How to make your condo building EV-friendly



I was recently approached by the Ottawa Chapter of the Association of Condominium Managers Ontario (ACMO) and Canadian Condominium Institute (CCI) and asked to lend my expertise to their presentation about EV charging in condos. I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you that we install EV chargers and some of these are in condominiums. Some of the earliest electric vehicle adopters are people who live in cities and often in condo buildings, so we find ourselves installing car chargers in condos a lot.

Because EVs are not quite commonplace yet, there aren’t always procedures already in place by condo boards to deal with EV charging stations – but that is quickly changing. When a resident gets an EV and needs to charge their car overnight, they are usually doing so from a common area. Because the electricity they are using is technically coming from the building, condo managers need a fair plan for this energy usage.

Charging an EV with a common power supply in a condo building can be done a few ways. They each have pros and cons, which differ from building to building.

1. Allow residents to charge for free:

When someone purchases an EV, it comes with a Level 1 charger. This trickle charger can be plugged into any outlet (like one you would use for a block heater) and will take up to 16 hours to charge the EV battery. If a condo manager allows someone to simply plug in and not pay, they are eating the cost of the extra electricity consumption. That being said, the cost of this extra energy is very minimal ($1-3 per charge) and there would be no added administration.

2. Charge residents for charging:

Sometimes allowing EV owners to charge for free causes conflict among non-EV driving residents. In order to keep things fair, but still only allow Level 1 charging, we recommend that you calculate the estimated monthly consumption to charge an EV and bill the vehicle owner monthly. You may need to pass a rule or bylaw to take this route.

3. Allow EV owners to install a Level 2 station with a sub meter:

A trickle charger isn’t always the most desirable charging approach; many EV owners would like to use a Level 2 station, which charges a battery in 4-8 hours. If the owner pays a condo electrician to install the charger and is billed for the charger’s energy usage, the cost is almost entirely on them. The only exceptions would be if the installation is considered to be a change to the building and you need an agreement or bylaw. The added administration is also something to consider.

4. Install a common charging station:

If a condo building installs a Level 2 charging station, residents can charge their EV and then carry on with their day or to their own parking space and let someone else charge. The charger would serve more owners and would lower administration costs. Unfortunately, the charger is more expensive ($5,000-10,000) and requires a 208-240 volt supply. You would also need to use a surplus parking spot to dedicate to the charging station.

Not a condo manager or living in a condo?
Read our article “How to Charge for Charging” to learn about charging EVs away from condo buildings.

If you would like the advice of a condo electrician about installing condo car chargers, please get in touch with us. We would be happy to answer any of your questions!