The NSW government says it will spend $10 million to retrofit 100 apartment buildings with electric vehicle (EV) charging stations throughout the state.
The grants are for buildings with 10 or more apartments and will co-fund up to 80 per cent, or a maximum of $80,000, the necessary upgrades and purchase and installation of up to four chargers.
“In a national first, NSW is co-funding EV infrastructure upgrades in apartment buildings, to make EV ownership attractive for more people,” said NSW energy minister Penny Sharpe.
“More than 90 percent of EV drivers charge their vehicle at home, and we don’t want people living in apartments to miss out.”
The new Labor government is rolling out a series of incentives to increase the adoption of EVs in the state. It’s spending $260 million on more public charging infrastructure on commuter routes, 500 kerbside chargers, upgraded grid capacity, and charging hubs to support fleets.
However, EV targets are a bipartisan initiative as the previous NSW was also moving to make electric cars more of a norm in the state.
Bipartisan support for apartment EVs
Central Sydney is chock full of apartments, but securing access to residential charging infrastructure has been a problem in these buildings as strata organisations can oppose the installation of chargers.
Some EV drivers reported being forced to sell their electric vehicles, after being denied access to electricity for charging.
The latest grant is the latest government response to louder and louder calls for it to step in and make EV charging equitable for apartment dwellers.
In 2021 it amended legislation to allow strata committees wanting to install EV charging or rooftop solar infrastructure to do so with consent from just half of the building owners.
The previous NSW government funded a demonstration project at the Richmont building in the Sydney suburb of Pyrmont, which included upgrading electrical systems to provide EV charging facilities for all 104 parking spaces within the building. It also funded another 15 feasibility studies to investigate adding charging equipment to other residential and commercial buildings in metropolitan Sydney.
And last year then-energy minister Matt Kean released a guide to support the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in residential and commercial buildings.
At the time he said it wasn’t a matter of if apartment buildings and offices would supply EV charging infrastructure, but when.
Melbourne shows how it can be done
In 2022, one apartment building showed how adding EVs to an older set of units could be done: the Botanica in St Kilda wanted to add chargers to some of its 90 car bays.
The owners corporation paid $35,000 for an initial 30 car cays to be connected into the building’s electrical system, funding infrastructure to protect the common circuits, provide some basic load balancing and to set up a system to ensure users pay for usage.
Owners paid for the $4,500 charger and installation in their bay.