As electric vehicles (EVs) become increasingly popular, more and more people are considering purchasing them. However, one major obstacle to EV ownership is the lack of charging infrastructure. This is particularly true for people living in strata properties. Unlike single-family homes, where homeowners can easily install a dedicated charging station in their garage or driveway, strata properties may not have the necessary infrastructure in place to support EV charging and making the relevant changes is a complex process.
Getting ready for EV Charging
If your building is not yet EV ready, and you are considering the steps required for a more sustainable future of electric vehicles, there are many things to consider. We have assembled some considerations, options and information for you to take away and consider as you respond to the changing landscape of EV charging and sustainability for your strata property.
If you are an owner or tenant and are not on the Council of the Strata Company:
Reminder that EV Charging infrastructure decisions need to be discussed with the Council of the Strata Company. See our FAQ’s below for tips on how you can discuss this topic with your Strata Company if you are thinking of purchasing or have purchased an electric vehicle.
Strata Titles Act and EV Charging
With the 2020 changes to the Strata Titles Act 1985, Strata Companies are now empowered to make sustainability improvements to common property. Previously Strata Companies were restricted to using strata funds to maintain, repair, renew or replace. The amendments to the Strata Titles Act, which came into effect on May 1st 2020, empower strata companies to improve the common property – not just maintain and repair.
EV charging infrastructure can be considered a sustainability infrastructure upgrade which is now allowed and changes can be authorised via an ordinary resolution (passed by a majority vote) rather than a special resolution.
Whilst there are many considerations and challenges that come with infrastructure change like EV supply, this recommended process should help you work your way through the options.
Before investing in EV charging infrastructure, it’s important to assess the property’s readiness for EV charging. This may involve evaluating the electrical system to ensure that it can support charging stations, assessing the parking situation to determine the best location for charging stations, and reviewing the strata bylaws to determine whether they need to be updated to allow for charging stations.
It’s important to engage with residents early in the process to determine the level of interest in EV ownership and EV charging infrastructure. This can help determine the scale and type of charging infrastructure needed and can help ensure that the cost of installation is shared fairly among all residents.
Consider the following survey that can be emailed out to all owners for their feedback:
To all owners’ and residents’ SP [insert number]
Subject: Electric vehicles charging – resident survey
There is a global shift away from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles (EVs). It really is a not a question of if, but when, we will need to provide EV charging in our building.
The changes to the Strata Titles Act now allow for sustainability infrastructure upgrades, which are going to make it simpler for us to start down this path.
To help prepare our building for the future, we are seeking to understand what you – our owners and residents – are thinking in terms of EV purchasing intent and what you want by way of EV charging in our building. Based on your input, the committee will provide a proposal at the next general meeting for your consideration.
A few things to note:
- The survey will only take around 2 minutes to complete.
- Completion of this survey is voluntary, but we’d really appreciate your assistance.
- You will not be identified in any reports or papers using information from this survey without your written permission.
- All information collected will be kept strictly confidential and stored securely. Any use of the data will be subject to standard data use policies which protect your privacy.
By participating in this survey, you confirm that you have understood this information and agree to take part in the survey.
Please return this form via email to [insert name], [insert position] by [insert date].
Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.
Are you considering buying an EV (select one):
☐ In the next year
☐ In the next 2-3 years
☐ After 4 years
☐ Not in consideration
What do you consider the barriers to buying an EV? (select all that apply)
☐ Range concerns/battery life while driving
☐ Lack of charging infrastructure in this building
☐ Lack of other local public charging infrastructure
☐ Price of EVs
☐ Lack of models
☐ Other (please specify): Click or tap here to enter text.
If you had an EV, where would be your preferred location for charging (select one)?
☐ Shared EV charging station on common property (this may mean loss of a visitor car space or other common property for installation)
☐ Charge in my own car space
☐ Charge elsewhere (public charging)
Electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) for those with or considering purchasing an EV:
- Does your vehicle or intended vehicle come with EVSE? Choose an item.
- Are you willing to pay for EVSE? Choose an item.
- Do you think the Owners Corporation should pay for EVSE? Choose an item.
Building EV charging infrastructure is the electrical connection from the buildings’ main distribution board supply to a sub-board, distribution box, or any other device installed to charge EVs:
- Do you think the owners’ corporation should pay for EV charging infrastructure?
- Are you willing to pay a contribution to pay for this infrastructure?
Do you have any other comments or suggestions about the potential installation of EV charging:
There are many things to consider when developing your EV policy for your Strata Company. Further down this page we have included all the things you may need to consider.
The following guide from the NSW Government may help you navigate the options available to your Strata Company and what approach may suit your building.
Please note, the above guide has been published by the NSW Government which operates under a different Strata Titles act. Any references to Strata Legislation may not be relevant.
Often a debate arises within Strata Companies regarding the cost associated with EV Charging – whether that is electricity usage or installation costs when only a select number of residents have Electric Vehicles and others rely on paying for their own petrol to operate their vehicles.
There are two types of cases that the Strata Company may want to recover as part of this process:
- usage cost (kWh) for electricity consumed
- cost of building infrastructure
Each has its own set of financial options. Any option must be agreed between the owners corporation and owners, via a sustainability infrastructure resolution and be clearly stated in the EV charging by-law.
Here are a few options:
Usage cost (kWh) for electricity consumed
- No usage fee
- where measurement is not possible
- not worth the cost of administering billing
- owners decide to absorb the cost
- Flat fee
- estimated flat fee per day or week because measurement is difficult
- easier than providing metered readings
- suitable for common property power sources
- Metered rate
- meters are provided and calculate usage charge based on kWh rate
- where EV charging equipment is connected to individual apartment meters, increased usage charges are just included in billing
- Outsourced solutions
- Some EV operators charge an ongoing subscription that manage usage fees
Cost of building infrastructure
- No cost recovery
- Strata Company takes on entire cost as it may increase the value of the building
- Full cost to owner
- No cost to Strata Company and owner(s) pay for all works
- Cost recovery
- Strata Company takes on entire cost up front but recovers cost over time from owners as they use the facilities
Depending on the option you have chosen as part of your EV policy (eg individualised or building-wide infrastructure), implementation can now begin. You can choose to engage an independent EV charging consultant to provide advice on partnering with suppliers for the project and arranging quotes.
If you need to arrange a general resolution from the Strata Company you may need to wait until the next annual general meeting.
Things to consider as a Strata Company when deciding on an EV infrastructure rollout
Individual, Shared or Whole of Building approach
EV charging options for Strata may include individual (Charging left to owners, single phase from their property), Shared (Common property car spaces for EV charging) or Whole of Building (retrofit the building to be ready for all owners having EVs). Each come with a different cost implication.
Who will pay for capital upgrades?
Depending on your approach the individual may pay for the cost of the EV infrastructure if it is for private use on their own lot. For shared or whole building approaches, the Strata Company may elect to pay or may pay in advance but recover cost from users over time.
Who will own the EV Supply Equipment?
EV supply equipment may be owned by resident and installed in their individual lot or installed in common property car spaces and owned by the strata company. Similarly, the Strata Company may provide provisions for EV supply on individual lots, but the individual owner is still required to bring their own supply equipment.
What load control is required?
Timers or peak demand management may be required to ensure power is managed across the whole building. This technology may need to be installed especially in the case of individual lot installation.
Who will pay for power usage?
Depending on the setup, power usage may be connected to their individual lot meter, metered and on charged from the strata company, charged on an hourly rate or provided free of charge. In some instances, outsourcing companies can provide the EV supply equipment and meter the usage through a third party program, charging users as they use it.
What charging level/speed do you want?
Level 1 charging can happen on single phase power supply (like what is currently in your building). It provides 2.4 – 3.7kW of power and charges at 10 – 20 km per hour.
Level 2 charging requires dedicated 7kW power supply to a wall-mounted charger. This charges vehicles up to 200km per hour.
Faster, Level 3 charging and beyond is designed for ultra-fast charging and is used in public settings. In this instance you would need to assess whether it is possible for your building.
How is it approved?
In most instances, the above changes will require a sustainability infrastructure resolution by-law either from the owner or from the council of the strata company.
What budget do you have for the works
Installation costs for EV equipment supply will vary drastically from building to building, but could range from $2000 (individual approach with no existing infrastructure) through to $200,000 for EV infrastructure to the entire building including power upgrades. It is important to consider the costs of each approach, the results from your resident survey and what is achievable.
Frequently asked questions
If you own or are planning on owning an electric vehicle and require a charging facility, and you live in a Strata Property, here are a few steps you can take. If you are a tenant of a property, you will need to discuss this issue with your landlord.
- Gather any relevant information
- Find out whether your building is EV ready, and if it is, read the EV policy for connecting your EV supply equipment
- Investigate what kind of power supply you need for your EV supply equipment and vehicle
- Investigate the charging options available to you, eg. Can you use the power supply from your own unit, is it physically possible?
- Make a formal request to your Council of the Strata Company regarding the issue. Here is a sample letter below:
Dear [Council of the Strata Company],
I am purchasing / I own an electric vehicle (EV) and am currently investigating charging options.
Could you please advise whether the Council of the Strata Company has installed, or plans to install, EV charging capability for the use of all residents and/or visitors? If so, could you please provide information about the current or proposed system or proposed project plan timing, technical specifications and type of billing system.
If there are no plans for installation of EV charging for the use of all residents, could you please advise what documentation is required to obtain approval by the strata committee to install EV charging infrastructure in my own parking lot.
I welcome the opportunity to put forward a proposal and discuss options for current and future EV owners at an upcoming council meeting.
Please contact me if you have any questions or require additional information.
Thank you for your time in considering this request. I look forward to hearing back from you on this matter soon.
[Email, phone contact]
If an owner has requested EV Supply to their lot you may want to consider responding to this request as a one-off individual request.
If the owner submitting the request has a parking space where their meter is easily accessible, installing EV charging in their lot may be easy to do and can be done at their expense by a local electrician. Keep in mind however, the use of the EV supply station will contribute to the building’s peak electrical demand and power load control measures may need to be implemented.
If their parking bay is far away from a switchboard, this task may be more expensive and complicated so a detailed investigation is required and it may be treated in the same way as a renovation application that involves changes to common property, so will require an individual by-law for each application.
You will need to decide whether the power point will connect to the resident’s meter, and if possible what billing arrangement for the use of common property power will be used. The resident pays all costs.
Remember to contact your strata manager for support navigating the above.