Strata Apartment EV Feasibility Study: Why You Need One

Electric car charging station for basement carpark of strata apartment building

Getting an Electric Vehicle Charging Feasibility Study is an important first step in all strata apartment buildings when planning for the EV transition. Without one, the Owner’s Corporation or individual lot owners could end up wasting thousands of dollars on band-aid solutions that need to be overhauled in a few years.

Solar Choice is a leading provider of independent EV Feasibility Studies in every state of Australia, and has the experience & expertise to help your strata apartment building avoid financial pitfalls, ensure equitable access, and future-proof your infrastructure with expert advice tailored to your building’s unique needs. 

Solar Choice will help you access cost-effective, scalable, and compliant solutions that will enhance your property’s value but also demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. Don’t be left behind in the EV transition!

In 2023 Electric Vehicle sales in Australia increased 120%, more than doubling the number of EV’s driving on our roads. As electric vehicle sales continue to increase exponentially in the coming years, more Australians will need access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure in their homes. While that is a relatively straightforward undertaking for those living in houses with off-street parking, residents of strata apartment buildings face some unique challenges. 

Up to this point, manufacturers of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the industry as a whole have focused on chargers in freestanding houses and public charging stations, and there’s good reason for this. In order to encourage EV uptake, the government and the EV industry needed to solve “range anxiety” – the fear that your EV battery will run out of juice in the middle of regional Australia without access to a charger. 

Now that public charging infrastructure has reached a point where many new EV owners can plan a road trip all over Australia without too much concern, it’s time to focus on the challenges faced by owners and tenants in residential strata apartment buildings. 

Speak to an expert about EV Charging for your building

Avoiding Pitfalls: The Importance of EV Charging Feasibility Studies for Apartments

Strata buildings have a limited electricity supply from the grid. This mains electricity supply is used for everything from powering individual apartments to common property lighting, hot water heaters, and air conditioning. 

There is a finite amount of electricity available to be allocated to electric vehicle chargers, and if this available capacity is not allocated in an equitable and future-proof way, it could prevent other owners from being able to charge their EVs in the future and result in significant unnecessary costs down the track. 

Here are some potential scenarios strata buildings need to avoid:

Scenario Risks
Allowing the first electric vehicle owner in the building to arrange their own electrician to set up a fast charger
  • The charger is connected to common power, resulting in all owners paying for the electricity used
  • The charger is set up without load management so the circuit will constantly trip when other chargers are added by other owners later
  • The cable run set up by the electrician does not follow a path to allow discrete additions when other owners add chargers down the track
Forcing all EV owners to use trickle chargers plugged in to existing powerpoints in the garage
  • The whole building ends up paying for the electricity used
  • The circuit/s are not designed for the load of multiple EV trickle chargers resulting in tripped circuits or blown fuses
  • Cars will not charge fast enough for some owner’s needs
Owner’s Committee installs a fast charger in visitor parking spot without doing a feasibility study first
  • The peak power usage of the building does not allow spare capacity for EV’s to charge, resulting in trips and electrical faults
  • Load management systems won’t be set up to protect existing electrical infrastructure
  • EV owners have to pay significant annual fees to some billing service providers
  • Becomes problematic when 5 or more owners drive and need to charge EVs

Speak to an expert about EV Charging for your building

Future-Proof Your Property: The Impact of EV Charging Feasibility Studies on Cost Savings

A Solar Choice EV Charging feasibility study is the best way to get all of the information needed to make an informed decision on the best EV charging solution for your strata building. Your study report will contain trusted, unbiased advice along with a roadmap to guide immediate and gradual rollouts of charging infrastructure while avoiding financial pitfalls. 

Every apartment building needs to consider what their owners and tenants EV charging requirements will be in 5+ years and take that into account when making decisions. Solar Choice surveys lot owners to gather data on their intentions around purchasing an EV, and their preferences for types of chargers to factor into our recommendations. The different solutions proposed in the report will allow for staged installations over time in the most cost-effective manner as more owners acquire EVs rather than forcing the Owners Committee to spend a huge amount of money upfront.

An EV charging feasibility study will provide your apartment building OC with a roadmap to make the appropriate charging infrastructure available for the first owner with electric vehicles, as well as any required gradual rollout of further charging equipment as more owners switch from ICE to EV vehicles. Without a roadmap, OC’s can easily waste money by putting capital expenditure towards non-scalable solutions, or by allowing individual owners to have their own charger installed without planning for the electrical capacity needs of future installations. 

There’s plenty of advice on the internet about electric vehicle charging solutions and solar for apartments, but often the advice comes from manufacturers or distributors of particular products which may be biased or even exclude different solutions. A comprehensive feasibility study will detail all of the possible EV charging solutions for your strata building including approximate upfront and ongoing costs. Every owner should be well informed of the potential costs for each solution being voted on by lot owners, including immediate costs to the OC, near-term costs to owners such as special levies, and potential costs to EV owners such as fast charger installation in a parking spot and billing system management fees.

What’s included in a Feasibility Study from Solar Choice?

A site inspection by an experienced electrician

  • An electrician will visit your strata building to assess the existing electrical infrastructure, the main power supply from the grid, and the physical locations of switch boards and distribution boards relative to potential charger location points

A data logger installed on the incoming mains

  • Over a period of at least 2 weeks, this device will monitor the building’s electricity consumption patterns to determine exactly how much spare capacity is available for electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Not all companies install a temporary data logger. Do your research first to make sure your feasibility assessment will include one

A survey of all owners on their EV purchase intentions and charger preferences

  • This helps plan a roadmap and capital expenditure plan to suit the forecast EV charging demand in your building
  • This data also help to inform the committee of the hurdles and likelihoods of a successful vote to invest in EV charging infrastructure

A detailed report including: 

  • A breakdown of the building’s electrical capacity and consumption based on data from the data logger
  • Electrical capacity available for EV chargers
  • Details of any electrical infrastructure required to facilitate EV chargers being installed in specific locations such as owners or visitor parking spots
  • Cable routing pathways required for EV chargers in specific locations
  • A range of possible EV charging solutions for your strata building
  • Pros, cons, and approximate costs for each option
  • EV charging roadmap to guide staged rollout of chargers as owners purchase EVs

Solar choice will provide ongoing consultation to Strata Managers and Owner’s Committees throughout the process to ensure all owners are well informed and the best outcome for the building is achieved. 

What documentation do you need to provide?

In order to prepare a comprehensive and detailed feasibility study report, your provider will need:

  • A recent copy of the common area electricity bill 
  • Strata plans, site plans and architectural drawings
  • If available, single line diagrams of the building’s existing electrical infrastructure

Why choose Solar Choice for your EV Feasibility Study?

  • Over 16 years experience working with strata apartment buildings
  • Independent, unbiased advice
  • A National network of pre-vetted electrical partners and EV charging experts
  • Competitive pricing
  • Ongoing consultation and advice throughout the process

Speak to an expert about EV Charging for your building

Are you ready to undertake an electric vehicle charging feasibility assessment for your apartment building?

Solar Choice are experts in providing independent unbiased advice on EV charging infrastructure in strata apartment blocks. We would love to be your trusted advisor and help achieve the most efficient and cost-effective charging solution for your building.

To find out more or to arrange a feasibility study you can fill in the contact box below, and an EV charging expert will get back to you to start the process. 

Frequently Asked Questions On EV Feasibility Studies

The Australian EV strategy