Electric vehicles are growing in popularity and decreasing in cost. What does this mean for Bodies Corporate? This means that they have a choice: to either confront the issue now or to wait and try and resolve the issue when it becomes ripe. Ideally, Bodies Corporate should have a plan. Put simply by Alan Lakein, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”
How many are coming?
Currently Australia lags the world when it comes to the take up of electric vehicles. According to the Guardian in 2020, 1.25m electric vehicles were sold in China, 395,000 were sold in Germany and 328,000 in the US. Australia will however catch up. Just what percentage of us will drive EVs in 2030 remains to be seen. Estimates range from between 20% to 100% by 2030.
It is safe to say that the number of Teslas and other electric vehicles you see on the road has increased and will continue to do so. The reason is simple, electric vehicles offer lower cost and better performance than most internal combustion (ICE) alternatives. electric vehicle motors have fewer moving parts, require less servicing and the cost to charge an electric vehicle is less than a tank of petrol.
Use of car spaces
With such a large number of electric vehicles set to hit our roads over the next 10 years, we can expect to see a corresponding increase in demand for electric vehicle chargers (EV Chargers). Not surprisingly, drivers of electric vehicles prefer to charge in the most convenient way possible.
This means a greater number of residents will request dedicated EV Chargers within buildings and this is the issue that Bodies Corporates need to consider now.
The issues to be addressed
The issue of EV Chargers encompasses a number of legal, regulatory and practical considerations. These include:
- Governance: what rules should apply to owners wishing to install and operate EV Chargers. What processes should they follow and how will they be ‘approved’ by the Body Corporate. Should additional security be provided for the parking lot containing the EV Charger to prevent theft or damage. Furthermore, who has responsibility for resolving any disputes as to use of the EV Chargers.
- Size and specifications: There are a number of different types of EV Chargers. Some require a larger ‘draw’ of electricity. The relevant considerations here include any potential increase in ‘demand charges’ to the building as a whole, the compatibility of the EV Charger should the intention be for it to be used by other Owners, and the aesthetics of the EV Charger.
- Electricity consumption: the arrangement for the payment of consumption of electricity by the EV Charger including whether it should or needs to be separately metered. If EV Charger consumption, combined with other consumption, is likely to result in demand charges to the building as a whole, who should be responsible for those?
- Property rights: what rights are required by the owner or operator of the EV Charger: i.e. whether the EV Charger can be installed at an individual parking lot and whether it crosses onto another adjoining lot.
- Insurance: the desirability and cost of insurance covering the EV Charger including any consequential risks to the building or adjoining lots.
- Exclusivity: whether the lot owner should be entitled to exclusively use the EV Charger and who will manage use if the one owner does not have exclusive use.
The considerations and answers to those considerations vary and ultimately professional advice should be obtained. Bodies Corporate must ensure that they obtain advice to comply with applicable laws when coming up with a plan for EV Chargers. Law firm Law Quarter can provide you with comprehensive advice on managing your legal and regulatory obligations in this area.
Thankfully, there are third parties that offer EV Charging solutions such as ARC Utilities Management. If your building is planning for an EV Charging future, get in touch.