This report was sent to the Saltbush Club by an engineer who checked an apartment block in an Australian capital city to see if charging points for electric cars could be installed. It is word-for-word as received except for concealing things that could identify the author (fully qualified) or the specific apartment building.
1st February 2022
I recently did some work for the body corporate at the XXX Apartment Building in XXX to see if we could install a small number of electric charging points for apartment owners to charge their electric vehicles. Three owners had enquired before the job started.
Our research discovered:
1. The building had no non-allocated parking spaces ie public ones. This is typical of most apartment buildings so we cannot provide shared outlets.
2. The power supply in the building was designed for the loads in the building with virtually no spare capacity. Only 5 or 6 chargers could be installed in total in a building with over 180 apartments!!
3. How do you allocate them as they would add value to any apartment owning one? The shit fight started on day one with about 20 applications received on the first day and many more following.
4. The car park sub-boards cannot carry the extra loads of even one charger and would have to be upgraded on any floors with a charger, as would the supply mains to each sub-board.
5. The main switch board would then have to be upgraded to add the heavier circuit breakers for the sub-mains upgrade.
6. Furthermore, when the building was designed, a limit was put on the number of apartments in each precinct and the mains and transformers in the streets designed accordingly. This means there is no capacity in the street grid for any significant quantity of car chargers in any building in the area.
7. It gets better. The whole area is fed by two sub stations. This was done to have two alternate feeds in case one failed or was down for maintenance. Because of the growth in the city neither one is now capable of supplying the full requirement of this zone at peak usage in mid-summer if the other is out of action. One 66,000 volt feeder runs on 50 or 60 year old wooden power poles above ground. One pole is located 40 cm from the corner kerb at an incredibly busy Intersection and is very vulnerable to being wiped out by a wayward vehicle.
8. The infrastructure expenditure required to allow electric car charging would dwarf the NBN cost excluding the new power stations required.
Those advocating electric vehicles only by 2040 are completely bonkers. It takes 5-8 years to design and build a large coal fired power station and even longer for a nuclear one (That’s after you get the political will, permits and legislative changes needed). Wind and solar just can`t produce enough reliable power. Tidal power might, but that’s further away than nuclear.
It’s just a green dream for the foreseeable future, other than in small wealthy countries. It may ultimately come but not in the next 20 years.