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  • #65839
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

      Apartment block strata committees are coming up with increasingly bizarre reasons for not installing electric vehicle (EV) charging in their garages,
      [See the full post at: Myths and fears behind resistance to EV charging]

      The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
      • This topic was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by .
    Viewing 12 replies - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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    • #65844
      pbeaco
      Flatchatter

        EV charging and EV lithium battery fires are two issues that are still evolving.

        In regards to EV charging, the vast majority of EV owners can charge their EV battery using a standard 10amp power point; eg 10 hours of charge will provide over 120km (https://evse.com.au/ev-car-guide/tesla/tesla-model-3/). The exceptions will be sales reps and tradies that tend average greater distances. Is anyone struggling to keep their car charged to 80% off a 10amp power point?

        The next issue is the power available to the property. Cities will never have have unlimited supply as the cost of the infrastructure is too high. So the solution is demand management which all of the commercial car charging networks utilise. Owners corporations can also install demand management to make sure their building does not exceed the agreed maximum supply current from their utility company. But it will cost to make the initial investment.

        The issue of fires is something that at this point in time is unresolved. It may only come up as an issue if the OC applies for a building permit for the installation of car chargers. I have been advised by a building surveyor that car charging of EVs is considered an additional level of hazard that in turn needs an additional level of fire mitigation. Have any other OC’s come across this? Or are EV chargers being installed without a building permit? If that is the case, is that jeopardizing insurance cover?

        IMHO it is up to the EV manufacturers to bring down the risk and flammability of the batteries that they are installing to levels that the authorities agree is no greater that ICE vehicles. In turn it is up to governments and regulators to bring in battery flammability standards as they have with vehicle crashes and passenger safety.

        #65846
        Sir Humphrey
        Strataguru

          I generally agree with pebeaco. I would add that it is often quite feasible to have ad hoc arrangements for the first few EVs in a building. It is very unlikely that allowing an inexpensive installation of a few 10A power points will over-load a building. If in doubt, get an agreement that the EV owners will set their cars to pause charging between 5 and 8PM to avoid the time of typical peak demand. You could have an agreement that the EV owners will pay an estimated amount based on milage or an electrician could put a simple, cheap kWh counter in line with a power point so all parties can see and record exactly what was added to the OC’s account and arrange reimbursement.

          Any permissions could be given subject to acknowledgement that they are temporary and may be revoked later when there is more demand for EV charging and the OC sorts out fancier charging arrangements, probably with a load management system that slows or pauses charging when building demand is high but also allows faster-than-10A charging when building demand is low or few cars are plugged in.

          I’d also point out that the new National Construction Code calls for this sort of load management system to be installed in new apartment blocks along with sufficient space on distribution boards and cable trays etc for all units to have charging in their parking space.

          #65853
          Jimmy-T
          Keymaster
          Chat-starter

            One of the “myths” I didn’t mention in my AFR article was the misinformation that strata schemes can’t use capital works funds to install EV charging as that is an upgrade or an improvement, rather than a repair or maintenance.  This is not so, according to this from a Fair Trading spokesperson:

            Section 79(2) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (SSMA) sets out the various aspects of capital works that an owners corporation must consider and estimate expenditure for at each annual general meeting.

            This includes expected expenditure relating to renewing or replacing fixtures and fittings that are part of the common property, or replacing or repairing the common property.

            Section 79(2) notes, that “expenses of a capital nature would include expenses in relation to major repairs or improvements to the common property of the owners corporation…”.

            Accordingly, section 79(2) would permit the owners corporation to use their capital works fund to pay for the installation of infrastructure such as an electric vehicle charging station on common property as it states funds can be used for improvements.

            The NSW Government’s reforms to the SSMA in February 2021 has made it easier for lot owners to seek approval for the installation, financing and/or changing of by-laws relating to sustainability infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging stations.

            The reforms reduced the voting threshold required for sustainability infrastructure changes to common property to a simple majority vote of the owners corporation.

            So there!  Another anti-EV myth exploded. And you don’t even need to pass a special resolution. A simple majority is all that’s required for sustainability infrastructure changes.

             

            The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
            • This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by .
            #65856
            chesswood
            Flatchatter

              Sir Humphrey said:

              EV owners will set their cars to pause charging between 5 and 8PM to avoid the time of typical peak demand

              We investigated and found that our peak demand was hot afternoons. Air-conditioning uses far more kWh than stoves because once the AC is running it’s left on until bed-time (or all night in some cases). Meanwhile, refrigerators run for a few minutes and stoves are turned off after an hour or so.

              So perhaps any permission to draw current for EV charging should allow for the weather!

              #65861
              Sir Humphrey
              Strataguru

                Sir Humphrey said:

                EV owners will set their cars to pause charging between 5 and 8PM to avoid the time of typical peak demand

                We investigated and found that our peak demand was hot afternoons. Air-conditioning uses far more kWh than stoves because once the AC is running it’s left on until bed-time (or all night in some cases). Meanwhile, refrigerators run for a few minutes and stoves are turned off after an hour or so.

                So perhaps any permission to draw current for EV charging should allow for the weather!

                Sure. The peak can vary from season to season and place to place. A load management system would sort things automatically and is probably part of an ultimate solution. However, shorter term, ad hoc solutions for the first X% of plug-in vehicles can work and buys time to work out what is really needed for the building, to educate owners, build support and save up for what might be needed. While all this is happening, you don’t need to hold people back if you don’t let them pull too much current and avoid adding to a reasonable guesstimate of when the building peak would be.

                #65908
                Manta
                Flatchatter

                  The development application process regulates the minimum number of car spaces to be provided for resident and visitors.  Streets around unit developments are invariably clogged as the the spaces provided are always to the minimum standard with is unrealistic. Some developers want reductions in these standards on the pretence of being environmentally friendly.
                  Taking visitor parking for EV charging may result in a reduction in spaces available below the minimum required.

                  Perhaps a resident using a visitor /charging station could make their parking space available to visitors who may have an entitlement to the space.  A note on the car being charged with the location of an alternate space and the time of use wouldn’t be too hard!!!

                  Overnight charging in a visitor space will become a bonus parking space and impossible to police.

                  Charging in the residents own space is the only fair way with the cost borne by the user of the space.

                  #65910
                  Jimmy-T
                  Keymaster
                  Chat-starter

                    You are absolutely right about this being a possibly illegal change of use of the parking spaces but I can’t see any council in NSW breaching a block that uses visitor spaces judiciously for EV charging.

                    Look at what happened with Airbnb.  Apartment blocks had DAs that specifically forbade short-term letting but councils refused to do anything about it, often using the excuse that they didn’t have the staffing to police it.

                    To get back to your other points,  any vehicle being charged at a fast-charging point is unlikely to be there for longer than one hour at a time.  Rules and by-laws could easily regulate this.

                    Current fast charging powerpoints are regulated by the providers such as Tesla and Chargefox.  They bill the car owner then pay the Owners Corp for the electricity used.  They could also easily sanction drivers who leave their cars in visitor spaces for too long, by employing recognition software to not allow them to charge up for, say, a week.

                    Leaving cars on charge overnight is unlikely and could easily be controlled if it became a problem.

                    And yes, the best solution may be for drivers to charge up overnight in their own space, on a user-pays basis.  But, as Dale Cohen explains in the original story, it’s a “chicken and egg thing.”  Install some basic infrastructure and the cars will come, when more cars come, move to the next stage of facilities provision.

                    The Richmont (and my block, too, coincidentally) has “backboned” the building so that owners in the future can charge up in their own spaces, overnight when power is plentiful and cheap.

                    It’s incremental but it has to start somewhere.  Buildings that block EV charging will eventually become fossil fuel ghettoes, full of gas-guzzlers and the people who either don’t want EVs or can’t afford them.  That’s a very interesting demographic: ten years from now, would you want to live in a block with a disproportionate number of climate deniers and financial strugglers?

                    The use of visitor parking for EV charging isn’t perfect, but then we shouldn’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

                     

                    The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
                    #67837
                    nixjet
                    Flatchatter

                      I’m an EC member on a few properties. For the same reason I would not approve a resident keeping a 44 gallon drum of petrol or diesel in the basement, I would actively vote against any charging infrastructure being installed.

                      I would even extend this to include permission being required to keep EV cars in basements as it would totally change the fire safety profile of the building.

                      You virtually cannot put out lithium battery fires. At least a petrol or diesel fire will either burn out or can be put out, but lithium battery fires are on another level.

                      In my view, the fire risks for almost all buildings are too great and such infrastructure belongs outside, on street level.

                      #67839
                      Jimmy-T
                      Keymaster
                      Chat-starter

                        You virtually cannot put out lithium battery fires … In my view, the fire risks for almost all buildings are too great and such infrastructure belongs outside, on street level.

                        How about barbecue gas cannisters on balconies? A much wider spread and proven risk. Or smokers on balconies – the cause of the two major cladding fires in Melbourne in recent years?

                        If you think those are false equivalences, have a look at this recent article which acknowledges that lithium battery fires are harder to extinguish but points out that fully electric EVs have only a 0.03% chance of catching fire while petrol or diesel vehicles are 50 times (1.5%) more likely to burst into flames, and hybrids more than twice that (presumably partly due to having both kinds of fuel and propulsion on board).

                        If you are genuinely concerned about EV fires, look at banning cars with older and riskier battery types, rather than signing up to the petrolhead agenda by supporting their noisy, smelly, polluting, planet-killing propaganda. The future is coming.  You might need to use some nifty footwork to avoid being run over.

                        The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
                        • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by .
                        #67860
                        Flame Tree (Qld)
                        Flatchatter

                          You might be right or not about the risk of vehicle fires but out of interest I heard recently that an EV fire takes 3000 gallons/15000 litres of water to extinguish, and a conventional car fire a comparitavely smaller 500  gallons/4500 litres. I wonder if supply for these amounts from on-site would be an issue at the time?

                          #67862
                          Jimmy-T
                          Keymaster
                          Chat-starter

                            an EV fire takes 3000 gallons/15000 litres of water to extinguish, and a conventional car fire a comparitavely smaller 500  gallons/4500 litres.

                            I think the preferred method is a powder-based extinguisher but that does seem to depend on the kind of battery.

                            The opinions offered in these Forum posts and replies are not intended to be taken as legal advice. Readers with serious issues should consult experienced strata lawyers.
                            #67997
                            kaindub
                            Flatchatter

                              Reports of lithium battery fires are limited to hoverboard and electric cycles. Some of these devices use very cheap and unsophisticated chargers. The batteries get overcharged and light up.

                              EV chargers are actually inside the car. These chargers are highly sophisticated, and ensure that the battery is charged correctly. It’s highly unlikely that an aEV on charge will catch fire.

                              EVs are most likely to have a battery fire when the battery is damaged, most likely due to a motor vehicle accident. But again the manufacturers encase the batteries to protect the batteries.

                              Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there, as well as prejudice to EVs.

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