Before purchasing and installing a charger, you should also consider the ongoing costs of charging in your apartment or townhouse. You will want to investigate how much it will cost you to charge, and how much it will cost to maintain the charger.

Electricity Costs

The cost of charging an electric vehicle

When you plug in an electric vehicle to charge, it draws electricity from the electrical grid just like any other appliance. The cost of charging depends on the type of electric vehicle and driving habits. For example, driving a small electric vehicle 13,000 km in a year would cost around $300-$350/year in electricity, or less than $1/day. This annual electricity cost is less than a typical residential water heater.

You can use the BC Hydro EV Cost Calculator to see how much it would cost you to charge an electric vehicle based on your annual driving.


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Tracking and billing for electric vehicle charging

There are several ways to track and bill for electric vehicle charging in apartments and townhouses. The option that is right for you will depend on your charging and building situation. You should seek legal advice to determine if the option is feasible under your strata rules and the Strata Property Act.

Your options include:

Establish a fixed user-fee for the electricity consumed on the building’s main account

Homeowners can pay a flat fee to cover costs of charging billed to the strata. User fees are currently the most frequently used option because strata councils can add such fees directly to homeowners’ monthly strata bills. The strata council may need to amend or create rules or bylaws to set up user fees, and in some cases, may even require homeowner approval at an Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting.

Install a networked charger that tracks electricity use

A networked charger tracks actual usage of the charger by individual user. A networked charger might be appropriate if multiple electric vehicle owners have access to the same charger or if the charger is located in a publicly accessible space. More advanced network chargers also have features that help manage electricity use in a building. Networked chargers are typically more expensive and require a monthly networking fee (typically $150-300 per year per charge port).

Install a utility-based electric vehicle charging account

This sets up a new electricity meter and account for the building that exclusively tracks and bills for all electric vehicle charging. If more than one electric vehicle owner has charging access, the strata council will have to make agreements with owners on how to allocate electricity costs. Electric vehicle charging meters are similar to the meters used to track electricity use in common areas of a building. Installation typically costs can range from $3000- $20,000.

Install a sub-meter

A separate sub-meter could be installed to track the electricity used for charging, without being connected to the building’s electricity account. There are two main types of sub-metering options:

  • A simple sub-meter provides an estimate of electricity use, which can be used to set and adjust user fees. However, simple sub-meters are less accurate than approved revenue meters. Meter costs can range from $50 to $500.
  • An approved revenue meter tracks electricity use like a simple sub-meter, but with greater accuracy. Meter costs can range from $300 to $3000.

Directly link the charger to the homeowner’s electrical account

The charging station can be connected directly to a homeowner’s existing electrical system like other household appliances. In these cases, users are billed directly through their existing residential bill for the electricity used to charge. This option is most likely to be feasible in townhouses with attached garages—a direct link is rarely possible in shared parkades.

Maintenance costs

Maintaining a charger in an apartment or townhouse

If you have purchased a certified charger from a reputable dealer, the cost to maintain your charger should be minimal. Ensure that your charger is safely and securely stored to protect your charger from damage. Typically, the owner of the electric vehicle charger is responsible for managing its maintenance.

Next Step

 Topic 5: Charger Rebates