All “charged up” for Electric Vehicle session at Green Living Show

All “charged up” for Electric Vehicle session at Green Living Show

Brookfield was asked to present their work on enabling EVs (Electric Vehicles) in condominiums at the Green Living Show on April 25th, 2014.  The seminar was organized by CCI-Toronto (Canadian Condominium Institute) and Plug’n Drive with contributions made by the World Wildlife Fund Canada and the support of the Automotive Recyclers of Canada.  The theme of the seminar was overcoming the obstacles involved with installing EV chargers in condominiums.

Key takeaways from the seminar:

  1. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for EV charging in condominiums – each building is different, and each situation is different.
  2. There is no technical obstacle to installing a charger in a condominium – there are many chargers available, and the physical installation is not complex.  Naturally, the longer the distance between an EV charger from the electrical room, the more expensive it will be to provide power to the charger.
  3. The Condominium Act, 1998 allows EV chargers to be installed in a condominium.  The steps required to comply with the Act depend upon where the chargers are installed, and how the parking space is defined in the condominium declaration.  A condominium corporation should consult their lawyer in this process.
  4. Electrical systems in buildings are designed to provide a specific capacity of electricity, which makes it physically impossible to accommodate EV charging in every parking spot.  This should not be considered an large obstacle, because in practice, there will be relatively few EVs that will need to be accommodated.  British Columbia, a region that aggressively promotes EVs, is requiring condominium developers to accommodate EV charging in 20% of the parking spots – so 20% can be considered the extreme upper limit.
  5.   To better manage the challenge posed by building electrical capacity, Boards are encouraged to:
    1. Consider common area chargers – this would allow the entire community to access the charger as opposed to having chargers dedicated to specific owners; and
    2. Consider smaller amperage chargers – this  would allow more chargers to be installed.  Additionally, charging with a smaller amperage is the technically preferred method to charge EV batteries.
  6. Local utility companies are concerned about the load EVs may place on their aging infrastructure, so their reports may view the building’s electrical capacity from a very conservative, “worst case” scenario which might limit EV charging entirely.  To counter that view, Boards should be aware that  the electrical demand originating from an EV charger usually occurs at a very different time than the building’s “peak demand”.  In other words, a building can usually accommodate more chargers than some utilities might suggest.
  7. EVs are a benefit to Ontario in more ways than the attendees had appreciated.  In addition to the reduced tail-pipe emissions,  EVs deliver financial benefits to the province - $100 spent  on fuel for a gasoline car usually leaves the province, but $100 spent on electricity for an EV stays within in the province.

Brookfield’s practical guide to Boards for accommodating EV charging stations in condominiums will be available on the Brookfield Condominium Services website soon.