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Home Charging for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs)

Information on charging stations and home charging for single family residences is available here.
In addition to the information provided below, you can also obtain personalized advice for your particular situation. Details here.
Plug-in Richmond can also provide advice. Details here.

  • There is a charging station purchase and installation rebate program for building representatives who reside in or have oversight of a multi-unit residential building. The rebate is 75% of project costs up to $4,000 per Level 2 station with a max of 2 stations per property. The program requires pre-approval after which the installation must be done within four months. Due to high demand for rebates, the program is placing new requests on a wait list. Details here.

  • Most strata and coop housing councils focus on the concern that they will wind up paying for the electrical consumption of the electric vehicle and insist on carefully metering consumption and invoicing the vehicle owner. Given the relatively small electrical consumption cost, Plug-in Richmond recommends that MURB councils take a step back, consider flat rate monthly charges and examine the rationale for tracking and invoicing actual vehicle electrical consumption to ensure that they are not being "penny wise and pound foolish."

  • As explained here, the maximum cost per month for a vehicle's home charging electrical consumption is $35 if the highest domestic BC Hydro rates are used. At normal domestic base rates, the maximum cost is $28. MURBs should seriously consider whether a flat monthly charge added to the MURB unit's monthly maintenance fee will save major vehicle charging infrastructure installation costs, monthly costs for remote monitoring and invoicing and turn a profit for the MURB on average electric vehicle owners who consume much less than the maximum.

  • One consideration is how electric vehicle charging will affect the size of power entrance required for the MURB. Although vehicles can charge using an ordinary 120V outlet, this can take most of the day. Vehicle charging systems typically use 240V outlets on 40 amp electrical circuits that can recharge average daily consumption in about 1.5 hours. At one circuit per vehicle, this could eventually require a larger power entrance for the MURB if all the vehicles charge at the same time.

  • Image A number of charging station accessories are available including a simple lock placed through a hole in the charging connector button. This prevents the charger from being connected to the vehicle. There are also mounting pedestals available for situations where there is no wall nearby on which to mount the charging station.

  • Most electric vehicles have charging timers that control when charging starts. Almost all charging at home can be done overnight when electrical demand is very low for both the MURB and the entire electrical grid. If each vehicle requires 1.5 hours to charge, four vehicles can be charged sequentially from midnight to 6 am. Electrical load management devices are now coming on the market that can charge four vehicles on one 40 amp circuit automatically by either charging the vehicles sequentially or by reducing the power to each vehicle and charging them all simultaneously. Most MURBs have very few electric vehicles and each one can be provided with its own circuit. It is the wiring from the electrical room to the parking area that should be done with future use of load management devices in mind. The wiring for an initial circuit to one vehicle can include junction boxes that allow a load management device with wiring to an additional three vehicles to be installed in the future. A load management device that is already on the market is described here. Note that electric vehicle charging timers have an override switch that allows them to begin charging immediately if required whether they are connected to a load management device or not.

  • For MURBs that are committed to metering individual vehicle electricity consumption at each parking space, a document on the cost of installing a consumption meter, whether it requires manual reading or is networked for remote reading, is available here. Some smaller low rise MURBs have individual unit electricity meters in an electrical room near the parking area. In that case, systems are available which connect the electric vehicle consumption to the MURB unit’s electrical meter. An example is available here. These metering solutions will eventually require more electrical circuits and more wiring from the electrical room to the parking area than a load management solution.

  • Note that all of the above solutions allow the MURB to supply the wiring, outlet and meter (if required) while the vehicle owner supplies the charging station (EVSE) that hangs on the wall and plugs into the outlet. The vehicle owner is then responsible for the EVSE and can take it with the vehicle when moving. An industry is developing to promote and install systems that use proprietary hardware and software to remotely monitor the vehicle charging equipment and invoice the vehicle owner. In that case, the EVSE is part of the system hardware and is not supplied by the vehicle owner. Some service providers will subsidize the infrastructure cost to make the systems very attractive to MURB councils, but then understandably make it up in monthly charges over long contract periods. EVSEs and remote monitoring systems are a rapidly advancing technology with increasing competition that is very likely to lower prices in the near future. While a service provider could provide the best solution, it's important that MURB councils carefully evaluate the total cost of the arrangement over time for both the council and the vehicle owners.