Strata committees in apartment buildings race to retrofit electric car chargers, even with only one user

Two parking lots at The Horizon in Darlinghurst have been turned into electric charging stations.

Two parking lots at The Horizon in Darlinghurst have been turned into electric charging stations.Credit:Jessica Hromas

As a result, operating costs are three to four times less than petrol-powered cars, and as overseas carmakers are rapidly switching to electric cars and cars no longer produced domestically, Australia has to keep up.

The problems for established apartment buildings, however, are where to place common chargers for electric cars, whether there is sufficient available electrical capacity to accommodate them, and how to introduce user payment systems for energy.

In the 270-apartment Horizon building in Darlinghurst, two of the visitors’ car parks have now become charging stations for electric cars, while a feasibility study is being carried out to prepare the next phase of the roll-out.

“We looked at our power supply and we only had enough for 12-15 private seats,” said team committee member Deborah Aitken.

“We discussed the injustice of a first-come, first-served system, as well as making sure tenants were included, so we decided to put a three-phase communal property charger in. Unfortunately, retrofitting is always difficult and you never know what’s going on. will come next time with technology. ”

In Alexandria, Nathan Hague of the Zinc Building has installed a $ 30,000 infrastructure system to service the 45 apartments, even though there is currently only one electric car there.

“You make the investment to allow people to pay for future planning,” he said. “Some have asked about it when considering buying into the building. It’s coming.”

Users pay via an Uber-style billing app, while those in Waratah pay for electricity on three-month meter readings and also a quarterly fee to contribute to the infrastructure cost of $ 5,000 to $ 6,000. Others pay via their credit card, adds Strata Choice’s CEO Daniel Linders.

“It’s really going up now,” he said. “At the new Opera Residences at Bennelong Point, they allowed people to upgrade and have an EV charger, and a lot of people picked it up.”

The apartment sector has also begun lobbying the federal government for public support to kick-start apartment retrofitting as it picks up speed.

On top of strata managers, Strata Community Association Australasia, said President Chris Duggan, “EV charging is likely to see a shift in momentum next year as more focus is placed on strata as a key solution to unlock the scalability of Domestic EV charging. ” .

“One of our focus will be on campaigning for strata-specific federal support to kick-start the EV retrofit revolution that needs to happen to support the government’s net zero ambitions,” he said.

“Strata infrastructure can act as a power multiplier, and we believe it is an important strategic lever to achieve more cost-effective use of electric cars. It could very well soon be the case that the availability of electric charging is just as much a driving force for consumer behavior – and apartment values ​​- such as the availability of high-speed Internet. “

A survey of the future of electric charging in apartments in Sydney showed that 48 per cent of respondents plan to have an electric vehicle within the next five years, 78 per cent were in favor of installing charging and 79 per cent would like the user pay arrangement for individual parking spaces.

However, most buildings would require integration with the common area’s power supply – such as lifts, car parks, foyers and facilities – and 30 per cent of the surveyed floor plans were at risk of congestion within the next three years.

Brent Clark of Wattblock, who advises team committees and councils, says that while there are 31 electric cars available today, there will be 58 by the end of 2022. Most buildings start with charging in common parking spaces, via booking or remote bollard lowering systems, and can then be converted to individual rooms as more money is invested.

“It’s about securing the building for the future,” Brian Jackson said.Credit:Janie Barrett

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“It’s a big rush now to bring EV charging into apartment buildings, most likely due to the attention at the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow and the publicity about the rapid release of an electric furnace and its value now at $ 100 billion,” he said. Mr. Clark.

“We’ve also had Scott Morrison’s repositioning on electric cars, and the NSW government is providing incentives for electric cars, which are also getting cheaper.

“Strata has been at the back of preparations, but now we see buildings everywhere running to catch up. In Pyrmont, a potential tenant refused to rent into a building when they found out they could not charge their Tesla,” and in Redfern, an owner reserved a place on the electricity infrastructure even though their tenant did not have an electric car. There is more interest in this now than in solar energy. “

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