than fuel vehicles, but do take longer to burn out. Get the proper authorised information from EVFiresafe, who have analysed every EV fire globally since 2010.
Taking Practical Steps Toward a Sustainable Strata Building
- Get Informed: A foundation of knowledge is crucial. Understanding the costs, space requirements, and overall benefits of EV charging installation is paramount. Leveraging resources like the NSW EV Ready program provides valuable insights.
- Start Conversations: Engaging in open discussions with strata committees and residents is essential.
Collecting data on current and potential EV ownership among residents lays the foundation for informed decision-making in the future.
- Propose a Plan: Developing a practical, cost-effective plan for the installation of EV charging infrastructure requires careful consideration. Examining subsidies, grants, and EV charging suppliers’ financing options ensures a comprehensive proposal for sustainable transportation solutions.
- Seek Expert Help: Consulting experts in the field can be instrumental in navigating technicalities. They can provide insights and guidance to present a well-informed proposal to the strata committee. The NSW EV Ready grant program specifically funds $2,000 for the assessment stage, emphasising the importance of expert guidance.
- Consider Shared EV Chargers: Exploring shared EV charging in common parking areas addresses load challenges, reducing costly electrical retrofitting needs. Implementing smart parking bollards, such as those from thatsmyspot, facilitates automated and monitored EV charging, optimising resident satisfaction.
Visitor Parking Solutions
Unwelcome surprises in visitor parking? Not anymore. Parking bollards swoop in, offering a robust solution to unauthorised parking woes. These bollards ensure genuine guest parking by safeguarding visitor parking bays with a simple yet effective setup.
Equipped with smart technology, parking bollards stand guard, deterring unauthorised vehicles from encroaching on designated visitor spots. Strata managers, and residents enjoy hassle-free parking experiences, fostering a sense of community and convenience.
Our mission is to drive sustainable parking solutions!
At thatsmyspot our mission is to drive sustainable parking change. Optimising existing parking resources for strata and commercial buildings, and helping sort out their EV charging!.
As founder and CEO of both thatsmyspot and Parking Spotz, I’m also passionate about the entire industry. As a director and current President of Parking Australia, I support, grow, and advance the Australian parking industry.
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