The demand for electric vehicles (EV) is booming in Australia. According to Australian industry body The Electric Vehicle Council, sales tripled from 6,900 in 2020 to 20,655 in 2021. More electric cars on our roads means more charging stations will be needed. With the Federal Government predicting 89 per cent of all new cars sold in Australia by 2030 will be electric, it’s becoming more common for EV charging stations to be included as part of the build for new developments. For older properties, strata committees and body corporates can expect the topic of EV charging stations to come up in their communities sooner rather than later.
The installation of EV charging stations is still a relatively new initiative for existing corporations and committees. There’s not a lot of information around and no real precedents have been set yet. For these reasons, we’ve answered some common questions to help tenants, owners, committees and corporations work through the installation of EV charging stations.
Yes. A property owner can apply directly to their owners corporation or strata committee if they want one for themselves. Tenants cannot apply for EV charging stations directly so they will need the owner of the property they’re renting to apply on their behalf. A corporation or committee can also take the initiative itself and liaise with owners about installing a charger for communal use at the property.
Owners wanting to install a charger in their own personal parking space for individual use would need to apply to their corporation or committee for approval. Applications would typically be considered at either the annual general meeting or a specially called general meeting if required. The approval process (i.e. the majority decision for or against the installation) will depend on the legislation that applies in the state or territory the owner’s property is in. Contact your closest Whittles branch and speak with a member of our team to find out how long the approval process could take.
The most important consideration is the capacity of the building to manage the additional electrical load. For example, if the existing infrastructure only has 5 per cent capacity but 10 per cent of owners want to use a charging station, a complete rebuild of the corporation’s power boards may be needed to allow for additional capacity. A corporation or committee can engage an electrical engineer to undertake an inspection of the building and its current load capacity and advise what may be required to allow for the installation of EV charging stations.
Similar to individual requests, a committee or corporation who wants to install a charger for communal use would need to list it as an agenda item for discussion at a general meeting. The approval process required to proceed with the installation would depend on the legislative requirements in the state or territory the property is in.
The answer depends on who has been given the approval for the installation. In situations where an individual owner wants to install their own charger, they’d be solely responsible for managing the works required because they’re the only one obtaining the benefit. That said, we’d still recommend they engage an electrical engineer to make sure the job is done correctly. In the case of a committee or corporation-led project, we recommend they also engage an electrical engineer to project manage the works. If you require an electrical engineer’s services, individual owners, committees and corporations can ask their local Whittles team for a list of preferred suppliers. These suppliers are the reputable contractors we recommend to quote, and complete, EV charging station installation. Read our blog on the Top 6 Reasons For Using A Preferred Supplier.
We reached out to our friends at Savant Energy for the latest cost estimates and the short answer is: it depends. Costs can vary due to a range of factors. These factors include the age of the building, the condition of the main electrical switchboard and the distance from the charging station to the property’s main electrical infrastructure. Generally speaking, you’re looking at between $750 and $2,500 for a standard AC charger depending on the size that’s needed. The cost can also vary if the main switchboard needs to be upgraded to accommodate the additional electricity draw for the chargers. Making an old main switchboard compliant with the Australian Standard can also add to the cost along with cabling to the charger itself and additional infrastructure like cable trays.
There are various ways corporations and committees can manage the increased electricity costs associated with providing charging stations given it’s unlikely many residents will use the chargers in the short term. These options include billing back to users, a charge back to individual meters or a swipe/credit card option. Talk with a member of your local Whittles team to work through the best options for your community.
For communal charging stations, the upfront installation cost would either be met by a special levy or by utilising existing funds from the sinking fund.
Whittles can provide support by introducing EV charging stations as an agenda item on general meeting notices. Your local team can also refer corporations and committees to suitable engineers and consultants to investigate and carry out the installation. We can also assist with managing any disruptions during installation works by helping with resident communications.
Would you like to know more about installing an EV charging station at your property? Contact your closest Whittles branch and speak with a member of our team.
Updated: 9 May 2023