Canberra Apartments Lead the Way in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Canberra Apartments Lead the Way in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

Canberra Apartments Lead the Way in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

September 25, 2023

In a progressive move, a Canberra apartment complex has taken the initiative to retrofit its basement to accommodate electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. This forward-thinking approach comes ahead of the updated national construction code, which will soon require all new buildings to have EV charging capabilities. As cities worldwide grapple with the challenges of sustainable urban living, such pioneering efforts in Canberra highlight the potential for residential complexes to play a pivotal role in promoting green transportation.

The Cost and Logistics of Retrofitting

Retrofitting existing structures to support EV charging can be a daunting task, both financially and logistically. The Canberra-based apartment complex, located in the city’s inner north, invested approximately $200,000 in this venture. This investment covered extensive rewiring and the integration of a sophisticated load management system to handle the increased power demand.

Despite the initial costs, individual apartment owners are responsible for their charging expenses. Remarkably, a third of the building’s units have already installed their personal charging stations. As the global push for sustainability gains momentum, such investments are expected to offer long-term benefits, both environmentally and financially.

Residents Embrace the Change

Adam Scott, a resident of the complex, shared his family’s experience after purchasing two electric vehicles in the past year. He highlighted the challenges they faced with public charging infrastructure, especially as the number of EVs on the road surged. “Previously, we had to meticulously plan our trips based on when and where we could charge,” Mr. Scott explained. “Now, it’s as simple as coming home and plugging in.”

Interestingly, even residents without electric vehicles recognize the long-term benefits of this infrastructure upgrade. The retrofitting not only enhances the property’s value but also provides flexibility for residents to consider EVs in the future. As the EV market continues to grow, having accessible and convenient charging solutions at home will become increasingly essential.

Setting a Benchmark for Other Buildings

Neil Le Quesne, a member of the building’s owners’ committee, believes that their initiative places the complex “ahead of the market” in catering to the needs of EV drivers. He emphasised the growing demand for at-home charging solutions, regardless of the type of residence. While their building had surplus electrical capacity, Mr. Le Quesne pointed out that modern technological advancements make it feasible for other buildings to adopt similar projects without needing 100% spare capacity.

With the global shift towards sustainable living, residential complexes worldwide are exploring ways to integrate EV charging solutions. The Canberra apartment complex serves as an inspiring example, showcasing the possibilities and benefits of such retrofitting projects.

The Broader Landscape of EV Adoption in Australia

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has witnessed a surge in EV demand. In the first half of 2023, 20% of all newly registered vehicles in the ACT were electric. This figure significantly outpaces other regions like New South Wales and Tasmania, which recorded an 8% EV registration rate.

The ACT Legislative Assembly has proposed one-off grants for body corporates to explore retrofitting possibilities. Construction Minister Rebecca Vassarotti hinted at potential government incentives to boost EV adoption and manage the transition. While the new construction standards are set to be implemented soon, some regions have postponed their enforcement to later dates, indicating the complexities involved in such transitions.


  1. How much did the Canberra apartment complex invest in retrofitting for EV charging?
    • The complex invested approximately $200,000.
  2. What percentage of the building’s units have installed their chargers?
    • About a third of the units have installed their chargers.
  3. What will the updated national construction code mandate?
    • It will require all new buildings to have EV charging capabilities.
  4. How many electric vehicles did Adam Scott’s family purchase in the past year?
    • They bought two electric vehicles.
  5. What percentage of newly registered cars in the ACT were electric in the first half of 2023?
    • 20% of the newly registered cars were electric.

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