EV Charging [not eligible for credit]


#1

I’m in the process of getting EV charging stations worked out for my strata. As such, I’ve gone about getting ahold of someone at the COV and had a good call with them today. The EV charging station credit is expected to be reinstated in June/July timeframe.

I suspect this program will fill up quickly, so I wanted to see if there was also interest in VHS to join in. Before you say “I don’t care about EV charging” hear me out, as there are other benefits.

The skinny:
While this isn’t finalized, the expected deal is that this program will pay for 75% of each charging station, up to 4k each station and up to 2 stations per building. Effectively if we want to max it out, we could install a 2-plug station at the back of our building (in the alley) and receive up to 8k toward the install, which includes electrical work.

I hear some of you already “But I don’t want VHS to pay for everyone’s power to charge”. Stations are allowed to be access restricted or metered. The most expensive but lowest maintenance option would be to go with ChargePoint or Flo and they’ll charge us a yearly fee and we can just charge by the hour to recover power and investment cost. Alternatively, we could hack-space it up and ClipperCreek has some charging station hardware that can be enabled through Serial communication. We could make it activate by PayPal donation, bitcoin, Nomos, whathaveyou.

The Benefits
The amount of money a charging station costs is far less than the 4k, but most of that is intended to go toward electrical improvement and build-out. Our electrics could certainly use a bit of improvement as I understand, so we’d potentially be able to fix some of our electrics up to be able to support this and be in a better place.

We’d also be promoting EV transition

And we would likely attract people to the space.

Thoughts?


#2

I really wanna say yeah lets go for it and I totally support EV vehicles.But I feel like this round our electrical is nowhere near even sorted out to serve VHS let alone a charging station. As far as I know - electrical upgrades right now are on the back burner at VHS. This could be totally an opportunity to get that sorted, however we’d need someone to step up in a big way to take that on – i.e. upgrading the space electrical and also setting up that charging station.

Edit: I mean hopefully some folks will do that but it’s definitely bigger than the EV station and would involve electrical for the whole space.


#3

It would certainly take labor of someone to adopt the project, but the primary benefit here is to get the electrical upgrade paid for, mostly, by the fund; it would be part of the project. Yes this obviously takes someone stepping up in a big way; what I can offer is all the research and tracking that I’m doing for my strata since it is all the same work.


#4

The more I think about it - the more I’m also pondering - does VHS want to be a service provider this way?


#5

There’s actually no requirement we even make them public; they could easily be members only.


#6

Here’s the question: How many of our members currently own EV’s, or will be purchasing in the reasonably-near future?


#7

Interesting idea.

Some questions:

  • Will the VHS Landlord approve this? Any improvements become the property of the LL. The lease states that the LL can kick us out at any time for whatever reason.

  • Is a commercial installation different (costs, city permits, etc) than a residential one?

  • Does VHS pay for this up front and then get a rebate? So we’d pay $$$ to BC Hydro for electrical upgrades and then get a refund from COV?

  • Is there a cost breakdown of a typical ev charger install available?


#8

Good question; would be useful for a poll. The COV has an aggressive goal that by 2030 1/2 of all miles driven in Vancouver are from zero emissions vehicles. This has a lot of latitude but is potentially more aggressive than the federal goal of 2040 marks the 100% sale of zero emissions vehicles for new consumer passenger vehicles.

A complimentary question we should ask is: by doing this, how much exposure to new members do we get? Harder to get, but what if we considered the costs as a marketing initiative.


#9

LL is procedural and shouldn’t factor into if we want it; just something to work through or to be blocked by, but good to have it here for completeness.

Commercial: the research I’ve been doing is certainly centered around strata, I’ll keep an eye out to see if there are variances for commercial entities other than strata corps, but a common target is employers wishing to provide benefit to employees and clients; this is most similar to that pattern.

Yes, we pay up front and reimbursed, but we would first have to submit our plan once the program comes out. It would go through approvals, then we can act. This does indeed represent a cash flow risk; but since approvals are up-front before spending, the risk is reduced.

The person I talked to said costs are very different for each building. Electrical work and requirements are the biggest variance. One number he threw out is (for our strata, which has more expensive requirements than VHS) was 10k for 2 plugs; but lots of variance depending on needs. There are electricians pipelined up specifically for this work.

Despite our hardware cost to be lower, I would guess that our costs would be similar, and we’d want it as such to maximize our benefit. Here me out.

The cheapest options for the hardware alone for 2 plugs that satisfy our basic requirement is about 1k. These have locks that could prevent unfettered public use. If we target the back corner, our runs are short , this allows us to spend the majority of the money improving our panel. As pointed out, VHS does not likely have adequate electrical infrastructure in place. But electrical infrastructure is part of the covered costs.

Completely ignoring the benefit the EV chargers bring themselves, it would be a vehicle to get safer and more capiable electrical infrastructure. If electrical investment is part of our future, this might be a good way to rectify some of the initial outstanding problems.

If we can keep the rest of the install near 10k, we maximize our return, get chargers for members (or other options), and set ourselves up for more sane power distribution within the space. I don’t know if we could re-panel for under 10k, but if we could, wouldn’t it be nice to have that out of the way for a reduced cost?


#10

Thanks for the update.

One thing I forgot to mention is that we need to get 3 phase power from the hydro pole in the back lane into the building. I assume this is what an EV charging station will require. So right off the bat I think that is a minimum $5K plus charge before any electrical work happens that needs to be tacked on to the work estimate.

I guess it’s time to apply for infrastructure grants.

If we can make this work I think we should as it is a great idea.


#11

While there are chargers that can utilize 3-phase, the majority of them are split-phase 220/240. If we don’t have capacity for that, my understanding is that the retrofit would likely be covered under the 75% up to 4k per plug up to 2 plugs.


#12

sorry to get everyone on board; looks like there’s a few details that make us ineligible. I’ll mention it to my contact with the city on my next call in case they have time to support orgs like us.


#13

Recalling my conversation with Richard, forgive any errors in my recollection… Our 120/240 power is limited to 100 amps for the entire building and can not be expanded to more amps. The grid in the area is maxed out and the 120/240 is being reserved for residential customers only. If we want to upgrade our power we need to connect to the three phase and buy our own transformer for whatever our power needs are.


#14

I thought it was the three phase that was maxed out in the neighborhood? @rsim can you tell us what BC Hydro told you?


#15

Another factor to consider is parking. If the two spots are to be “EV Only”, we then lose two of the 4 or 5 spots beside our building. Considering Clark AV parks their truck there quite often, that takes 1-1/2 spots.

There really isn’t enough space to allocate to the EV’s that aren’t even (probably) being used by our membership.


#16

I’ve updated the title to reflect that this is probably not going to happen, but for future cases where people encounter similar discussions. Charging spots don’t have to omit Fuel Cars. It is convenient to maximize opportunity and investment but shouldn’t be considered a blocker.

[edit]

Also, if you are ever advising or having input on installing charging cables, try to put one cable between two spots if you aren’t doing exclusive spots; and invest in a 25’ cable over the shorter variants. This maximizes yield to investment for single-cable stations where you don’t want exclusive access.


#17

It’s too bad this particular program might not support us, but I’m super in favour of this and will donate at least a couple hundred bucks if we get down to that level of readiness. Just running a 240V 15A circuit out to the back of the building would be awesome. :slight_smile:


#18

For those who do have an EV, the Britannia Community Services Centre does have a charger (according to PlugShare).

Also