The Conundrum of High-Rise EV Charging & A Simple Solution

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My friend Shirley is the chairperson of the body corporate in an apartment building by the sea, just north of Brisbane. She is still driving her petrol Beamer, but some of the residents are playing with the idea of buying an electric vehicle. How do they manage charging? What sort of chargers do they put in? Where does the wiring go? How do people pay for it? These are some of the issues they are facing, and they aren’t the only ones.

Would you invest heavily in a luxury apartment if it had no high-speed internet? Probably not. You would live somewhere else. Similarly, inner city apartment dwellers in Melbourne and Sydney are making choices based on the availability of charging for their EVs. 

“Strata committees of many apartment buildings across Australia are racing to install electric vehicle-charging systems in their garages,” Domain writes. “It’s about future-proofing the building. If they want to stay a site where people want to live and also to enjoy savings and capital appreciation, they need to be ready.

“The problems for established apartment buildings, however, are where to put communal chargers for electric cars, whether there’s enough spare electrical capacity to accommodate them and how to introduce user-pays systems for the energy.

“A study of the future of EV charging in apartments in Sydney found that 48 per cent of respondents plan to have an electric vehicle within the next five years, 78 per cent were in favour of installing charging and 79 per cent would like a user-pays arrangement for individual car spaces.”

My advice to Shirley: Forget range anxiety, look at the cheapest option. There is power in the parking area, why not run conduits to each parking space and put in power points. Everyone can then trickle charge, which will be enough for daily use. There is a bank of high-speed chargers at IKEA less than 10 km away. If people are planning long trips, they can easily go there and charge up.

As for payment, electricity is not that expensive. The power in the parking area is currently paid for by body corporate. A levy could be introduced on people with EVs to cover the cost. Monitoring the power bill will inform that charge. Possible capital gain may make it easy to sell the idea. 

I’m looking forward to finding out what the decision will be.

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David Waterworth

David Waterworth is a retired teacher who divides his time between looking after his grandchildren and trying to make sure they have a planet to live on. He is long on Tesla [NASDAQ:TSLA].

David Waterworth has 738 posts and counting. See all posts by David Waterworth