Electric vehicles are all the rage because they are good for the environment and, when powered by clean energy, will help reduce our emissions. The great irony is that owning a green vehicle is much more likely when you have a single-family home and a big driveway at a time when single-family homes are becoming a thing of the past. Although more people can afford an electric vehicle, they are not particularly practical in dense neighbourhoods where driveways are shared or non-existent.
The battle for scarce space on residential streets is starting to heat up. A small neighbourhood rebellion started brewing recently when it came to light that the Parking Authority was proposing to install a pay-per-use EV charger on a residential street in midtown. Residents pushed back on the idea, and the EV charger was unceremoniously moved to the Beaches.
The current approach is to ask for front yard parking so EV car owners can access a power supply. A proposition that is in direct conflict with the city’s policy for refusing front yard parking because it replaces grass with a non-permeable material that leads to storm-water runoff.
The solution is either a pay-per-use charger on the residential street, or right of way, or long power cords crossing sidewalks or city property. The challenge becomes more persistent as more people without driveways buy electric cars, but the solutions aren’t easy if you need a majority of the neighbours to allow you access to power.
Retrofitting condos with EV chargers is an enormous challenge: from ensuring the building has the electrical capacity to the cost of installing the chargers, and then the trickiest of all — ensuring the condo board doesn’t end up paying for the electricity that is being used by those who are charging their cars.
Although there are impediments to installing EV chargers in condos, condo boards still do have the ability to implement the infrastructure. Those who live in rental apartments are at the mercy of the landlord.
The next mayor of the city is going to need some creativity when considering how to build the infrastructure to support electric vehicles.
The current plan to have Toronto Parking Authority install 150 chargers over two years is already getting pushback and won’t even scratch the surface for meeting demand, especially since all new cars sold in Canada by 2036 will need to be charged.