The challenges of charging electric cars when you live in a high rise

Published by
David Waterworth

Many challenges need to be overcome as inner-city dwellers seek to have charging infrastructure installed in their apartment car parks.

One of the frequent issues is the fear of electric vehicle batteries bursting into flame. A recent spate of Chevy Bolt fires are a good example. However recent studies such as this analysis of data from the US-based National Transport Safety Board

has found EVs far less likely to catch fire compared to petrol (ICE) and even hybrid cars.

2021 saw a tripling in the numbers of EVs sold in Australia (and when local Tesla sales are included, the figure could be even higher), and estimates vary from a 3% to a 6% penetration rate in 2022. This depends heavily on the entrance to the Australian market of more affordable Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai vehicles.

There will need to be an education program for members of body corporates (BCs) who are trying to come to grips with a rapidly changing technology, the needs of their clients and the need to future proof their investment.

New-build developers would be wise to factor in EV chargers at the planning stage as costs for retrofitting an EV charging backbone in some cases can be up to five times higher, post-construction.

“Specialist dedicated EV infrastructure solution companies (such as JET Charge), focus on solving these challenges using the latest technology, site assessments, engineering experience and tailored design to ensure the OC and EV owners can adopt EV charging and it’s future scaling up in the most efficient, fair and safe way,” says Mark Jeisman, business development manager for EV charging solution provider JET Charge.

Forward-thinking body corporates are planning to upgrade their facilities to retain and attract tenants who either have an EV or are thinking of purchasing one.

The question is: how much money should they spend to do this? An interim step could be converting visitor car parks to EV charger bays to give BCs  more time to assess demand. Companies such as Chargefox and JET Charge can provide this shared charging infrastructure.

However, this is a short-term measure. As more and more EVs are sold, residents may prefer their own charger in their own secure car bay. They will prefer easy access and flexibility for charging. This is best done in a planned and holistic way. If everyone installs their own charger this will create a nightmare for body corporates.

Just as body corporates have adjusted to retrofitting solar, they must now adjust to retrofitting charging solutions for their tenants.

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