Home Charging for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs)

Information on charging stations and home charging for single family residences is available here.

New BC Legislation on EV charging in existing MURBs summarized here.

  • A request from an EV owner to install a 220V outlet for charging at an assigned parking place at the owner's expense cannot be unreasonably refused by the strata. One option is to only install an outlet at that single parking place. The regulations specify the details that must be included in an owner's request and the conditions and criteria that a strata council may consider when reviewing an owner's request. The strata must respond to a request within 3 months.

  • The strata can grant permission to an EV owner to exclusively use a parking stall that is common property for a period of up to 5 years if EV charging has been installed in the parking stall and the installation was paid for by the owner.

  • Another option is for the strata to take advantage of the government funding (See BC Government Incentives below) and develop an EV Ready Plan and/or install 220V outlets with or without charging stations at all the parking spaces at the expense of the strata. If that expenditure requires approval at a strata meeting, then the majority required is only 50% instead of the usual 75%.

  • A strata corporation in the Metro Vancouver Regional District with more than 5 strata lots must obtain an electrical planning report before 2027 to help understand their current electrical capacity and their ability to meet new demands for electricity including charging electric vehicles and other needs such as installing heat pumps. This includes electrical management strategies such as ensuring that most EV charging takes place in non-peak hours.

Installing EV charging infrastructure in MURBs

  • Most electric vehicles have charging timers that control when charging starts. Almost all charging at home can be done overnight. The timers have an override switch that allows them to begin charging immediately. The technology for managing electrical consumption in MURBs is advancing rapidly and the ideal long-term solution is to use such systems to allocate electrical resources to household uses during the day and to EV charging at night when household demand on the electrical grid and the MURB electrical infrastructure is very low. The idea is to avoid a very expensive increase in the size of the MURB's power entrance to accommodate EV charging during peak electrical demand for household uses.

    Those power management systems allocate power to individual EV charging circuits on a shared basis if there is not sufficient power available for all the EVs to charge at once. 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. If each vehicle requires 1.5 hours to charge, the management system could charge four vehicles from midnight to 6 am on 40 amps of available supply.

    The type of charging connector on EVs is in a state of flux. Ford, GM and most of the other major manufacturers are changing the type of connector on their EVs and adopting the Tesla connector for the 2025 model year. The Tesla connector can handle a much higher electrical load than the current standard J1772 connector on non-Tesla vehicles. Many level 2 charging stations now offer a Tesla connector as an option. Adapters cost around $100. Due to the rapid evolution of charging stations, it only makes sense to buy one now if it will be used with an existing EV. Otherwise, our advice is to install only a 240V outlet.

  • If charging is only required for a couple of EVs, the most economical strategy is to assign them parking spaces as close to an electrical panel as possible and supply each with its own 40 amp circuit. The cost of both installation of the circuit and purchase of the charging station that plugs into it are eligible for the 50% government incentive (See BC Government Incentives below). The MURB must apply for the incentives even if some or all of the cost was paid by the EV owner.

  • If strata funding is available to install 220V outlets with or without charging stations at all the parking spaces, it is advisable to take advantage of government incentives while they are available (See BC Government Incentive below). Charging stations will need to be compatible with the strata's energy management system.

  • There are suppliers who provide low cost installation of both infrastructure and proprietary chargers but then makes back their investment on long term contracts which provide for high monthly fees to measure electrical consumption and invoice individual owners. It can be cheaper for stratas to use open standard equipment and do their own cost recovery with maximum flexibility for changes in the future (See Recovering the Cost of EV Charging below).

  • For new MURBs under construction, the City of Richmond now requires a 240V outlet at every parking space.

  • ImageA 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.

Recovering the cost of EV charging electrical consumption in MURBs:

  • 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."

  • The average distance travelled by passenger vehicles in BC is 13,000 km. A trip from Richmond to downtown Vancouver and return 365 days per year would total 11,315 km. As explained here, the electrical consumption will cost the strata $26.25 per month. 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 fee added to the MURB unit's monthly maintenance fee will save 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. The flat monthly fee can also help recover the initial system installation cost.

  • For MURBs determined to have the vehicle owner pay for the exact electrical consumption at the parking space without the need for tracking consumption, it can be done efficiently if the electrical meters for the residential units are not too far from the parking area. The Thermolec DCC-9, is a device that is inserted after the residential unit's meter to split off a circuit for the parking space from the main electrical supply to the residential unit. The vehicle charging consumption is automatically registered on the residential unit's meter. The cost of the device is in the $1,000 range, but it is a one time only cost.

  • Where tracking individual vehicle charging consumption is essential and it is not possible to register the consumption on the residential unit's electrical meter, either a separate consumption meter or a networked charging station is required. A document on the cost of installing a separate consumption meter, whether it requires manual reading or is networked for remote reading, is available here.

  • The cheapest reliable networked wall mounted option is the Canadian made NEMA-4 Grizzl-E Smart plug-in, which can be set from 16 amps to 40 amps and is available for $580 with a 3-year warranty.

BC Government incentives for the installation of charging in Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs) and workplaces:

  • For MURBs, there is a choice between developing an EV Ready Plan for all of the parking spaces or only installing charging stations for a limited number of parking spaces. For the latter, the reimbursement is 50% of purchase and installation costs before tax to a maximum reimbursement of $5,000 (for a limited period, normally $2,000) per charging station. Dual head stations count as two stations. There is a maximum reimbursement of $25,000 (for a limited period, normally $14,000) per building for up to four buildings. If the building was built recently and was subject to a municipal bylaw requiring the installation of 220V outlets at each parking space, it is ineligible for the program.

    For workplaces, the reimbursement is 50% of purchase and installation costs before tax to a maximum reimbursement of $5,000 (for a limited period, normally $2,000) per charging station. There is a maximum reimbursement of $25,000 (for a limited period, normally $14,000) per workplace for up to four workplaces. The workplace must have at least five employees who work primarily on the premises and the charging stations must be reserved for their use during working hours. The building must have been constructed by August 31, 2021.

    For a MURB which develops an EV Ready Plan for all of the parking spaces in all of its buildings, the rebate is 75% of the cost to a maximum of $3,000 for developing the plan, 50% of the cost to a maximum of $600 per parking space and a total of $120,000 for installing the electrical infrastructure and 50% of the cost to a maximum of $1,400 per charging station and a total of $14,000 for the charging stations themselves. The installation of only 220V outlets is eligible for reimbursement.

    For both MURBs and workplaces, the charging station installation plan must be pre-approved by the incentive program. A consultation service is available.

    A detailed description of the program as well as information on the consulting service are available for MURBs here and for workplaces here. BC Hydro is administering the reimbursement process on behalf of the government. The reimbursement form and procedures are available for MURBs here and for workplaces here.

In addition to the overview information on charging in MURBs provided below, you can obtain more detailed information from: