The secret to successful shared electric vehicle chargers in a strata building.

Installing an EV charging station in a shared car space is a great first step in implementing EV charging in your building. It gives residents who have an electric vehicle access to charging facilities without having to invest in the backbone infrastructure straight away. We recommend it as a first step to our customers while they get approval for the complete backbone infrastructure which will give residents access to EV charging in their individual car space. 

So what does shared EV charging look like?

The most common approach that we see strata building’s take, is to change one or more of their visitor parking spaces into dedicated EV charging bays. If they don’t have any visitor car parking spaces then a wash bay is also a good alternative. 

There are some things to consider though when installing an EV charging station in a shared setting:

The first thing to consider is whether you will install a single phase or a three phase charger. The difference between the two is essentially how quickly they charge an electric vehicle. A single phase charger, charges at approximately 40 – 50km of range per hour of charging whereas the three phase chargers charge at around 120 km of range per hour of charging. That could mean a full charge could take 4 hours vs 10 hours. Now in a shared setting this is important as the faster the charge, the more residents that can charge in a day at any given charging station. That is why we recommend installing three phase chargers in a shared setting. There are some things to note though, three phase charging stations are slightly more expensive than single phase charging stations. They also draw more power, so you would need to consult with us first to make sure that you have enough power supply on your main switchboard to support three phase charging. 

The second thing to consider is how you will manage residents booking the charging bay. We recommend at the start just seeing how many residents are using the chargers and whether or not a booking system is actually required. If it is, then you could look at utilising your current building management system or you could look into getting a scheduling app that residents can book through.

The third thing to consider is whether or not you will set time limits to the EV charging bay.  So if you find that residents are leaving their car in the shared charging bay for longer than it takes to charge their car then you may consider implementing time limits. Now the billing software will allow you to do this, by charging residents what we call an idle fee. Now this can be charged if they leave their car in the bay once charging has completed or once they have reached a predetermined time limit. Again we reccommend having no charging limits at the start and then seeing if it is something that needs to be implemented down the track.

The fourth thing you’ll need to consider is how to collect payment for charging.  So you will require billing software to manage the payments. How it works is really simple. Residents and visitors will download the app for the billing software when they first charge, they will set up an account and then they will  link their credit card. They will then be billed directly for their usage and this amount will be reimbursed to the owners corporation. Billing software is a subscription service and it will cost the owners corporation around $250/year. 

Now the final thing that you will need to consider is what rate you will charge residents and visitors for using the shared chargers. So this is generally a cent per kilowatt rate. So for example, 30 cents per kilowatt. Because the chargers are connected to the buildings power the electricity rate being charged to the owners corporation is at wholesales rates. Now wholesale rates are significantly lower than retail rates which is what the residents would be paying in their own apartment. So what this means, is as the owners corporation, you have the option to charge a slightly higher per KW rate than what your being charged as this will still be cheaper than what the residents would be paying if they were paying retail. So the residents and the visitors are still saving when their charging but you are also able to recoup some of the costs of the infrastructure. Tax implications would need to be considered for this option.

Summary

Now in most buildings we find, that as EV uptake increases, residents want to be able to charge in their own car space and this is when backbone infrastructure will be required. However, shared EV charging is a great first step for offering EV charging in your building. If this is something that you would like to explore more, get in touch with us here at EV Installations and we can get you started on your EV journey. Until then, happy charging.

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