Electric vehicles (EVS) are coming!!!
From the CCI Newfoundland and Labrador Summer 2021 Condo Chronicle Newsletter
Electric vehicles (EVs) are the ground transportation of the future. While some EVs are available today (e.g. Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt etc.), most of the major vehicle manufacturers in Canada plan to have EV cars and trucks available on the market within the next 5 years. Advantages of EVs include:
- reduced environmental footprint, especially in Newfoundland and Labrador with the power coming from a clean renewable energy source such as hydro power;
- it is much less expensive to operate a vehicle on electricity compared to gas;
- with fewer moving parts than gasoline engines, maintenance is significantly reduced and in addition;
- EVs are much quieter to operate than a vehicle powered with an internal combustion engine.
Canada is well placed to capitalize on the burgeoning consumer demand for EVs given this country’s access to the minerals and metals needed to make electric vehicle batteries. Canada is rich in lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, aluminum and manganese - key ingredients for advanced battery manufacturing and storage technology.
The federal government’s 2021 budget included some measures to support the development of a battery supply chain, such as a 50% cut in the general corporate and small business income tax rates for makers of zero-emission technologies, including EV batteries.
Federal incentives also exist for electric vehicles and charging stations. All Canadians qualify for up to $5,000 toward the purchase of a fully electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
For more information, visit:
Many provinces provide tax incentives to encourage support for EV technology and recently NL has announced a new electric vehicle (EV) rebate of $2,500 to help residents get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle. Read more at MobileSyrup.com: Newfoundland and Labrador announce $2,500 electric vehicle rebate.
Rather than filling up your car with gas, the battery of an EV needs to be charged at a charging station. There are 3 levels of EV charging stations - Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
1. Level 1 Charging Stations
Level 1 EV charging stations have a 120-volt AC plug, which connects to any standard electrical outlet. Every electric vehicle sold today comes standard with a 120-volt Level 1 portable charger. These chargers can be plugged directly into a simple household outlet, and don't require any special installation.
Their simplicity makes Level 1 charging stations ideal for residential use; however, it requires more time to charge a vehicle. Therefore, most people use a Level 1 EV charger at home to recharge their vehicle overnight.
2. Level 2 Charging Stations
In comparison to Level 1 chargers, Level 2 charging stations replenish EV batteries faster, making them the most popular choice for public use. As opposed to a 120-volt plug, a residential Level 2 charger has a 240-volt AC plug, while a commercial Level 2 charger has a 208-volt plug. Residential EV chargers with varying lengths of extension cords and amperage (the greater the amperage, the faster the charging time) are available at most hardware stores. Check your condo electrical system to ensure it can accommodate the amperage of the charger purchased.
Since a residential Level 2 chargers are only compatible with 240-volt outlets, it is recommended that an electrician with experience installing a Level 2 EV charger be retained to install this equipment.
3. Level 3 Charging Stations
The fastest chargers of all three types are classified as Level 3. Unlike Level 1 and Level 2 stations, Level 3 EV charging stations are equipped with a direct current (DC) plug. The 480-volt plug sends direct current straight to the battery, bypassing the EV’s on board charger.
Usually, these stations are reserved for commercial and industrial use as their installation is prohibitively expensive and requires more advanced technical knowledge. Level 3 stations are often referred to as fast chargers as they are designed to charge EV batteries at a faster rate – typically 30 to 60 minutes. Although Level 3 chargers have advantages, they are not compatible with all EVs.
For additional information on EV charging, visit:
In an effort to support the proliferation of EVs in our province, the infrastructure for charging EV batteries is being installed in many areas. Fourteen charging stations installed by NL Power across the province are available now or soon will be available. Visit: https://nlhydro.com/electricvehicles/plan-your-route/
The charging network extends from St. John’s to Port Aux Basques, with an average distance of 70 km between chargers. In total, 28 electric vehicle chargers will be installed across the island to support the transition to a clean energy future. Each of the 14 charging stations include both a Level 3 charger and a Level 2 charger. Funding for the network was provided by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and the Government of Canada through Natural Resources Canada’s Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative.
In addition to the NL Power charging stations, the City of St. John’s has 52 Level 2 public charging stations at such locations as the Health Science Centre, Water Street Garage and the Avalon Mall. Some 84% (44) of these stations are free. There are also 10 Level 2 charging stations in Mt. Pearl at such locations as Mount Pearl City Hall and the Glacier Arena. Some 70% (7) of these stations are free. To locate other EV charging stations in NL, visit: https://chargehub.com/en/countries/canada/newfoundland-and-labrador.html
Accommodating an EV in a Condominium Environment:
If you live in a townhouse, duplex or detached bungalow condo, the Level 1 EV charger that comes with your vehicle should be all that you require assuming that you can park it close enough to a standard 120-volt AC plug and the condo’s electrical system can accommodate the required amperage. Slow charging is the ideal option for charging an EV at home overnight for enhanced battery health since there is less internal heat build-up. For regular short range residential use, it is recommended that an EV battery be charged between 20% and 80%. Example of these condos include MPD Condominiums (Freshwater Road), The Oxen Pond – Cumberland Crescent Condominiums (Cumberland Crescent) and Twin Brooks Condominiums (Gisborne Place).
For multi-story condos with underground parking, planning to accommodate EVs will require feedback from the owners to determine how many of them plan to acquire an EV in the short term and long term. In the short term, if only a few owners already have or have plans to purchase an EV, perhaps one or two Level 2 chargers could be installed by the corporation in dedicated EV parking spaces. It may be necessary to implement a system whereby owners of EVs reserve these spaces for a few hours at a time, mitigating the overall inconvenience. If it is anticipated that over the next 5 –10 years a significant number of the owners plan to buy an EV, this will likely require major changes to the condo common elements’ infrastructure. Examples of these condos include Place Bonaventure Condominiums (Bonaventure Avenue), The Narrows Condominiums (Duckworth Street) and McKee’s Grove Condominiums (Margaret’s Place).
Small multi-story condos (less than 20 units) with limited off-street parking: For smaller multi-story condo corporations located in downtown St. John’s with very limited land available around their building, a review of the challenges may determine that the most convenient and cost effective solution, given the downtown location of these properties, is for the owners of EVs to use the relatively large number of public charging stations available nearby. Examples of condos corporations facing this situation include Imperial Condominiums (Flavin Street), The Carriagehouse Condominiums (Gower Street) and Chapel Hill Condominiums (Queen’s Road).
Larger multi-story condos with off-street parking face different challenges. Initially a few visitor parking spaces could be equipped with Level 2 EV chargers that could be reserved by residents. As the number of residents owning EVs increases, however, then additional chargers would have to be installed. If it is anticipated that a significant number of the owners plan to buy an EV, this would require major changes to the condo electrical infrastructure on the available outdoor parking lot. The complication in this situation is installing chargers on the exterior parking lot exposed to the elements. Operating these chargers in inclement weather, especially during a Newfoundland winter, could pose a considerable challenge to the Board since snow removal and ice control would have to be accommodated. Examples of condominiums in this situation in St. John’s include The Windermere Condominiums (Portugal Cove Road), The Collegian Condominiums (LeMarchant Road) and 25 Tiffany Lane Condominiums (Tiffany Lane).
If a condo corporation is planning to accommodate a significant number of EVs on their property, it may be necessary to organize a vote of members who own 80%, or a greater percentage that is specified in the given corporation’s declaration, of the common elements to consent to this initiative if it is deemed that the installation of the EV chargers is a significant addition to the assets of the corporation. (Ref. Sect. 52 of the Condo Act) Maintaining the chargers, once installed, would be a common element expense, although the EV owners would pay for the electrical power to charge their EV. In my view, any EV chargers installed will become part of the common elements even if they are installed on vehicle parking spaces designated for the exclusive use of particular owners. However, it may be challenging to obtain the required consent of owners if there are fewer than 80% of them who plan to purchase EVs.
The key in preparing to accommodate EVs on your condo property is doing the necessary research, enhancing communication between the Board and owners, and advanced strategic planning and preparation. EV’s are coming! Will your condo be ready?
David Cumming serves on the Board of the CCI-NL Chapter as Secretary/Treasurer. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of the CCI Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter. Readers are encouraged to seek the advice of professionals to address specific issues or individual situations. This article may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without acknowledgement to the author.
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