How to Find Electric Vehicle Charging in a Surrey Condo
A new client reached out to us looking for a condominium unit in the city of Surrey to purchase but had one special request. They needed electric vehicle charging as part of their parking arrangements within the strata complex.
This is no easy feat in the city of Surrey. To source electric car charging capabilities within strata complexes is something that is relatively new and is not the infrastructure that is overly prevalent in most condominium buildings.
We wanted to help this client find the perfect home for them and accomplish their goal of being able to charge their vehicle from the comfort of their own home. To find buildings with EV charging, we had to do a ton of research.
Why we need EV charging in stratas
In 2019, the province passed something called the zero emissions vehicles Act, which aims for 10% of all new light duty cars and trucks sold in BC to be zero emissions by 2025. By 2040, all vehicles sold need to be emission free.
British Columbia is definitely the leader in the country when it comes to electric cars, selling over 30,000 electric vehicles in 2022 alone, which accounted for 18% of all new car sales in British Columbia. Additionally, in BC, we have over 110,000 new light duty electric battery vehicles registered in the province.
Needless to say, electric vehicles are going to be a big part of our province’s automotive future.
With over 1.5 million people living in strata properties across BC and over 50% of people living in the Lower Mainland calling a stratified property home, this is a challenge that needs to be sorted out in order to help accomplish the province’s goals.
Why it has proven to be difficult to bring in EV charging
Compounding the problem, it costs big dollars to bring in electrical vehicle charging, especially right to your own parking stall. Naturally, owners that don’t have electric vehicles don’t want to pay to have the infrastructure installed, making the complex slow to adopt the new technology.
Between running electrical power to the individual parking spots, tracking electricity usage, or even just generally creating a central spot to charge the vehicle is needed.
Many strata properties across Surrey and the Lower Mainland have tried to pass assessments to bring in the infrastructure in but have failed. A vote is needed to do this because the infrastructure is installed along the common property of the strata.
This leaves owners of electric vehicles with extremely limited options on where they can charge their electric vehicles.
Places like grocery stores, parking lots, charging stations across town and the one-off charging areas that you see are always packed with electric vehicles making it typically very difficult to come by a free open charging option.
How does Surrey compare for available EV charging stations?
It isn’t terrible for vehicle charging stations. The website chargehub.com shows that 113 level 2 and 32 level 3 charging stations are currently available within the city.
Nonetheless, the lack of infrastructure within the condo buildings in Surrey and the Lower Mainland keeps EV driving home buyers from purchasing properties. Or said another way, also keeps the home sellers of these properties from being able to sell to people that have electric vehicles.
It will be a must-have in the future so stratas need to get on board in figuring out how to adopt this technology.
How the BC Government is helping us to adopt EV charging in strata properties
On May 11 of 2023 in came the government with Bill 22. Changing the voting thresholds related to installing infrastructure for electric vehicle charging from a 3/4 vote to a simple majority vote.
Lowering the voting threshold makes it easier for strata corporations to approve and install electric vehicle charging as a strata Corporation expense.
A quick note, that a 3/4 vote continues to be required for all special levies, including special levies for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Within Bill 22, section 96 allows for a majority vote of approval instead of a 3/4 vote to approve spending from the contingency reserve fund if the expense is
- related to the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure or the management of electricity used by electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
- Necessary to obtain a report respecting the installation or operation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure or the management of electricity used by electric vehicle charging infrastructure (which could include things like an electric vehicle ready report or an electrical planning report.)
- Section 71 changes the voting approval threshold from a 3/4 vote of approval to a majority vote of approval for a significant change in the use or appearance of common property if the change is related to the installation of EV charging infrastructure or the management of electricity used by EV charging infrastructure.
- Section 82 changes the voting approval threshold from a 3/4 vote of approval to a majority vote of approval for the strata corporation to acquire or dispose of personal property related to the installation operation, maintenance or repair of EV charging infrastructure or the management of electricity used by EV charging. (An example of personal property would be an EV charging station owned by the strata Corporation.)
- More great news on Bill 22 includes that an owner’s request may not be unreasonably withheld by the Strata Corporation.
For more information on Bill 22, visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/strata-housing/operating-a-strata/the-environment/electric-vehicle-charging
More improvements for the future of EV charging in stratas are coming in the future.
Additional Bill 22 changes that will be brought into effect by regulation at a later date, expected to happen by the fall of 2023, through an order in council approved by the cabinet.
- Strata corporations will be required to get an electrical planning report from a qualified person by a certain date, helping them know their current electrical capacity and ability to meet electricity demands for charging electric vehicles and other needs, such as installing heat pumps.
- There will also be additional provisions on how the installation of the infrastructure can be financed, granting short term use of prescribed class parking stalls for electric vehicles and regulations that will specify the details that must be included in an owner’s request to install a charger and the conditions and criteria that a strata council may consider when reviewing an owner’s request.
Working together with Government to bring in EV charging
So this is awesome news, right?
The government is addressing many of the hurdles of getting electric vehicle charging installed in strata properties in Surrey and the Lower Mainland.
BC Hydro, the province’s main electricity provider, is doing its part too. Previously, there were rebates available; however, due to the program’s immense popularity, for now, the bank accounts have been drained.
These rebates may come back in the future, so check back often with BC Hydro at https://electricvehicles.bchydro.com/incentives/charger-rebates.
The rebates BC Hydro was previously offered for installation featured an EV-ready specification which essentially was getting a building ready to accommodate high levels of future EV charging.
Specifically, it results in a parking space featuring an energized outlet with a cover that provides a final connection point in electrical wiring installation for a level 2 EV charger with rebates for a total of up to $137,000 per apartment or condo complex or up to $25,000 for a standalone EV charger rebate.
Tips on finding a building that features EV charging in Surrey today
While this is all wonderful to know, unfortunately, these rebates don’t necessarily help a buyer looking for a home today. Especially for someone that needs electric vehicle charging now, there is no central way to identify or locate buildings with electric vehicle charging in them.
Being creative and driven real estate professionals, we knew there must be some workarounds when working for clients that have such needs.
Working with a REALTOR® who is on top of the market and the infrastructure within buildings is a big start. On top of all the regular duties a REALTOR® will perform for their clients, we decided that calling listing agents to inquire about the status of electric vehicle charging within their listings was a great start.
We also made use of the public comments feature within our back-end system, using it to search for specific related keywords such as “charging,” “EV” or “electric vehicles” in the write-up, which helped provide some results.
Between searching the public remarks and narrowing of focus on newer buildings in the city of Surrey, especially in the city core of Central City/Whalley, with lots of work behind the scenes, we were able to locate electric vehicle parking and help our buyers succeed in getting the property they wanted.
Hopefully, in the near future, this is not going to be such a burden on both the home buyer and the REALTOR® to locate, but for now, this is the best way to find electric vehicle parking in a condominium in the city of Surrey.
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