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My Charging Story (Long)


Moderator Aus/NZ
Feb 11, 2008
Sydney Australia
Since I mentioned that I have successfully installed a plug point in my apartment garage to Tesla and on this forum I have been asked to outline how I was able to do this as many people have met with resistance from Owners Corporations. This is a summary of my experience, apologies if it’s a bit long.

I live in Potts Point; Sydney which I am told is the most densely populated suburb in Australia. Mostly living here is great and suits my lifestyle, with the exception of my lifelong interest in cars, which is strictly limited by apartment living, especially as the building I live in has no parking to speak of. I got around that by purchasing an investment apartment nearby and I rent the apartment without parking and use the allocated space for my car.

I first heard of Tesla in the Martin Eberhard days about 6 weeks after the initial announcement of the Roadster in 2006, and what impressed me the most was that they had a business plan that contrasted markedly with the normal EV message where we should all drive punishment cars to atone for the damage we do to the planet.

Like Elon I too had been promised an electric car by the big manufacturers, when I bought my Mercedes A Class back in 1999, I thought it would be replaced with an electric version later, but apart from the NECAR4 nothing happened. Then in 2007 I got a new job and a nice pay rise, some of which I used to start an electric car savings account which I am still adding to 7 years later.

I never thought I would end up with a Tesla, I thought like Elon, that Tesla would drive the rest of the industry towards EV’s and I would end up with a Volt or a Golf EV or something similar, but where would I charge this plug-in vehicle?

I decided that I would try and convince the Owners Corporation to let me install a power supply in my garage. This was made all the more complicated by the fact that I couldn’t attach this to the meter for the apartment as I don’t think my tenant wanted to pay for my charging. There were positives to my situation as all of the electrical meters and the main board is located in a room in the garage area about 15 meters from my parking space.

My first step was to attend the AGM and get elected to the Owners Corporation Committee in about 2008 or 09, and then I attended the Committee meetings regularly and did what I could to be a helpful committee member. At the same time I sounded the members out regarding what their concerns would be regarding an electric car charging in the garage. The main concern was overwhelming the limited building electricity supply which is 200 Amp three phase. Then there were concerns that knowing they can charge in this building people from surrounding buildings would rent parking spaces and demand to install chargers with no concern for the building as they didn't live there.

Going back through my email, my first official request to the Owners Corporation was in July 2010 but I had done quite a bit of lobbying prior to this and I pitched in a way that addresses these main concerns. I explained that the electrification of vehicles was increasing and it’s only a matter of time before we would be asked by a resident or owner to charge their Plug-in vehicle and that we need to write some By-Laws to control the charging of Plug-In vehicles. I volunteered to write these By-Laws after which they were run past a lawyer to ensure that they were ‘legal’ and then put to the AGM in late 2010. I also volunteered to pay for the legal costs and the cost to register the by-law.

So the By-Laws we came up with were:
2A Plug-in (electric) Vehicles
(1) An owner or occupant of a lot must not charge a plug-in vehicle from any
power source in the building except with the prior written approval of the
owners corporation.
(2) The owner of a lot will submit a design for the installation of the plug-in
vehicle charging system to the body corporate and gain their written approval
before commencing installation.
(3) Before being considered for approval the design of a plug-in vehicle
charger installation must meet the minimum specifications set out in (4)
(i) A dedicated and separately metered power supply for the sole
purpose of charging the plug-in vehicle
(ii) The dedicated power meter will be located in the electrical room on
the lower ground parking floor in a separate panel to the normal house
hold meters.
(iii) The maximum capacity provided to the plug-in vehicle will be
single phase, 240 Volts and 32 Amps.
(iv) Suitable conduit will carry the power for the plug-in vehicle to the
allocated parking space of the owners lot.
(5) The charging point, associated cables and Plug-in vehicle must be located
wholly within the allocated parking space of the owners lot when charging the
(6) The owners corporation may not give permission to the occupier of a lot to
install a power supply for a plug-in vehicle unless they are also the owner of
the lot.

Some Explanation:
Sub point 1 is there to prevent someone just plugging into the existing 10Amp power points that already exist in the garage area.
Sub point 2 requires that they seek approval before charging in the garage.
Sub point 3 gives the Owners Committee the right to approve or deny an application.
Sub Point 4 outlines the minimum requirements and maximum capacity. In particular, the requirement for a separate meter means as every new meter installation needs an analysis of the additional load on the main panel to ensure that the building power is not overloaded. The higher cost also ensures that someone wanting to install a charger is more likely to have a commitment to the building.
Sub Point 5 was housekeeping at the request of the committee.
Sub Point 6 was added at the request of the committee to prevent non-owners from being eligible.

As more meters are installed, eventually we will be given the advice that the building supply will not support any more, so the By-Laws will need to be modified or the building will need to install a second supply for the vehicle chargers separately. This will be easier to do as they have been separated out on dedicated meters unlike all the Air Conditioners that go in without question.

These By-Laws were registered in early 2011 and I applied officially to install a plug point early that year and that was approved by the committee unanimously, so I had a plug point installed soon after at the cost of about AUD$3,500 all up.

At the time Elon was telling us about the $50,000 Model S so I decided to spend some money to keep my A Class on the road for 2 more years until we knew more about the potential price of the Model S in Australia, plus the savings account was making for a really good offset against our mortgage which helped us pay it off soon after. Since then my mortgage payment goes into the saving account instead making the Model S a financial possibility.
Eventually in June 2012 my partner got fed up with me prattling on about Tesla and the Model S and said, so why don’t you just order one? So I did. :)
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