As electric vehicles continue to gain popularity in Australia, the demand for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure is also on the rise. For apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings, installing EV chargers to the community power can provide convenience for residents and attract environmentally conscious tenants. However, before diving into the installation process, here are seven factors to consider to ensure a safe and successful incorporation of EV chargers.

 

1. Does the site have the electrical capacity to support the additional electrical load of installing chargers?

Electric car chargers require significant electrical load, so assessing the site’s electrical capacity is crucial. While new National Construction codes require new buildings to be EV charger-ready, older commercial buildings simply weren’t designed with large amounts of spare electrical capacity.

Unless the building was recently built or its electricity capacity recently upgraded, your excess power capacity could be limited. Therefore, determining if the existing electrical infrastructure can support this additional demand and the additional costs associated with upgrading is vital.

2. Does the proposed location comply with the Australian Electrical Standards for EV Charger installations?

The location of the chargers is another key consideration. Given the flammable nature of lithium-ion batteries used in most electric vehicles on the market today, it is important to adhere to the requirements outlined by the Australian Electrical Standards for installations. These standards ensure the proper placement and implementation of charging stations, considering factors such as accessibility, safety, and compliance.

Depending on the layout of the apartment’s carpark, there may be limitations on where dedicated EV charging parking spaces can exist.

3. What charger size would be appropriate for the location?

There are currently 3 levels of chargers available on the market in Australia, which vary in the amount of energy they consume. As not all EVs can charge on all three levels of chargers, it’s important to consider the anticipated demand for EV charging and the most likely vehicle types to accommodate when planning to install EV charging facilities in common areas.

Consulting with EV charging experts can help identify the most suitable options for the specific requirements of the building.

Types of EV ChargersTypes of EV Chargers

Level 1 chargers have the slowest rate of charge, typically using a standard 240-volt power outlet to charge the vehicle. This type of charger can take over 20 hours to achieve a full charge and is predominantly used in homes.

Level 2 chargers are the most common type of charger used for most economically priced EVs on the market. These chargers use 7 kWs of energy and take approximately 5 – 6 hours to charge a vehicle fully.

Level 3 (fast chargers) use the most energy at 22 kW. Electrical vehicle models that can handle this level of charging are typically the most expensive EVs on the market, such as some Teslas. Fast chargers allow vehicles to charge in under 1 hour.

4. Is the infrastructure reputable and of high quality? What are the warranty terms and period they provide?

As with any new technology on the market, there is a range of products to choose from that range in quality. Choosing reputable and high-quality equipment is crucial when selecting the infrastructure for the EV chargers. Consider the warranty terms and period provided by the manufacturer or supplier to ensure the longevity and reliability of the chargers. Also, keep in mind that a payment platform is associated with EV chargers, so it’s important to research the fees and terms and conditions of the company handling payments.

5. What additional safety measures must be implemented or managed?

Safety measures are of utmost importance when implementing EV charging stations. Adequate protection must be in place to prevent damage to the charging equipment and to manage any potential fire risks. This can include measures such as fire-resistant enclosures, avoiding high-traffic areas, proper ventilation, and regular maintenance and inspections.

6. Does the building insurance cover EV Charging Stations?

As EVs and EV chargers are a relatively new risk to buildings, checking if the building’s insurance covers EV charging stations is essential. Some insurance policies may require additional coverage or modifications to existing policies to protect against any potential risks associated with the charging infrastructure.

7. What impact will installing EV chargers have on electricity costs?

While accommodating electric vehicle owners can be an attractive incentive to improve occupancy rates, the financial implications on the common area’s electricity usage should be thoroughly considered. Depending on the types of chargers installed and how often and when they are used, they could have a big impact on common property power bills. With power prices increasing in Australia, it’s important to consider these costs and ways to mitigate them.

Summary

Here, we have provided just some of the many considerations necessary for body corporates before installing electric vehicle chargers in apartment buildings. Consulting with an electrical energy efficiency expert can help body corporates determine the feasibility of investing in EV charging infrastructure in common property visitor parking bays, its likely impact on resulting energy costs, and ways to mitigate them.

Investing in an EV Charger Feasibility Assessment is the first step to help body corporates gain independent advice on whether your building can easily accommodate EV chargers, electrical infrastructure capacity availability and requirements, and energy efficiency advice on mitigating increases in common property energy costs.

Learn more about our EV Charger Feasibility Assessment for apartment buildings.