Driving the Concept of Electric Vehicles into Strata Companies

An Original 2021 Essay by Lee De Castro

You may have heard the buzz word: Electric Vehicles. This technology has evolved from an experimental concept to being part of our immediate future with ever increasing speed.

Electric Vehicles, (or EV’S) are expected to become cheaper to produce than conventional fossil fuel-powered cars by 2027, mixed with the pledges from governments around the world to phase out fossil fuel cars, the destination is clearly paved for electric cars to become the Australian vehicle of choice very soon.

As the objections to Electric Vehicles become depleted, like commercial vehicle options, range anxiety and more affordable brands, the last foreseeable obstacle is to conveniently charge the car for the daily commute.

There are various investments underway for public charging stations and it’s currently under 1 hour to be sufficiently charged, but public stations are still a hassle that people wish to leave behind with the fossil fuelled cars. If the option is available to charge at home or while at work, then this convenience will become the desirable feature your home and business will be expected to offer.

Taking this into consideration, it would be in the best interest of all strata owners to start preparing for this change, by ensuring your strata scheme can accommodate EV’s and there is a plan in place of how this will be managed.

Let’s be honest, no one wants to have power cords running from the kitchen window out to the car park to get power to the car. Then, have to wait 18 hours for it to charge on a standard power point supply, residents will be seeking a better solution or consider more suitable accommodation elsewhere.

Implementation of communal fast charging stations in common car parks which allows residents to be safely fully charged within a few hours will become a notable facility for residents looking at properties that suit their lifestyle needs. Prospective owners and residents will be relying on forward-thinking members in the strata company to have these facilities implemented, preferably before they are in demand.

It may not only be the large complexes that need to consider the logistics of providing access to chargers. Provisions from the strata alleviate the issues around residents needing to individually have the infrastructure installed on the property and then take it with them as they move on.

With the strata company managing this task, it reduces risks of miscommunication, unmanaged installations and have a plan to manage the draw of power, possibly even the added benefit of an income stream for the strata company by offering communal chargers with the swipe of pay pass facility.

Charging vehicles can create a heavy load on power supply. This is much like the obstacle installing air conditioners presented older strata companies when this caused too much demand on the outdated infrastructure. Similarly, if individuals proceed unmonitored by the strata with the installation of charging facilities the load will be unmanageable.

A well conceived system will become a major drawcard attracting high quality residents to choose a unit for sale/ lease in a competitive market. Much like back in the days when having air conditioning in a home was a luxury, now it’s a standard expectation. As it becomes a priority for owners to have these amenities available, your property will need to consider how it will rate on the acceptable standard of living of the future residents.

This task may not be as simple as pop a few wall boxes in communal bays, which would be fairly inexpensive and easy to install. The major cost that can arise is when any of the existing infrastructure needs to be replaced, and this applies to any major electrical works.

A surprise cost such $70,000.00 for a main switchboard may dampen enthusiasm. Upgrading the infrastructure is often the largest outlay to get an existing building up to a standard to cope with all these new ideas and technology. The consideration to be made is; if the requirement is inevitable, do the owners spend the money sooner and start attracting desirable residents and extra income revenue sooner, or wait until it is required and there is no choice left but to spend the money?

Embedded network conversions will work in perfectly with this task, should a large complex not already be set up. This maximises the infrastructure upgrades, reduces electricity costs and allows for other amazing technology to be incorporated in your sustainability journey as well (like solar and battery power).

New research trials are in Australia with the existing technology where the EV’s assist the building’s power supply during the peak evening period before it charges itself during the night when the power demands and costs are far lower, much like a battery. To have communities in Perth brave enough to take advantage of this two-way benefit of the vehicles and batteries would be so exciting.

It is not without acknowledgement that the majority of owners will be saying “Of course this all sounds lovely, and I am sure the hipster regions of Perth will be getting onto this, but for those of us who are too busy getting on top of the 10-year maintenance plan and complaints of barking dogs, this all seems like a far-off concept to be managed by future generations.” However, as there are more considerations to be made in addition to just putting a power point in the carpark, it is something we need to get onto the agenda and discussion of every community before this amazing advancement in technology becomes a headache that owners are desperately trying to resolve to provide the residents with these facilities that became a part of our lives.

This topic of sustainability infrastructure has originated from environmental conservation, but the monetary benefits and the modern expectations of residents are the driving force to have these conversations in the strata community. The Electric Vehicles will become an integral part of this topic in the immediate, not distant, future.


S. Guthrie How do you charge an electric car at home? Drive.com.au March 2020

How do you charge an electric car at home? | Drive

Arena Batteries on Wheels roll in for Canberra storage trial. Arena. gov.au July 2020 arena.gov.au/blog/batteries-on-wheels-roll-in-for-canberra-storage-trial

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