Electric Vehicle Charging within buildings

While still somewhat niche, there is growing evidence that Electric Vehicle ownership in Australia is increasing at a rapid rate. According to Car Expert (carexpert.com.au) sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles surged in Australia over the first half of 2021, in fact more EV’s were sold in the first half of 2021 than all of 2020. While the demand for charging stations is currently limited, it is important that strata buildings are prepared to deal with requests for installing EV charging stations to meet increasing demand.

At Active we have worked closely with many buildings to develop a simple process to ease its transition to EV charging

Greenfield Developments

Many local governments are now introducing requirements for EV readiness as part of planning approval for new developments. This can be limited to a few reserved common property car spaces all the way up to each car space having the required cabling in place for any lot owner to install a charger.

Having EV chargers in available car spaces requires very careful planning from the electrical engineers to ensure that the building has a sufficient allowance of electrical demand to accommodate the increase in electricity usage from EV’s on top of the standard needs. Mostly this requires sophisticated Load Management Systems (LMS) that can then control the amount of power being used in the building. This normally limits EV charging to after hours and over night keeping the load balanced.

In electrical embedded networks the allocation of chargers to apartments simplifies the billing of electricity usage to the apartment owner. In traditional grid connected buildings, the challenge can be greater as connecting the electricity supply for the exclusive use car park space to the apartment supply is expensive.

Often the charger is connected to the public light and power and the cost of the electricity supply is paid by the strata. In this scenario, the charger needs to have a billing partner connected to it to recover the cost from the resident and reimburse the strata.

An important question facing many buildings is what to do for our existing residents when they want to install chargers.

Existing Building Retrofit

An important question facing many buildings is what to do for our existing residents when they want to install chargers.

Providing EV charging to the first few EV owners can be simple; the real challenge is provisioning an entire building. Charging is an essential utility for EV owners. As EV uptake scales from 5% to 50% of residents, the electrical demand grows with it. For such an essential investment, futureproofing is critical and there are important questions that need to be answered: 

• How to allocate electricity to best serve rising demand? 

• Whether to invest in a full-scale charging transition now, or grow your system progressively? 

• How to ensure system compatibility with future technologies?

Thorough analysis of the building’s conditions and careful planning are required to develop a strategy for the long-term EV charging rollout that answers these questions. At Active we have worked closely with many buildings to develop a simple process to ease its transition to EV charging.

We recommend a 3-stage approach for retrofitting EV charging into apartments that allows the building to implement EV charging requirements in an iterative way. The milestones of each stage bring you one step closer to your desired EV charging outcome.

Stage 1 – Determining your options and direction

Active will be provide you with a Strategy Report that is vendor agnostic to take to your committee. This helps you understand the EV charging options with indicative costings so that you can develop a long-term strategy for the rollout of infrastructure to meet EV charging demand.

Stage 2 – Preparing for construction

Once you decide on the most suitable direction for your building, Active will perform analysis, design and engineering works that are required prior to construction. At the end of this stage, you will have a design that can be used for a tender process or construction.

Stage 3 – Implementing EV charging

If you proceed with the Stage 2 design, Active can manage the construction. Having built an intimate knowledge of your building through Stages 1 and 2, Active ensures the smooth implementation of your design.

In essence, at Active we remove the complex and technical bits so that you can focus on the important things. We survey the building, collate, and analyse the data. This delivers a report that is used in discussions around your EV charging strategy.

Our analysis includes: 

• Collation and review of all electrical drawings; 

• Electrical interval data from your energy retailer for quantitative analysis of usage; and 

• Site assessment for verification of drawings and inspection of electrical infrastructure.

The assessment aims to provide you with the necessary information presented in an easy-to-understand way, so you can make the critical financial decision on the direction most appropriate for owners for the next 20 years.

View Comments


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *