How to handle EV charging in condos: Province-to-Province


canada-in-condo-ev-charger-solutionSustainability initiatives and EV charging solutions seem to go hand in hand in major Canadian cities – the greener the city, the better planning for EVs. Being electricians in Toronto requires that we install EV charging stations on a regular basis and while we’ve talked about some best practices for EV charging, we wanted to take a look at how a few provinces are doing in this area.

BC’s goal is green – their bylaws say so

Vancouver’s Green Homes Program requires that new one and two family homes include a number of features to save energy, water, and money in order to be more sustainable. They must also adapt to future technologies that will help with energy generation – including powering the next generation of cars. In other words, sustainability and embracing EVs isn’t an option.(1)

The city’s goal is that by 2020, all new homes will consume 33% less energy and by 2030, every new home will be fully carbon neutral. Complementing this goal is the city’s support of remodeling or adapting parking lots to accommodate EVs and other greener transportation options. In fact, new condos have to put a way to charge EVs in 20% of their parking stalls and their electrical room must be big enough to install charging equipment for all residents. What’s especially interesting about this bylaw is that it took effect in April 2011, putting BC as an early EV supporting province – which we’re not all that surprised about.(2)

Quebec addresses EV problem with more public charging stations

For the provincial government of Quebec, they’re in problem solving mode. Whether or not they underestimated how many of their residents would adopt an EV lifestyle and were unable to be proactive is irrelevant, but they have chosen an interesting solution. Hydro Quebec is sponsoring Electric Circuit’s installation of a 120 public EV charging station network. Drivers pay a flat rate of $2.50 each time they charge, regardless of how long their car sits there for. The people running the program say that they aren’t concerned about people parking in the spots for unreasonable periods of time, which was a problem in the US in the past. Anyone wanting to participate in the program gets a prepaid card and can swipe it when they need a charge.(3)

A system like this really does make sense, especially for vehicles and chargers that can achieve a full charge in a short period of time. The idea of paying for fuel is already familiar, so it isn’t a huge stretch to ask someone to pay for electricity. Charging at home might be cheaper, but the convenience would be enough incentive to drop the $2.50 when you need a quick boost.

Ontario condo controversy needs communication

In the past, we’ve written about the controversy surrounding charging stations in condo buildings and unfortunately, the issue still exists due to a lack of proactive planning. Simply speaking, everyone living in a condo building pays for electricity in common areas and because of the nature of EV charging stations, this energy falls under that category. Those who don’t drive EVs don’t want to pay for the fuel for other people’s cars. Right now, the numbers are small when you spread out the few dollars it takes for a charge among a large number of residents, but that number could go up significantly in the coming years.

Sadly, a lot of these cases start with conflict as opposed to planning. Because we install EV charging stations in condo buildings and have seen the ways that these stations can be positive, we recommend that instead of disregarding EV owners, condo boards do some advance planning for reasonable ways to accommodate EVs. Technical engineering aspects, safety, aesthetics, and overall impact must be considered along with cost.

Picture from: GizMag
Sources: from: (1) City Of Vancouver, (2) City Of Vancouver, (3) Navigant Research

Check out our post “How to charge for charging” to hear some ideas for how to charge residents for charging their EVs in a condo parking garage.

As always, we would love to hear what you think! Add a comment below and let us know your thoughts about whether or not you think condos should always have EV-friendly parking spots.