One Condo Owner’s Experience with an EV Charger Installation

July 2024

New residential high-rise buildings are required to support electric vehicle charging systems.  According to the code, “not less than 20 percent of the parking spaces in the building must be provided with EVSE”  and “remaining spaces must be designed to permit future EVSE installation.”

This ensures those in a new or recently completed building will have access to an electric vehicle charging system.  For those living in most buildings, owning an electric vehicle comes with charging challenges.  Here is the process followed by one condo owner to obtain a Level 2 charger system for their vehicle in their parking space.

Verify Existence of Basic Charging Infrastructure

Before a charger can be installed, a building must have adequate electrical infrastructure.  This means there must be sufficient electricity being delivered to the building.  Without this capacity, there are no practical options for installing an electric vehicle charger.  This information can be obtained from building management, possibly in the form of an engineering report.

Once electrical capacity is confirmed, an engineering company undertakes a study to determine what it takes to build a distribution infrastructure if one does not yet exist.  The cost to the corporation can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In this specific situation, the cost was $300,000.  Reserve fund money can be used for this project.  Since few communities incorporate this work in their reserve fund study, funds get recouped through higher condo fees in future years.

Application to Install and Employing Electrician

Once the infrastructure is in place, a community should have an electric vehicle charging policy.  An owner makes an application to the condo board for approval to install a charger.  Then an electrician is employed by the owner to do the installation.

Prices vary so it is best to obtain multiple quotes.   Depending on the electrician and how they plan to do the work, costs can range from about $5,000 to $10,000.  The application and quote processes can take two or more months before work commences.  Physical installation can be completed in a day.

Installing the Charger and Ongoing Costs

The charger becomes part of the building’s physical infrastructure which requires certain legal documents to be signed.  Legal costs can be about $350.

The charger must be installed and connected to a meter which costs about $5,000.  There is a monthly service charge of about $10 for metering, in addition to the cost of electricity used which is about $4 per charge.

Financially, an electric vehicle can make sense for a condo or high-rise resident driving 30,000 kilometres a year.  If you use the car primarily for city driving, it can be difficult to recoup the $5,000 to $10,000 it costs to have a charger installed in a parking space.