Driving Toward the Future: EVs in Condos

EVs in Condos

The future of driving is here in the form of electric vehicles – or EVs, as they’ve come to be commonly known. And while we may still need roads where we’re going, the one thing we won’t be needing in our futuristic battery-powered cars are gas stations.

We will need charging stations, though, and that’s where it suddenly becomes clear why we’re chatting about future cars here in our regularly-scheduled condo blog! Electric vehicles have already started popping up in condo parking spaces across the country. While these sustainable cars and SUVs provide an immense environmental benefit, they do require a bit more than your typical gas-powered vehicle that goes beyond just a spot to sit every night. Namely, they need parking spaces individually outfitted with EV-specific chargers. 

What does that mean for your condo building’s electrical infrastructure? Are they bylaws or legislation to consider? What sorts of roadblocks (no pun intended, mostly!) might your building face in retrofitting for EV charging stations? Let’s dig into the details below.

Five Key EV Considerations for Your Condo

1. We’re in the Wild West of EV Legislation

Internal combustion engine vehicles (or, ICE vehicles) are on their way out – and if it’s not rapidly-evolving EV tech that kills them, it’ll be government legislation that does the job. That said, while there’s some pretty ironclad regulatory work that’s been done when it comes to eliminating the sale of ICE vehicles in Canada by 2035, any additional supportive legislation regarding the installation of charging stations in multi-family residences across the country has been sorely lacking. 

So far, there hasn’t been any sort of national building code in Canada that would require new or existing condos to offer or upgrade toward EV charging capabilities. Canada’s provinces and territories are also able to establish their own condo and building legislation (see: the Alberta Condominium Property Act), but again, there’s really been nothing done within the scope of provincial jurisdiction to support any sort of an EV charging initiative. 

That said, none of that should dissuade your condo corporation from drumming up a plan regardless. 2035 is on its way, and the sooner you and your building can get a jump on tackling what will surely be legislated EV charging requirements, the better.  

2. Putting a Plan in Place

One of the biggest barriers condo corporations will encounter when it comes to making their EV charging dreams a reality will be the physical capacity of the building’s electrical infrastructure itself. This is because typically, a condo’s parking garage is powered off of a house panel on common property that also works to provide power to a variety of other circuits and services found in that building’s common areas. 

That panel may be capable of supporting the addition of a handful of new charging stations as early EV-adopting owners request them/ However, condo boards will soon find themselves in a tough spot once they’ve tapped that power source to its max and additional owners come forward also looking for EV charging stalls of their own. 

To this end, any foray into EV should really be carefully considered and shrewdly strategized – and this starts with getting a sense of how many of your condo community’s members are actually interested in having access to EV charging in the first place.  

3. Connect with Your Residents and Gauge Interest

While everyone will eventually switch over to EV solutions at some point in the future, it’s also important to keep in mind that not every single member of your condo community will require access to EV charging, just the same way that not every resident in your building currently drives or has need of a car or parking stall. 

Take some time before digging too deep into charging station plans and infrastructure upgrades to explore how many of your building’s current residents would even have need of this technology. If your building is located in the inner city with solid options for transit, many of your condo community members might not ever have need of a charging station or an EV at all. Conversely, if your condo is located in the far-flung suburbs, you might find that nearly every residents raises their hand for a charging stall. 

4. Find the Solution That’s Right for Your Building

Once you’ve determined just how much demand there is for EV power in your building, you can set about building a plan to answer it. Your condo board can approach this just like they would any other job around the building: by engaging contractors, getting quotes, and finding the best business to provide your building with what it needs. 

There are some outside-the-box solutions you can explore at this point too – particularly if your building is an older one that makes this sort of an infrastructure upgrade a little tricky to navigate. For example, many charging stations come equipped with power supplies that offer dynamic load management, enabling buildings with even a limited amount of surplus power to charge a surprising number of vehicles – albeit with some trade-offs in terms of charging speed and the like.

5. Plan for the Future

Whatever approach your condo corporation adopts to handle the growing demand for EV charging options within your condo building, it’s important to formulate your solutions with the future in mind. 

Maybe you don’t need every stall to fully accommodate EV charging solutions right away – but perhaps you’re expanding your lot anyway and want to consider roughing-in the infrastructure for those new stalls in the process. It could be cost-prohibitive to upgrade all the stalls you want to all at once, so maybe you install a number of shared charging stations before doubling down on more of them as the demand for EV accommodations increases. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the future – but by planning ahead and planning early, you’ll be setting your condo community up for success in tackling what’s to come.

Interested to learn more about bringing EV charging technology to your condo? Looking to start futureproofing your building today but aren’t sure where to begin? Get in touch with catalyst condo management in Calgary today and we’ll do our best to help you cruise into the electrified future in style.

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