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Given the rising cost of housing, Canadians are increasingly seeking out condos and apartments as a form of housing. Single-family homes are financially out of reach for many, leaving lower-cost housing like condos and apartments as the only options for many Canadians.

But if you live in a multi-residential property, it can be a challenge to charge your electric vehicle given the tighter space and competition for a charging station. 

So, when it comes to charging electric cars, what’s the best EV if you live in an apartment or condo?

Electric Vehicles And Multi-Residential Properties

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the average price for a home in Canada now sits at $729,044. And the price is much higher in more expensive markets, including the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). The average price for a home in the GTA has reached $1,164,400, as of May 2023. 

Higher home prices mean Canadians are having to take out bigger home loans, thus racking up higher debt. And higher loan amounts mean credit score requirements are much more stringent. This can make getting a mortgage difficult for those with bad credit.

With prices like these, many Canadians are being priced out of the market and are left with more affordable housing options in the form of condos and apartments. But many with electric vehicles wonder, where will they charge their cars when there’s a limited supply of charging stations?

How Does Charging For Electric Cars Work In Condos Or Apartments

An increasing number of Canadians are buying electric vehicles. Over 86,000 electric vehicles were registered in Canada in 2021, marking a 53% increase from 2019.

EVs are more expensive to buy up-front and require bigger auto loans to finance. But they’re less expensive to fuel and maintain compared to gas cars, which is why they’re becoming increasingly attractive to consumers in Canada.

However, those who drive electric vehicles might find it tough to charge their EVs when living in a condo or apartment, as many complexes do not offer charging stations. And those that do may only be able to accommodate a handful of vehicles at once, leaving EV owners fighting for a spot.

How To Charge An Electric Vehicle When Living In A Condo Or Apartment?

You might have to consider requesting an EV charging station in your parking spot. But this is an involved process that comes with no guarantees. You would be required to speak with your condo council or landlord for approval

Keep in mind that condo councils are not obligated to permit residents to install EV chargers in their parking spots. Depending on where you live, you could be denied a charger even after making a formal request.

When all else fails, your best bet is to buy an EV that you can charge using a standard 120-V outlet that you’ll find in your building garage. 

3 Types Of Charging For Electric Cars 

There are three levels of charging electric vehicles: Level 1, 2, and 3. The higher the level, the more power is delivered, which means the faster the vehicle charges. If your apartment or condo complex does not have an electric charging station, you may need to rely on whatever outlet you have in your garage. 

Different electric vehicles charge at different speeds on each charging level, so it’s important to understand what your specific vehicle is able to charge on. In other words, the vehicle specifies the amount of power it can accept and won’t let the charger deliver more power than it can handle. 

Level 1 Charging For Electric Cars

Level 1 chargers use 120 Volts, which is the level that a common household electrical outlet can accommodate. As such, you can charge your EV on Level 1 by simply plugging the charging equipment into a wall outlet in your garage or near your parking space. 

Keep in mind that while it’s easy to find a typical household 120-V outlet, this is the slowest way to charge your car. It can take more than a day to charge your vehicle, so this may be inconvenient when you’re in a rush. The Level 1 charger adds up to 8 km of range per hour of charging time. 

Level 2 And 3 Charging For Electric Cars

The Level 2 chargers provide up to 97 km of range per hour of charging time and require a 208-V or 240-V wall outlet, which is used to power major appliances like air conditioners, dryers, and ovens. Level 3 chargers provide the fastest charging time.

Teslas most often require Level 2 or 3 charging stations, though they come with adapters that can be used for Level 1 EV chargers.

Best EVs If You Live In An Apartment: EVs That Charge On A Standard 120-Volt Outlet

If you live in an apartment or condo, a 120-V outlet may be the easiest to find and charge your EV. Just make sure the vehicle you purchase is capable of charging on a Level 1 charger.  

The following electric vehicles can be charged on 120-V outlets:

Nissan Leaf

  • MSRP: Starting at $41,248
  • Range: Up to 342 km
  • Battery size: 40 kWh
  • Consumption rating: Up To 1.9 Le/100 km
  • Charge time on Level 1 (120V): Up to 2.5 days
  • Hybrid: No

Toyota Prius XLE AWD

  • MSRP: Starting at $36,650
  • Range: Up to 833 km
  • Battery size: 13.6 kWH
  • Consumption rating: 4.5 L/100 km
  • Charge time on Level 1 (120V): 11 hours
  • Hybrid: Yes

Kia Soul EV

  • MSRP: $43,095
  • Range: 248 km – 383 km
  • Battery size: 39.2 kWh 
  • Consumption rating: 1.8 Le/100 km
  • Charge time on Level 1 (120V): 36 hours
  • Hybrid: No

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

  • MSRP: Starting at $46,538
  • Range: Up to 61 km (battery only)
  • Battery size: 20 kWh
  • Consumption rating: 6.0 L/100 km
  • Charge time on Level 1 (120V): 16 hours
  • Hybrid: Yes

Ford Escape ST-Line AWD Hybrid

  • MSRP: Starting at $42,949
  • Range: Up to 60 km
  • Battery size: 14.4 kWh
  • Consumption rating: 6.0 L/100 km
  • Charge time on Level 1 (120V): 10 – 11 hours
  • Hybrid: Yes

How To Get A Fast-Charging Station Installed In Your Building

If you wish to purchase an EV that requires something more than a 120-V outlet to charge the battery, consider inquiring with your landlord or condo corporation to have a station installed in your complex. 

Since the power from the panel in a condo or apartment complex is shared, strata councils typically don’t approve requests from individual residents. Instead, the board would need a plan in place to ensure that the majority of owners are in agreement with the installation. Further, steps need to be taken to ensure that the building has enough extra power to charge a certain number of EVs.

Consider the following steps when requesting to have charging stations installed in your building:

  • Gauge potential interest from owners. Schedule a meeting with the condo board to invite all owners and see how much interest there is in having EV charging stations installed.  
  • Call an EV charging provider. Have a local EV charging company visit your complex to DETERMINE how much electrical power is available for EV charging stations. Find out what the cost will be if installation is possible.
  • Hold a vote among residents. If the building is capable of handling the power requirements, the strata council should take a vote on the EV charging stations to be installed.

Final Thoughts

The best EV, if you live in an apartment, is one that can be charged using your typical 120-V outlet. As long as you don’t charge other items at the same time, there should be enough juice to power your EV. Just keep in mind that it could take more than a day to charge your car, though this may be your only option if your complex doesn’t provide a charging station.

Charging For Electric Cars FAQs

What is an EV?

An electric vehicle features an electric motor for power instead of an internal combustion engine, and a battery instead of a gas tank.

What is the cheapest EV in Canada?

One of the cheapest EVs in Canada right now is the Nissan Leaf, which is currently priced at $41,248.

What is the best EV in Canada?

Clutch.ca recently rated the top EVs in Canada based on fuel consumption equivalent ratings. According to the online car buying and selling platform, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 is considered the best in this category, boasting a fuel consumption equivalent of 2.1 Le/100 km. This type of EV can help drivers maximum their operational savings. 

Do the federal or provincial governments subsidize the cost of an EV with a rebate?

The Canadian government offers the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program, which provides up to $5,000 to eligible Canadians to be put toward the purchase of an electric vehicle. There are also tax deductions available for businesses to reduce the operational costs of an EV. Some provincial governments also offer rebates, including BC, which provides apartments and condos with rebates for EV chargers and electrical upgrades
Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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