Province to lift electric vehicle roadblocks for condo owners

Condo dwellers in Ontario will soon have an easier time charging their electric vehicles at home, part of a province-wide plan to reduce emissions and fight climate change, the government announced Monday.

Changes going into effect May 1 aimed at making it easier for condo owners to install charging stations

Condo owners who own electric vehicles will soon have an easier time charging their cars at home, the province announced Monday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Condo dwellers in Ontario will soon have an easier time charging their electric vehicles at home, part of a province-wide plan to reduce emissions and fight climate change, the government announced Monday.

According to a news release, the government will ease the requirements necessary for residents to get approval from their condo corporations to install electric vehicle charging stations, and prevent condo boards from rejecting owners' applications to install charging stations when certain conditions have been met.

The changes go into effect May 1.

"One of the largest contributing factors that inhibits drivers from purchasing an electric vehicle is the fear of having nowhere to charge it," said Government and Consumer Services Minister Tracy MacCharles in the release.

The government hopes that by making it easier for condo owners to charge electric vehicles, the changes will encourage a shift away from gas-powered vehicles.

According to the government, Ontario's Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program has encouraged the installation of nearly 3,000 home charging stations since 2013.

Challenges for condo boards

Condo lawyer Rod Escayola told CBC News that boosting the use of electric vehicles among condo residents won't come without challenges, such as who pays for what, and whether electrical systems within buildings can support the high-voltage charging stations.

Installing charging stations is not as simple as putting in an outlet and running a wire to the grid. Condos weren't built with the need for supporting electric vehicles in mind, Escayola said.  

"If everybody's going to have a charging station, is our system sufficiently strong to power all of that?" Escayola asked.

"Condo boards should maybe start to think about that, about what's ahead. It's probably not too much of a demand yet, but boards should probably start to turn their minds to that."

Condo boards will also have to decide whether to install communal charging stations, or whether residents will take on the cost themselves. 

More than 680,000 Ontarians live in condos, and there are more than 18,500 electric cars on the province's roads.

The province's Climate Change Action Plan aims to gradually reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.