Electric vehicles charging stations in strata 

Is an electric car station viable for your strata building?

Global electric vehicle (EV) takeup is surging at an astonishing pace, and Australia is starting to catch up with pure EVs accounting for almost 10 per cent of new vehicle sales in the second quarter of 2023. Rising fuel prices and growing renewable energy capacity mean both the financial and environmental case for joining this revolution will only become more compelling.

Challenges for strata owners

For strata owners and tenants a key barrier to overcome is the ability to charge EVs at home.

The NSW Government estimates that 80-90% of EV owners will charge their vehicle at home – whether that is at a single dwelling or in an apartment building. In NSW, 15% of the population live in apartments and there are nearly 84,000 strata schemes.

Existing buildings, though, face significant challenges around up-front infrastructure costs and how to equitably share those among owners when few will immediately benefit.

Potential hurdles like the capacity of ageing urban electricity infrastructure in the immediate area may be beyond owners’ control. But some headroom can be created by simultaneously investing in other energy efficiency initiatives that will reduce the overall load.

Planning for an EV Future

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.

Owners corporations should also consider:

  • The location of the station
  • How the cost will be passed onto the user
  • The daily operation of the station
  • If any unintended consequences may arise from the operation of the EV station.
  • The cost of maintenance and repair.

NSW Government Grants for EV Charging

NSW Government is now providing co-funding to retrofit existing apartment buildings to make them EV ready.

An initial grant pool of $10 million became available in October 2023 to assist eligible NSW apartment buildings by co-funding up to $80,000 of the cost of the assessment and installation of EV infrastructure upgrades in two stages:

Stage 1 – feasibility assessment

The grant will subsidise the cost of a feasibility assessment with applicants contributing $2,000 ex-GST and the Government will cover the remainder. Owners corporations with a recent feasibility assessment may also be eligible for this funding.

Eligibility for stage 1:

  • Located in NSW. 
  • Registered strata scheme under the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015.
  • Classified as a class 2 building under the National Building Code with 10 or more apartments. 
  • The building must have private and/or common property visitor (or shared) off-street common property parking as part of the strata scheme.
  • No more than 4 EV chargers already installed for buildings with less than 40 apartments, or no more than 10% of the number of parking spaces for buildings over 40 apartments.  
  • Must be able to implement EV charging infrastructure upgrades that can be accessed by all residents.
Stage 2 – infrastructure upgrades

The grant will co-fund 80% (up to $80,000 per building) of eligible infrastructure costs. It will also cover 50% (up to $1,200 per building) of eligible software subscription costs for 2 years.

Eligibility for stage 2:

  • Completed stage 1 of the program. 
  • 2 x commercial quotes for the electrical infrastructure works. 
  • Confirmation that EV charging infrastructure will be appropriately operated and maintained. 
  • Confirmation that charging infrastructure will be accessible to all residents and tenants looking to install EV chargers. 
  • Evidence of owners corporation approval for the installation of EV charging infrastructure*. 
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to complete the works (i.e. sufficient capacity in the Capital Works Fund).
  • Insurances: public liability, professional indemnity, workers compensation.

*The installation of EV charging infrastructure is categorised as a sustainability infrastructure upgrade and replaces the special resolution previously required under section 108 of the SSMA 2015. Voting requirements for a sustainability infrastructure motion to proceed are that ‘less than 50% by unit entitlement, are against the resolution’ and also require the owners corporations to have a 10 year capital works fund (CWF) which budgets for provision of capital works.

How are the applications assessed?

Applications will be assessed on a first-come, first-serve basis until the grants funding has been exhausted or otherwise decided by the NSW Government. We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible.

For assistance with the grants application, please don’t hesitate to contact your dedicated S+ manager, who can guide you through this process effectively.

For more information on the EV Grants, visit energy.nsw.gov.au

Download the NSW-EVRB-Pre-application-checklist

EV Planning Toolkit

The NSW Government and the Owners Corporation Network have released a toolkit with case studies to help strata committees and owners step through the planning process.

For residential, there are five important steps

  1. Surveys
  2. Energy assessments
  3. Option evaluation tailored according to building size
  4. Evaluation payment options
  5. The approval process and funding

Visit energysaver.nsw.gov.au to find the OCN-designed toolkit.

Why drive an electric car? 

Reduce your carbon footprint

You can reduce air pollution from exhaust emissions by driving an electric vehicle. By reducing air pollution, you help to improve air quality.

Running costs

Electric vehicles have a lower running cost as the price to recharge with electricity is less than the price to refuel with petrol.

The practicalities of electric vehicles

Driving a battery electric vehicle takes a little more planning than driving a traditional fuel operated car. There are fewer charge stations available and it takes longer to charge an EV than it does to refill a petrol tank. However, the number of charge stations are steadily increasing and battery technology continues to evolve.

Car emissions and strata complexes

Exhaust emissions resulting from motor vehicles have harmful and long-lasting effects on both human health and the environment. Especially increasing concentrations of exhaust emissions in closed environments, such as car parks. In Australia, car park ventilation systems must operate at all times unless they are automatically controlled by a carbon monoxide (CO) monitoring system. By paving the way for use of electric vehicles, these harmful emissions will be reduced, and one day extinguished.

Let your S+ strata manager know when you are ready to start the EV conversation at your building.

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