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31 March 2022

Apartment Owners

Steve Pummer, Managing Director of Scope Strata Management and Damerell Group's resident expert on all things body corporate, says that EV charging is becoming an increasingly popular topic of discussion among building owners and managers.


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Many are asking about retrofitting for individual car parks and body corporates looking at investigations into capacity and recovery of costs for EVs within a building. 

“The larger, newer apartment complexes are certainly becoming developer-led in installing EV charging systems and ensuring capacity, as it is a value-add for any development. Demand, however, is not significant at the moment, but it is expected that this will change sooner rather than later.”

If you are an individual living in an existing building that currently does not have EV charging facilities, Plummer says the best way to follow up on an inquiry is to either speak to the Building Manager or the BC Administrator and ask that the matter be raised with the committee. 

Typically, the next step will be for the body corporate to ensure that the standard electricity supply can run the chargers and determine how they will manage multiple requests, plus how to recover electricity use, says Plummer.

“Some buildings may opt for having metered use and charge via credit card. Whichever user-pay system a body corporate decides to install, it will be very costly, plus there will be challenges – one of the most obvious being, who decides who will be able to connect if capacity or space in the common area where the charger is located is limited – first come first served, or someone willing to pay a premium? Also, how can you ensure the use of the charger is not being abused?

“So, as you can see, there is still a fair bit of work yet to be done in this area, but it is something we expect will continue to be a hot topic.

What’s the average cost of fully charging your car, and how long does it take?

“The time it takes to charge an electric car can be as little as 30 minutes or more than 12 hours. It all depends on the size of the battery, the vehicle’s onboard charger, and the charging point speed. A typical electric car (60kWh battery) takes just under 8 hours to charge from empty to full with a 7kW charging point. Rapid chargers are the fastest way to charge your electric vehicle, providing up to 80% charge within 20-30 minutes.”

When it comes to battery life, how long will the average car battery last before it needs replacing? And are there measures you can take to lengthen the life of your battery or make it more efficient?

“Under current estimates, most EV batteries will last somewhere between 10-20 years before they need to be replaced. The batteries of electric vehicles are designed not to die fully but slowly lose charging capacity over time. This depletion happens gradually, with many reporting the loss of a few percentage points over the several years. To put this into perspective, a Tesla Model S’s battery only loses 5% of its original capacity over the first 80,000kms. However, there are a few best practices you can do to extend the life of your EV’s battery:

- Don’t charge your EV every night, as this can put constant stress on the battery.
- Stay between 20-80% charge, and never let the battery die completely.
- Control the optimal battery state of charge during long storage. Leaving an EV parked for too long with a full battery can contribute to the degradation.”

Is a hybrid a viable option for those who do not have the option of installing a charger at home and who don’t want to rely on the public network of charging stations?

“Yes, it is. A standard hybrid vehicle doesn’t need to be plugged in to charge. However, they tend to have a very small battery capacity, resulting in a much shorter range when compared to a full EV. Therefore, the battery is topped up by the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking.”

If everyone who owns an EV in Auckland decided to charge their vehicles simultaneously, would the current system cope, or would we be plunged into darkness?

“Good question. If all light vehicles in New Zealand were electric, our current total electricity demand would increase by around 20%. This increase could be accommodated within New Zealand’s existing electricity grid, though it wouldn’t be ideal long-term. However, with the introduction of smart charging, peak demand could be smoothed out, which would reduce the risk of the system overloading. With emerging technologies, such as smart chargers and vehicle-to-grid capability, we can mitigate the impact on the network.

Looking into the future, what’s the projected growth of EV ownership in Auckland?

“The size of the city’s electric vehicle fleet is currently tiny compared to what it is expected to grow into within in the next five years. It is forecast that New Zealand’s electric vehicle fleet will expand at an average annual rate of 2.5% between 2021
and 2029.

Can the current electricity grid cope with this increase in demand? If not, are there plans to expand it?

“The government is working with MOT, NZTA and MBIE to develop strategic roadmaps for New Zealand’s future with electric vehicles.”

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