Joining the electric vehicle bandwagon
In 2022, the sale of electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia accounted for only 3.8 per cent of total sales. However, that number is tipped to soar over the coming years.
The International Energy Agency recently released its 2023 global report and predicts that sales of electric vehicles globally will reach 35 per cent of all sales by 2030.
One of the main factors holding Australia back from a larger uptake is due to a lack of available infrastructure.
However, owners’ corporations (OCs) can play a leading role in rectifying that particular issue. Apartment building carparks (as well as commercial building and shopping centre carparks) are perfectly suited for adaptation to EV charging outlets.
Some buildings can opt to install a handful of EV charging outlets in visitor parking spaces for common use (and implement a billing system) while other buildings could adopt the functionality of having an EV charger installed in each parking space, with the ability to have the electricity connected to their own individual meters and billed at the end of each quarter.
Those buildings that already have an embedded energy network are well placed to implement a full-building upgrade.
The upgrades to the carpark are not without additional complications, however. There is a small additional risk of fire due to the presence of EV lithium batteries and on-site lithium battery storage units.
OCs also need to be aware of the hazards involved in the parking and charging of the EVs on common property, and because of this increased risk, it may be the case that an upgraded sprinkler system or water supply system would be required to be installed to certain areas of the carpark.
All of this can be adequately addressed by a specialised consultancy or project manager that can assist with these investigations and build into the overall costs of the project.
While most new buildings now provide some EV charging capacity, older buildings should start to engage owners to include the upgrade in forward budgeting and planning. If that means planning for a shared EV station located on common property, a suitably qualified expert should be engaged to determine the appropriateness and type of station and the electricity load capacity of the building.
OCs should also consider where the appropriate locations for the EV charger stations in the carpark would be, how the costs will be passed on to users, how to manage the daily operation of the EV charger stations (maximum time limits) and the cost of maintenance and repair.
Certainly, we are well placed in Australia to take advantage of a high uptake in EV sales, especially with high energy costs and high petrol/car maintenance costs. As always, the buildings that continue to innovate and keep pace with technology will hold the most value. •