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Condo Smarts: Stratas face EV charging demand

2012 Fisker Karma 09- With a 220V charging station, the Fisker takes 6 hours to fully charge its lithium ion battery and can travel about 80 km¿(Photo Credit: Alexandra Straub)
Photograph by: Alexandra Straub

Dear Tony: Our strata council has received a letter from an owner demanding that the strata corporation install a charging station in a designated parking area for the new electric hybrid that he purchased. His letter indicates that a city official told him it was the obligation of the strata corporation to install the station.

We wouldn’t install a gas station for owners with conventional vehicles, so why should we be obliged to install a charging station for electric vehicles? Considering the cost that we have been quoted, our strata council is unwilling to consider the installation or to bring this matter to the owners for a vote. How are other strata corporations dealing with this issue? Dustin C.

Dear Dustin: As the trend toward electric vehicles grows, electric vehicles charging stations (EVCS) are becoming common in public areas, and placing pressure on multi-family developments to consider them. It’s a bit of a Catch-22 right now. Buyers don’t buy electric vehicles because they don’t have stations in their condo, and the strata won’t install stations because the costs benefit very few.

EVCS installation is a much more complicated issue than simply installing a station and letting owners charge at leisure; however, it is both feasible and manageable for the strata corporation and the owner(s) making the request.

A strata corporation does not have any obligation to install an EVCS on the common area of the strata and it is unlikely that 100 owners will vote in favour of expenses or alterations that are only for the use and benefit of one to four owners, especially when there are so many other pressures on common budgets with rising insurance costs, utilities and operating costs.

The strata corporation does, however, have a viable option. It may agree to permit the installation of an EVCS at the request of an owner(s), if the owner(s) agree to the related costs of installation.

There are three types of charging currently.

Level one (1.4kW) is a standard 110 AC receptacle, often located in most areas of the parking garages. The cost of installation is negligible and the user costs for utilities are normally low as they usually do not incur demand charges. The strata corporation can easily set a user fee for the utility cost in a rule that has to be ratified at a general meeting by majority vote. The drawback is that the charging period is long – 10 to 25 hours – and the charge pattern is not reliable for all types of electric vehicles.
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