Electric Car Charging Stations

May 2014

Is this the right choice for condominiums?

Electric cars are the future of automobiles and that future is NOW!

Not so fast. The hype seems more than just a little ahead of the facts. For condominiums looking at how to create charging stations for these electric vehicles, ignoring these facts may be costly.

During the early part of the last century, electric cars accounted for more than a third of all vehicles in the USA. Today, despite all the government subsidies, their market share is unimpressive. Sales of electric vehicles accounted for 0.4% of car sales in the USA during 2012 and anticipated to be about 0.7% of global sales by 2025. There is currently an estimated 2,000 electric vehicles in Ontario. Some claim this low level of sales is due to a lack of infrastructure

The reality appears to be that drivers don’t want electric cars. They are expensive, have limited range on a single battery charge and recharging, when available, takes too long.

Interest in electric vehicle charging stations as a condo amenity seems to be increasing while interest in electric vehicles may be on the decline.

Some buildings in the Toronto area have or are developing the infrastructure for recharging electric cars. This entails bringing more amps (electricity) into the building. The cost of upgrading electrical capacity of a condominium to support Charging Stations has been estimated at $200,000 to $300,000 by Brookfield Residential Services.

An equally important factor is determining what type of Charging Station(s) will be available to residents. There are two options each of which has certain advantages and limitations.

One option is to set up one or more common element Charging Stations at an estimated cost of up to $10,000 per station. Only one vehicle can use a Charging Station at a time and charging a vehicle battery can take up to 8 hours. In practice, this may limit use to one vehicle per day which could be a problem if too many condo residents require recharging of their vehicles at the same time.

The other option is to offer a Personal Charging Station (wiring of a parking stall) for individual parking spaces. Condos offering this amenity are charging approximately $2,000 to set up the infrastructure for a single parking space. A recent Toronto Star article on this subject identified a number of buildings in the Toronto area offering a Personal Charging Station but was unable to identify anyone who has yet to purchase the upgrade.

The cost to recharge an electric vehicle is estimated at $1 to $3 per vehicle per day or as high as $100 per month. The cost of individual metering by the electric company could add an additional administrative cost of $20 to the monthly bill.

Another factor to consider is that not all electric vehicles require an electric charging station.

At this time, it appears that nobody has enough information to be clear as to what extent charging stations are or will be necessary within condominiums.