How our old, inner city apartment block added electric vehicle charging
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How our old, inner city apartment block added electric vehicle charging

Jun 05, 2023

There are numerous stories of people having difficulty getting electric vehicle charging into apartment blocks – we enthusiastically embraced the idea.

The Botanica is a boutique apartment block in St Kilda Rd in Melbourne. It was converted from a four-storey office block into an eight storey apartment block about 25 years ago. It has around 60 apartments and around 90 car bays. There are no ‘spare’ bays, all bays are owned outright.

We are an older building, but with all the new buildings coming on stream in the area, we must be competitive. Having EV charging is just part of that story.

In January this year we took the first step of commissioning Jet Charge to develop a strategy document that gave a variety of EV charging options.

The options ranged from simply ensuring there was sufficient safe power point access for a small number of EVs through to allowing dedicated chargers to be installed for each bay.

The Committee surveyed owners to gauge interest and concerns. The numbers in support were modest but growing. After consulting our insurance company, real estate agents and reference sites, we committed to install a modest solution.

The solution has the following features:

· The OC to fund the common backbone, infrastructure to protect the common circuits, provide some basic load balancing and a system to ensure users pay for usage. This cost was around $35K for up to 30 bays and can be expanded as demand increases.

· Owners directly pay for the ‘last mile’. This is the connection from the common infrastructure and their charger. This cost is around $4500 including the charger.

· To ensure that the OC does not have to pick up a big electricity bill, users of the chargers get billed on electricity usage by Chargefox after each charge. After a modest handling fee the OC is reimbursed, this ensures that it is true ‘user pays’ and the OC does not have to deal with a large number of small transactions.

The system went live in June and while the take-up has been modest, we have had a number of owners pay for their ‘last mile’ to ensure that they are ‘EV ready’. This included one owner who saw it as making his rental property more attractive.

I think it also makes our car park safer. Car parks without EV charging facilities will discover that they have people dragging extension cables from any power point they can find.