27 December 2022

New Belconnen apartment block to add EV charger to every car space in Canberra-first

| James Coleman
Join the conversation
Car park render

Artist’s impression of one of the private car parks at The Markets. Image: The Markets Residences.

A 10-storey apartment building in Belconnen is set to become the first residential development in Canberra to include an electric vehicle (EV) charging point in every private car space.

Construction on The Markets, next to the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets redevelopment, will begin early next year. It includes 313 apartments and commercial spaces, with underground parking.

In line with the planned ban of new fossil-fuel-powered cars in 2035, the ACT Government’s new planning rules for 2023 mandate the installation of EV-ready infrastructure in new multi-unit residential developments.

READ ALSO Drugs found in half of all drivers involved in fatal crashes this year

To make it happen, The Markets’ developer, Custom Apartments, teamed up with Canberra business EV On to supply one seven-kilowatt Ocular charger per unit plus at least four communal 22-kilowatt charging points. It’s at no extra cost to buyers, including those who have already signed contracts.

“It’s about future-proofing the building,” Custom Apartments director Peter Micalos said.

“We’re proud to be developing a project that people not only want to live in but will also enjoy significant savings and potential enhanced capital appreciation.”

Artist’s impression of The Markets. Image: The Markets Residences.

The sustainability manager at The Agency Canberra, selling agency of The Markets, Sasha Trpkovski, said the demand is there.

“It’s no longer just about how many bedrooms and bathrooms the home has, but about the sustainability features it offers, and EV chargers are definitely a priority.”

EV On CEO Aliqua James said the developers chose to jump the gun by buying and installing the chargers en masse rather than go through costly and fiddly retrofits afterwards.

“They get a better price that way, and it’s simpler for the electricians to install them together rather than slowly doing it over five years as owners ask for one,” she said.

READ ALSO Quietly released 2023 bus timetable with slashed services draws ire

Adding an EV charger to an apartment car park post-construction can cost up to $5000.

Ms James said the charger circuits will use “load management” technology to distribute power depending on how many cars are plugged in at once.

“If we have all 313 chargers running at once, the circuits will distribute the power between them so it doesn’t blow up the grid,” she said.

“However, we’ve worked with our electrical engineers to ensure the chargers can deliver a base amount – generally 50 per cent of the battery capacity – overnight, so everyone stays happy. Most people also aren’t going to be driving 300 km every day.”

Because the government has mandated all new residential developments have sufficient power for a charging point in each car space, Ms James said it’s ultimately up to them to negotiate with EvoEnergy to ensure the street’s electrical grids can handle it – a particular challenge as the city’s gas connections prepare to go offline by 2045.

The generic charging stations are supplied by Jet Charge

A charging point in an underground car park. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

“The building’s substation will definitely be bigger than what we’ve seen pre-EVs, but in terms of the actual street grid, if there are things that have to be upgraded to facilitate that, I’m sure the ACT Government will do so.”

Aliqua said EV On is “100 per cent keen” to partner with more developers to deliver more private charge points in apartments across Canberra in the future.

A number of the properties at The Markets have also received a 7-Star NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme) Energy Efficiency Rating. This means owners are eligible for ‘green loans’.

Offered by banks and other financial institutions, these loans typically cover environmentally friendly purchases such as hybrid cars or EVs, solar panels, double-glazing for windows and water tanks, as well as energy-efficient appliances, white goods, heaters and air-conditioners.

The Markets is set for completion by January 2025.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
A Nonny Mouse1:43 pm 05 Jan 23

With a load-managed system, a building does not necessarily need a bigger electricity supply. The substation for any apartment block is sized to be just sufficient to cover the expected peak load. The peak load typically occurs when people get home and start cooking, turning on lights, heating or cooling etc. The load management system compares the building load with the supply capacity. The difference is what is available for car charging.
So, when if people plug in their cars in the evening, there might not be enough spare capacity for the cars to start charging immediately. Instead, later in the evening, when people stop cooking, the cars will receive a signal to start charging at only a low rate. Later in the evening, when some cars have stopped charging and other loads are lessened, the remaining cars receive a signal that they can increase their charging rate. As the night goes on and more cars finish charging and other loads are turned off and people go to bed, the remaining cars receive a signal that they may further increase their charge rate. By the morning, most cars will have charged to their internally set limits and the remaining few will be charging at a quite fast rate. Some cars will have been charging in the day and won’t need to charge at night at all.
A building’s demand profile tends to be similar to that of the grid as a whole and such load managed systems will tend to suit the grid, even without external demand management systems.
Such systems typically also include logging of consumption at each charging outlet, enabling billing of each tenant or unit owner and reimbursement of the Owners Corporation’s additional electricity costs.
In short, the sky won’t fall in.

Works until someone decides they want their car charged no matter what and overrides the charging rate which is managed entirely by the car.
The EVSE is merely an offer of what a car can take, rather than limiting what it does.
If you know someone is away casually using their space so you can charge on them.

A Nonny Mouse5:18 pm 05 Jan 23

Gooterz, You misunderstand the function of the EVSE. It is the opposite to what you describe. The EVSE’s function is to set the upper limit based on the capacity of the supply it is connected to.
Eg1. An EVSE might tell the car it is permitted to take 32A but the car might be an older model that can only take 15A at most. It takes 15A. The EVSE can’t push 32A into a car whose on board charger can’t use it.
Eg2 An EVSE might tell a car that it is limited to 10A. That could be a wall-mounted EVSE or a portable EVSE charge cord fitted with a 10A plug. It could be in a 15A socket but the EVSE doesn’t know that. Since it could be in a 10A socket it tells the car it is not allowed to take more than 10A. The car’s onboard charger only takes 10A, even though it might be capable of using up to 32A and charging 3x faster
Eg3. An EVSE that is part of an apartment’s load managed system or on a house with a monitored solar PV system can regularly vary the charge limit it tells the car so that the car only charges at a speed that matches the apartment’s spare supply capacity at that moment or the house’s spare solar generation at that moment.
In short, the EVSE sets the absolute upper limit for charging speed. The EVSE is the boss. The car complies and takes that amount or less. If a fault were to occur and the car somehow were to pull more current than the EVSE allows, a relay in the EVSE opens to cut the power supply to the car.

As A Nonny Mouse says, the charging rates will be controlled by the load management systems.

Of course if someone wants to take up more of the capacity and charge their car quicker, there are mechanisms to allow it, they will just face a much higher electricity price for the convenience of a quicker charge.

The whole EV charger is a misnomer, the charger is part of the car, which is attached to the battery.
The thing on the wall outside the car is the EVSE, or EV supply Equipment. Inside is a big switch and some electronics.
The only thing that the box does is tell the car how much power it can draw and disconnects it when the battery is fully charged. $5k for one of those is a huge rip off.
If the car firmware was updated, it could draw as much power as it wanted too.

What water supression system is used on this carpark? 313 EVs has combined energy storage of 25MWh.

The government went around replacing flamable cladding on the outside of buildings but is ok with filling basements with batteries?

A Nonny Mouse5:23 pm 05 Jan 23

The $5k price tag is for the extensive wiring behind the EVSE back to an expanded switchboard, the load management hardware and the networking between EVSEs and the central control box. An EVSE on its own is hundreds of dollars.
A car cannot take more current than the maximum that it has been told it is permitted to take by the EVSE. If a car tries to take more, the EVSE opens that relay on the assumption that a fault has occurred.

The evse has no major power eletronic functions though. Its just a glorified power switch with a meter. You can get the same from bunnings for $50.

The fact they cost so much is the false assumption its actually a charger. You then get charged the green feel good tax.

The Feds are to build a humongous , or ginormous … or large anyway , parking station in the Fed circle for some spook organisation.

Did anyone notice if it has power points for EV vehicles ?

This will add a massive cost to each apartment.. if you don’t have a ev your not going to be interested in the apartment. The people that buy these will get ripped off as there be massive issues with charging that many EVs . Your more like to end up with a dud investment.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.