Rethink EV Chargers in Condominiums
Electric vehicles are slowly rolling out and many of us don’t know what to expect when we eventually purchase one. For those that drive an EV, the experience is quite clear.
When the Board of a condo decides on the installation of EV charging infrastructure, many, if not all, of the Board members are not EV drivers. So how are these decisions being made? Why should condo owners have a dedicated EV charger? The assumption is that owners who request an EV charger should have one. In fact, the Condo Act mandates access unless the Board, acting reasonably, can show otherwise. So let us take a step back and consider the various approaches.
The Personal Station Phenomenon
Since the advent of the internal combustion engine, commonly known as (ICE), drivers had to go to a gas station to fuel up. This has not changed in over 100 years. The number of gas stations and the delivery method has changed but we always had to go to a gas station. Understandably, we could not have gasoline piped into our homes, for the convenience of filling up. While electricity is readily available in buildings this can’t, on its face, justify a personal EV charging station, or can it?
In the context of a Condominium, we already know that it’s extremely difficult to accommodate personal EV chargers if all the owners want them. The building has limited electrical capacity. But there is more that should be considered:
1. The working assumption is that drivers need a full top-up every day from empty. Is this really the case?
2. Personal EV chargers may be a waste of resources. Do they sit ideal more than they are in use?
3. Personal EV chargers have poor electrical capacity utilization. Dedicated capacity goes unused when cars are not charging which can benefit others in the building.
4. Cost. Personal EV chargers have a poor return on investment.
5. Equity/equality. Not all owners can have a personal charger resulting in inequality, discontent, and possible litigation by owners without access!
Reconsidering EV Charging
In the absence of alternatives, people go with what they know; it is totally understandable why personal EV chargers are the most common approach. As we have discussed, the only reason for this must be ‘Convenience’. But this too may be a false assumption. Let’s think outside the ‘Charger’ box and look at the fuel demand of EV drivers, to see if EV charging in Condos needs a rethink:
A. According to Stats Canada, Canadians drive an average of 16,000 km/yr. This translates into 43 km per day.
B. On average, 90% of all one-way trips are 18 km or less.
C. Unlike single-family homes which are typically in the suburbs or country, Condos are in metro areas. Metro dwellers are less likely to travel long distances to get to work, go shopping, or take part in leisure activities.
D. The average usable battery capacity in current EVs is 68.2kWh, according to the Electric Vehicle Database. Given a vehicle efficiency (the milage rate) of 0.2kWh per km, the average EV has a range of about 300 km. This is consistent with the range of figures advertised by the manufacturers.
So, what this means, is simply, that 90% of EV drivers have a week’s worth of electricity (fuel) in their cars! Yes, a week’s worth of charge in their EV.
Given the challenges of installing EV chargers in Condo buildings, do owners need dedicated EV chargers? You decide.
If a condo does not install dedicated EV chargers, what is the alternative? The owners still want convenient, cost-beneficial EV charging in the building. We think the answer lies in the Equipment Selection.
EV chargers installed in condos are Level 2 AC chargers. Although these are considered fast, they don’t deliver the charging rate of a Level 3 DC charger. Level 2 chargers also come in different sizes. Often, to save energy and install more chargers in the building, slower 32Amp chargers are installed.
A dedicated 32Amp Level 2 charger sits idle 23 of the 24hrs in a day!
What if we consider a change in equipment from Level 2 chargers to Level 3 chargers? It could be argued that being able to quickly charge your car, in as little as 4 minutes, for the average driver, is the ultimate in convenience! By the time you park your car, plug into a DC charger, go upstairs to drop off your groceries, and come back, your car is full! Not only is this possible, but it is also affordable for the owners and the condo. Rethink your EV Charger strategy before you proceed down a path.
To learn more about the best approach to your EV charging needs, contact us for a no-obligation chat.
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