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Zero-Emission Vehicle Charging in MURB and Garage-Orphans

To support the federal targets for zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) reaching 10% of new light-duty vehicle sales by 2025, 30% by 2030, and 100% by 2040, it is paramount that all Canadians have access to charging infrastructure, the lack of which remains one of the barriers to mass adoption of ZEVs.

However, it is estimated that at least one-third of Canadians reside in multi-unit residential buildings or MURBS (e.g. condominium and apartment buildings) or dwellings without access to a driveway or garage. While these residents are potential mainstream adopters of ZEVs, they face a number of unique charging-related barriers that must be effectively addressed to enable them to buy and charge an electric vehicle at home.  

This study undertaken by Pollution Probe and The Delphi Group, identified key barriers to ZEV charging in MURBs and for garage orphans and points to solutions, best-practices and a suite of practical actions that stakeholders can take. Table 1 provides a high-level summary of the barriers, the type of dwelling they apply to, and potential solutions.

The full report can be accessed here

Table 1. Summary of Barriers and Solutions

Table 1. Summary of Barriers and Solutions
Barrier Brief Description Existing MURB New MURB Garageorphan Solutions
Grid Preparedness & Charging Infrastructure Barriers
Electrical Capacity Barriers related to the ability of a building’s electrical system to accommodate the additional load from EV charging and the capacity of the electrical distribution system at the neighbourhood-level to accommodate EV charging.
  • Utility-controlled demand management
  • Off-peak charging
  • Electric Vehicle Energy Management Systems (EVEMS)
  • Energy storage systems
  • Additional research,  development and pilot projects
Metering Barriers associated with how charging stations are owned, managed and metered in a building and challenges related to customer billing and the distribution of electricity costs.    
  • EVSE network solutions
Lack of Access to Charging Infrastructure Barriers faced by garage orphans who do not have access to charging at home because they do not have a garage or dedicated parking space with an electrical outlet.    
  • Demand/load management
  • Residential curbside charging
  • Increased public and workplace charging
Building Design & Physical Infrastructure Barriers
Parking Supply Barriers related to a limited number of parking spaces in a building, a lack of regular access to a parking space and restrictions on re-assignment of parking spaces.  
  • Peer-to-peer charging rentals
  • Public charging (parking lots and curbside charging)
  • Swapping parking spots
  • Community/shared charging
  • Reservations and virtual wait lists
Design Barriers related to the physical design of a building, such as space constraints in parking lot design and within electrical rooms. Barriers related to the design of EVSE installation.  
  • Technology solutions (e.g., demand charge controllers, built in charger transformers, energy storage-based charging)
  • Parking/charging management (i.e., multiple users per charger)
  • Public charging (parking lots and curbside charging)
Connectivity Barriers related to poor cellular coverage in underground parking garages.  
  • Technology solutions (e.g., cellular boosting)
Education & Awareness Barriers
Consumer Awareness Barriers related to minimal consumer understanding and experience with EVs and a lack of knowledge and resources to properly assess how to implement EV charging.
  • Targeted education and outreach
  • Regulations
  • Certification programs
Condo-Strata Decision Making/MURB Owner Awareness Barriers related to a lack of awareness and the resources required by MURB owners or property managers to effectively evaluate and deploy EV charging infrastructure.    
  • Targeted education and outreach
  • Regulations (e.g., revising condo acts, bylaws, and regulations, permits triggering EVSE requirements)
Regulatory & Policy: Physical Barriers
Physical Barriers Regulatory barriers related to physical infrastructure upgrades and the costs associated with installing EVSE.  
  • Financial support and incentives
  • Zoning bylaws
  • EVEMS
  • Implementing model EV-supportive building code standards in model Canadian Building Code
Regulatory & Policy: Legal & Governance Barriers
Condo & Strata Legislation Regulatory barriers related to the approval process for EVSE installation by a condo board or strata corporation.    
  • “Right to charge” legislation
Electricity-related Legislative & Regulatory Regulatory barriers related to cost recovery and the apportionment of electrical costs associated with the use of electricity to charge an EV in a MURB.    
  • Clarity on recovery of costs for EV charging services without regulation as a public utility
Measurement Rules Regulatory barriers related to metering requirements for EV charging.  
  • Approved metering solutions that enable billing for EV charging based on energy usage
Cost Barriers
Installation Costs Barriers related to the costs associated with EVSE installation in a MURB or at a residential curbside.
  • Technology solutions (e.g., demand charge controllers, built in charger transformers)
  • Swapping parking spots
  • Regulations (e.g., EV ready parking requirements/design for 100% in new MURBs and for major renovations)
  • Funding/support programs
Operation & Maintenance Costs Barriers related to the cost of operating and maintaining EVSE.  
  • Funding/support programs
  • Low rate charging
Cost Sharing Barriers related to the inability of MURB owners and property managers to charge for electricity separately from the utility or restrictions on the resale of electricity.  
  • New financial/operating models (e.g., financial recovery independent of utility costs, utility owned/operated chargers, privately owned/operated chargers (networked chargers))
  • Charging solutions (e.g., flat fee-based charging, rate base charging)
  • Public charging (parking lots and curbside charging)
Other Barriers
Rental-specific barriers Barriers related to the lack of incentives for renters and landlords to invest in infrastructure upgrades and EVSE installation, as well as challenges associated with liability.
  • Regulations (i.e., to allow installation)
  • Public charging (parking lots and curbside charging)
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