This story was contributed by Kerry Mueller. Follow Kerry on Twitter @mueller_kerry
My desire to drive an electric vehicle while living in a condo at 144 Park St. in Waterloo, ON was what initiated this project. In the process, it was determined that many more condo owners than expected share that desire.
My name is Kerry Mueller. My husband, AJ Mueller, and I live at 144 Park St. On Aug. 1st 2014 we took possession of our new condo and a year later at the Turnover meeting AJ was voted onto the condo Board. Despite being a new building there was no provision for electric vehicle charging (EVC).
AJ and I could see such an EVC retrofit project would be difficult to launch, so we considered moving to Toronto thinking we’d find condos there with EVC available. However, we soon found that:
Consequently, we decided to stay in Waterloo and see how we could enable EVC at 144 Park.
In Dec. of 2016 I reached out to Sustainable Waterloo Region (SWR) to find out who had done such a condo retrofit for EVC. The advice was:
AJ and I then began to investigate what it would take to retrofit 144 Park. We determined:
The above costs seemed reasonable to AJ and me.
We decided that the project had value on four levels:
Hence, we decided to help “build it to see if they would come.” To do that we said to the Board that we would provide the up front “seed capital” to the Board for the infrastructure costs with no strings attached. The subsequent legal agreement states that AJ and I will be paid back by the Board incrementally as each EVC allocation is purchased from the Board. If all allocations are not sold, then AJ and I stand to lose some of that “seed capital.”
The good news is that in just a few months, 19 of the 32 allocations are sold. Below is a photo taken on June 28th, 2017 of most of the early EVC adopters at 144 Park as well as Arcy Canumay from Sustainable Waterloo Region. On the walls are 3 EVC shut off switches, one active charger and the parking level’s sub-metering panel on the back wall.
The enthusiasm and demand for electric vehicles by condo owners is much higher than commonly expected. We have certainly seen that here at 144 Park.
A condo retrofit EVC project is difficult to launch at current demand levels. Our expectation is that few people will be willing to take the risk that AJ and I took at 144 Park to enable such a project.
Municipalities need to require new construction to include EVC infrastructure to help meet the growing demand for electric vehicles at the time when those buildings will be built.
Builders have typically not been including enough, if any, EVC options in their plans.
Once newly constructed condo buildings are offering EVC then older condo buildings will be compelled to do an EVC retrofit to compete in the real estate market.
AJ and I expect to have our seed capital back in much less time than we first expected (3 years instead of 8)
We both love the electric vehicle driving experience. We expect many others will too.
Thanks for your interest in our story.