4 Myths about owning EVs when you live in an apartment building

4 Myths about owning EVs when you live in an apartment building

Electric car sales in Australia are at the highest levels they’ve ever been. While they might only make up less than 2% of our total vehicle fleet, the number of EVs sold in Australia in 2019 more than tripled from the previous year. In fact, 8,688 EVs were sold in the first half of 2021 alone - more than what was sold in the entirety of 2019.

There’s no doubt that electric cars are growing in popularity. But with 10% of Australia’s population living in apartment buildings or under strata schemes — often without access to charging infrastructure — many feel that buying an electric car is not an option. In this blog, we asked a Strata Lawyer to demystify 4 myths about owning an electric car or vehicle when you live in an apartment.

Myth 1: I’ll be forced to pay higher levies for the installation and use of chargers, even if I don’t own an EV.

Depending on how you set up your strata scheme, special and carefully drafted by-laws can be implemented to lay out parameters that don’t disadvantage owners who won’t use charging infrastructure.

“It's important to seek legal advice on these issues.” Says Amanda Farmer, Strata Lawyer and Founder of Your Strata Property. “If you're going down this path, it is possible for one owner to install infrastructure for their car and to have the responsibility for that infrastructure for its ongoing repair and maintenance, and to meet the costs associated with that. There are legal mechanisms in place to make sure that that can happen.”

Myth 2: My body corporate would have to undertake expensive energy supply upgrades to facilitate charging.

“My understanding is that this anxiety around surges and the grid not being able to cope, and perhaps a building's energy supply system, itself not being able to cope, might be a little bit misplaced.” says Amanda, “Certainly make your own inquiries with the relevant experts…the technology is getting much more sophisticated.”

Like other electrical appliances, not everyone will be using the charging network in exactly the same way or at the same time. New technology has also been developed to improve dynamic charging features and efficiency — chargers that can monitor the amount of energy being used on a site and adjust the level of electricity being used.

Myth 3: There is no government support for funding sustainable infrastructure in Strata Schemes to support me.

While there is no national policy for EVs, each state has their own set of incentives and funding initiatives. The NSW state government has committed over $170 million to help build electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the next 4 years. $10 million of this has been allocated to funding 125 medium-to-large apartment buildings with over 100 car parking spaces to fund EV charging upgrades.

“So we do have specific funding for apartment buildings and I think that's only going to increase. I think that's just the start of what we're going to be seeing”. says Amanda.

Myth 4: If no one in the building current owns an EV, we don’t need to plan infrastructure for it.

The world of electric vehicle charging in apartment buildings is changing, and changing very rapidly - not planning for the future based on current needs could lead to missed opportunities.

For example, investing in sustainable infrastructure like EV charging could impact the return on investment for a property. As more Australians purchase electric cars and live in apartments, you might be alienating potential tenants (or they might be writing off your rental) based on whether or not EV charging facilities are available.

In the same vein, potential buyers who want to be owner-occupiers may consider purchasing elsewhere if they need access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“You don't know if purchasers or potential tenants are writing off your building, and just not coming to inspect because they know it doesn't have EV charging.” says Amanda, “Ignore this trend at your peril.”

Learn more myths about EVs in apartments by listening to our Byte Size podcast episode, featuring Strata Lawyer, Amanda Farmer.

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