How EV charging came to The National
In the Fall 2013 Ted and his wife purchased an electric car. They were so impressed with the EV driving experience and its contribution to creating a cleaner and healthier world that they made the purchase without fully addressing the need for home charging. For those living in a single family dwelling, this would be a minor consideration. But for condo owners arranging home charging is a more complex issue. This involves securing the permission of the Strata Council, and eventually strata owners to allow this change to common property and to the bylaws governing the shared community.
First Step – Engaging Council
Ted began with a presentation to the Strata Council. He invited them to consider the merits of offering electric vehicle charging at The National. He shared that in addition to supporting a vehicle option that contributed to improving air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, that access to electric vehicle charging would be a feature future home owners would demand in the coming years.
His request to council was for permission to extend a 120v outlet located in the owner area of secured parking to his designated parking stall. He offered to pay all costs associated with the installation of the outlet and any ongoing maintenance costs. He also offered to pay all costs incurred with the use of common electricity. Council willingly embraced the idea of making The National an EV charging friendly strata building, given the considerations.
Step Two: Changes to Bylaws
The next step in the process was to draft changes to the bylaws to permit the approval granted by Council. These bylaw changes would need to be presented to the owners at the next Annual General Meeting for their ratification and approval.
One strategy the Council has utilized for a number of years is to distribute a semi-annual 'Council Report' to owners. The report informs owners of the current status of affairs at The National as well as emerging issues. Ted used the Council Report as an opportunity to inform and engage fellow owners on the merits of permitting electric vehicle charging at The National.
When the appropriate resolutions were presented at the AGM, the discussion with owners was positive and considerate. One owner asked about the capacity of the building to manage this emerging demand for electricity. Another wanted to know how to address the anticipated demand for EV charging in the future.
After being assured that the building had more than enough electrical capacity, and that strata would gladly welcome the challenge of too much demand, owners resoundingly voted in favor of EV charging with more than 90% in favor.
Step Three: Applying for a Grant
The next step in our development of EV charging capacity was to apply for the MURB (Multi-Unit Residential Building) EV Charging grant. The MURB grant was a provincially funded program to increase the number of level two chargers in multi-residential buildings. The rationale was that an opportunity existed to upgrade the charging capacity at The National with 75% of the cost being paid by the provincial government.
With Council's permission the strata management company prepared the documents and submitted the application within days of the announcement of funding. The National was approved for two chargers. Tenders were put out and two quotes secured.
Step Four: Changes to Bylaws
The next step in the process was to put forward a number of resolutions at the next Annual General Meeting. One resolution was to approve the additional funding (in excess of government contribution) needed to purchase and install the charging system. The second and third resolutions were to permit changes to the common area to allow for EV installation and charging. The recommendation was to locate the chargers in the visitor parking area of the building to allow access by all owners, tenants, and visitors to The National.
Ted used the Council Report to inform owners of the opportunity to upgrade charging capacity courtesy of the MURB grant.
The owners at The National were eager to offer this amenity at The National, as they understood how this amenity would benefit everyone by increasing the value of the homes at The National. The resolutions were approved.
Currently Ted is the only EV owner at The National. However, due to the availability of EV charging capacity, many owners at The National have shared with him their intention to make an electric vehicle their next vehicle.
Charging needs and building situation
Existing bylaws/rules for charging: None. This was the first request
Charger Level: Level 2
Number of electric vehicles with charging access: 2
Access: 2 shared stalls, available to residents and visitors (conversion of former visitors stalls)
Building type: High-rise
Year of construction: 1994
Parking type: Secure underground gated garage
Building alterations: Identified a dedicated circuit for EV chargers, routed an electrical cable from electrical panel through to visitor parking area. This required coring through concrete. Identified two visitor parking stalls as restricted for EV charging only.
Cost: $6000 spent from contingency funds, $9000 from MURB grant, for a total cost of $15,000
Payment for electricity consumption: $1/hour (payment through Chargepoint system)
Charger ownership: Common property of the strata
Management of the installation: Building manager
Bylaw or rule changes: Three bylaws changes were put forward at the AGM. One resolution was to approve the additional funding (in excess of government contribution) needed to purchase and install the charging system. The second and third resolutions were to permit changes to the common area to allow for EV installation and charging.