How a New Condo Developer is Getting Ready for More EVs on the Road
My condo is the first place that I've lived in on my own. I went from living at home with my family back in Vancouver to living with roommates in Oakville, and then moving in with a boyfriend who later became a husband. We had a beautiful house together. Two-door garage and a big open kitchen. I loved that house, but I was miserable living in it. When we decided to get a divorce, I took some time to figure out if I wanted to buy my own home or rent for a while. When I found this place, I had a good feeling about it from the beginning, and my experience living here over the years has been generally positive. I realized early on that it’s not the house or the contents in it that make a happy home, or a happy Aniseh.
I've lived in this condo building since August 2015, and I took delivery of my electric car in May 2018. Despite my best efforts, I still don't have access to a charger in the building. Many people warned me about condo corporations, but I chose to be optimistic and push ahead with my EV charger request.
It was March 2018 when I first approached the condo corporation about an electric vehicle charger. I was expecting my car to arrive sometime in the following months and I wanted to be prepared. The condo board met with me and allowed a third-party charger provider to assess the property for a potential installation. The result was that my parking spot was too far from a power source, and that I couldn't install a charger in my own space. The alternative suggestion was to install a communal charger in the guest parking area.
Of course, that option would mean that the condo corporation would have to dip in the reserve funds to pay for the charger. After exactly a year of "following up," the option was presented to the owners to vote on.
I remember going through all that and feeling, at times, like an outsider. The emails with the condo manager were always so short and abrupt. I felt like I was doing something wrong by asking for a charger and that I was bothering the board. The way they presented the option to the owners was less than desirable. An email was sent out that said something along the lines of; "We can spend $xxxx on a charger, or we can use that money on other pressing matters in the building." The comments that came from the owners were harsh. It's as if people were offended that someone was requesting a charger in their building.
I understand that if someone doesn't have an EV, it may be challenging for them to see the value a charger can bring to their building, let alone to the environment or the future of our planet!
It hasn't been a fun experience overall. If I wasn't the open-minded person that I strive to be, it would have been hard to accept the tone of the process in general.
I've owned my electric car for over a year and I’ve never been in a situation where I did not have access to a charger. In fact, the charging experience has been easy, and I’ve saved money on gas. I had access to a charger at work for a long time, and since leaving, I have access to Superchargers and third-party chargers around town. Despite these options, it would certainly be more convenient to have access to a charger where I live. That's actually one of the best features of owning an EV, being able to plug in the car at night and return in the morning to a fully charged vehicle.
The one comment that I did make in an effort to shed some perspective among the owners in my building was regarding the value that this extra amenity would add to our property. There are several new condos being built in surrounding areas, and most will have chargers already installed, or at least the provisions in place so that they can be installed in the future. These features in new buildings will certainly depreciate our building.
That's exactly what S2 Stonebrook Condos is doing. For their second development on Lakeshore, they will equip every parking space with the set up needed to install a charger. This provision would allow so much flexibility for the new owners. Each parking unit will be wired and ready for a level 2 charger to be installed and metered to the owners unit at any time. You may not own an electric vehicle when you first move into the new condo, but after one year, you may decide that's it's time for your EV. You don't need to get approval from your condo board or get other owners to vote on your lifestyle choice. You can simply purchase your new charger and have it installed. With older condos (like mine), it's difficult to retrofit a charger, and even when it is an option, it's expensive to do. The way S2 Condos is pre-wiring all their units for chargers is an example that other developers should follow. This type of foresight in our city development is crucial to a booming EV future. Considering that many of the large manufactures are now adding EV models to their vehicle line up, it’s an indication of what the transportation landscape will look like very soon. Some automakers, such as Volvo, have committed to electrifying half their entire vehicle line up by 2025.
I wanted to meet with the S2 Condo developers and ask them about their futuristic parking plans. As it turns out, the Sales Director is an EV owner himself. We had a long conversation about my experience with (not) installing a charger in my building, and they were very understanding. They realize that vehicle ownership is headed towards electrification, and they want to make that transition easier for their condo owners. I got a tour of the presentation center at Lakeshore and Southdown, and in addition to the list of progressive amenities such as a pet spa, yoga space, and a green rooftop, the parking spot provisions for EVs is just another way that they are encouraging a more conscious lifestyle. I really like that!
I could go on about all the security features and beautiful finishes in the S2 Condo buildings, but I won't (I might leave that for another blog post). Instead, I encourage you to see it for yourself if you're ever in the area. Ask them about the EV charging options in their units and let them know how important this step is in getting our infrastructure ready for more EVs on the road. Ask your condo corporation what they are doing in preparation for EVs and push them to think about some options. The environment and communities that we choose to surround ourselves with play a big part in our subconscious decision making. Think about where you want to live.
I'm serious though, if you're in the Lakeshore and Southdown area, stop by the presentation center at 2007 Lakeshore Rd West and see for yourself what living large looks like.