Plan & Design
There is no one size fits all option
Different buildings present different challenges. The building design and layout, feed-in power capacity, power room and meters location, visitor's parking, air conditioner cabling, residents and owner's corporation expectations, are but a few items that can influence an EV charging solution for any given building.
Any EV charging installation must be designed to operate within design limits.
Examples include (but not limited to)...
the individual power circuit
an individual apartment's design capacity
the building's design capacity
The Community Association requires subsidiary bodies/strata to grant approval for all EV charging usage. This would be expected to include a by-law ensuring that EV charging in the building does not exceed the "as built" design load of the individual circuit as well as the design load of the overall building.
Some strategies to address the challenge
ensure EV charging does not increase the existing power allocation.
determine spare/unused power capacity by assessing current usage against available capacity. For example, engage an energy consultant or electrician to temporary install logging equipment to profile building power usage over a period of time (say two or four weeks). Compare actual usage against supply capacity to calculate available spare power.
utilise a load management system to ensure EV chargers consume only spare/unused power capacity and not above.
Consider a blend of charging options
Often a building strategy will involve more than one charging option depending on the individual apartment, car bays, proximity to infrastructure etc.
Forecast Number of EV Users
While EV dominance is inevitable, uptake is starting from a low base and will take time to build. With this in mind, it's not necessary to design a charging solution covering 100% of parking bays. Instead consider perhaps 5% for the next few years. Speak with owners to gauge expectations and intentions on EV ownership.
Building Energy Audit
An energy audit will provide an insight into how much power the building consumes compared to available capacity. This is achieved by temporarily installing monitoring equipment over a period, typically two weeks. The data provided by this exercise will map spare capacity over time of day.
Some example outcomes/insights:
Spare capacity throughout the night. This scenario may lend itself to a simple timer system that allows EV charging only during the window of spare capacity (eg 10pm to 6am).
Spare capacity at all times. In this instance, a calculation could be made as to how many chargers can be installed before any load management becomes necessary.
No spare capacity. This doesn't preclude EV chargers, but rather investigate options to direct idle existing power circuits to EV chargers. For example, source charging power from an air conditioner circuit but only when the air conditioner is not in use. See below for more detail.
Deciding upon an EV charging strategy for a building will take time and research. Buildings, electrical layouts, strata objectives, resident requirements and budget all vary greatly. There is no one single solution that fits all.
The Breakfast Point EV Team have worked with various vendors, electricians, and electrical engineers to flesh out a number of EV charging options. It is up to individual strata to assess what option (or combination of options) works for them and their building.
We have put together a decision tree process that may assist in deciding what options work for you, and hopefully provide building strata with a direction.