New rules hope to jolt condo boards to install electric car chargers
|Toronto Star 23 Apr 2018 at 14:51|
New provincial regulations are designed to make it easier for the growing number of condo dwellers to own electric cars by encouraging the installation of charging stations in parking areas, says the Ontario government.
The new rules, launching May 1, will make it incumbent on condo boards to negotiate with residents proposing to install charging stations, said Minister of Government and Consumer Services Tracy MacCharles.
“Condo owners have indicated to us they face significant challenges seeking condo board approval to install electric vehicle (EV) charging systems on condo premises and frustration at the inability to obtain condo board approval for installation,” she told a press conference in Liberty Village on Monday.
“For condo owners, we want to make it easier for condo corporations to have those charging systems installed,” she said.
The new rules compel condo boards to deal with owners’ proposals to install charging stations within 60 days. The board then gets a further 90 days to negotiate the costs associated with the installation, including electricity and insurance, said Brad McDonald, senior policy advisor with the ministry.
Those costs for a charging station can range from about $2,000 to $10,000.
Only about 1 per cent of car sales in Ontario are electric vehicles, but the numbers are expected to double annually, creating a pervasive need for charging facilities, said MPP Arthur Potts (Beaches-East York).
“In my community, people don’t have garages — they park in the street. Where are they supposed to put their charger? We’re working with the City of Toronto to see if we can get special dispensation for people to park on their front lawns if they have an electric vehicle — to put a charging station,” he said.
More developers are installing EV chargers in new condos, said Dean McCabe of the Association of Condo Managers of Ontario. But he estimated only about 10 per cent of existing buildings have them.
Retrofitting those buildings can be complicated and expensive, especially if the condo board hasn’t put aside money to pay for infrastructure upgrades, he said. That has prompted some boards to defer the decisions.
The new regulations should help accommodate electric car owners in the short term, but also buy the condo board time to decide on the kind of system it wants and upgrade the electrical supply to service a growing numer of vehicles, said McCabe.
“The (electrical) load on the capacity for that system can be a lot so you need to increase the capacity of the building — all of that being downloaded onto a condo board,” he said.
Meantime, some condos are installing chargers in visitor parking areas, where residents normally aren’t permitted leave their cars.
“Putting it in visitor parking gives the board time to address the system upgrades,” said McCabe, adding that charging stations are an amenity that can enhance property values for some condos.
“People are saying, ‘This is a condo that has something that’s important to me,’ whether it’s for an environmental, or a social or economic reasons. It’s going to add to the market value in the long run,” he said.
Supply is the chief barrier to getting more electric cars on the road, said Potts. Even higher gas prices aren’t prompting people to reduce their carbon footprints, he said.
Condos represent more than half of new homes built in Ontario with 10,000 condo corporations in the province, says the government. There are more than 680,000 Ontario housholds living in condos.