The rise of the electric vehicle

From the first crude electric vehicle invented in 1832, to the start of mass production in the 1990s, the popularity of electric cars has come a long way. Today, ownership of an EV is something a large portion of the Canadian population is striving towards – 64 per cent of Canadians say that they are considering an electric vehicle as their next car purchase. While public charging stations are becoming a more familiar sight, most EV owners do need to have their own charging capabilities located at their residence.

In order to strengthen the infrastructure needed to make EV ownership more convenient, some important changes were made by the Ontario Government’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs in the last couple of years as response to the fact that the number of electric vehicles on the roads of the province have been growing by leaps and bounds recently.

On May 1, 2018, changes to the regulations under the Condominium Act established a new process for residents when obtaining approval from the condo board to install personal use charging systems in condominium buildings. Essentially, these changes provide the residents with the right for approval, unless this installation would negatively affect the structural integrity of the property; and/or pose a health and safety risk to the other occupants. This change provides many condo owners with flexibility to buy an EV in the future and have charging capabilities right in their own parking spot. The entire cost to install a charging station without having a rough-in in place already could vary between $5,000-$20,000 though, depending on the location of your parking spot within the garage, age of the building, and many other factors.

If you are purchasing a pre-construction condo, however, and have a choice to add a rough-in at your parking spot at the time of purchase, I recommend taking that opportunity! This will greatly decrease your installation costs in the future and, given the scarce number of charging stations in condo buildings, this decision is bound to increase your resale value.

While researching this subject, I’ve come across a few condo developers that offer a rough-in as an upgrade option, but most have yet to catch on to this trend. However, at Zibi Kanaal in Ottawa, each parking spot includes a rough-in already. The cost to add an actual charging station, should the need arise in the future, would be somewhere between $3,000-$5,000.

Another change affecting freehold new construction came into effect on January 1, 2018. Essentially, these changes to the Ontario Building Code ensure that every new single detached, semi-detached and row townhouse that has a garage, carport or a driveway attached to the property now must be provided with a rough-in for a future charging station. This includes a minimum 200-amp panel board, a conduit that is not less than 1-1/16” trade size, and a square 4-11/16” trade size electrical box. While this all sounds like gibberish to most, it does eliminate a lot of potential headaches in the future, should a new homeowner decide to become an EV owner. Installing a charging station when all of the right supply is already present greatly decreases the costs associated with the installation.