Will the rise of electric cars send us into blackouts?

With electric car ownership predicted to take off in the next 20 years, many questions about their practical uptake of the greener vehicles were still unanswered.

An Australian start-up company Wattblock have initiated a new study into our readiness to take up electric vehicle ownership, hoping to answer questions like:

  • Who would pay for the electricity used to charge an EV in an apartment building?
  • How much would it cost for an apartment resident to charge their EV at home?
  • Where should EV charging stations be put?
  • How many EVs can be charged at one apartment block before power cuts out?

Over the six month period, 40 apartment buildings across Sydney and south east Queensland will be monitored for issues residents have faced with recharging electric vehicles.

Wattblock’s co-founder and director Brent Clark told One Step Off The Grid, EV issues were already starting to plague dense cities, like the Gold Coast.

“It’s about breaking down the barriers that you’ve currently got on apartment blocks,” Mr Clark said.

“At the moment, people who live in an apartment and want to buy an EV, they’ve just got challenges in front of them.

“If one more [resident] buys a Tesla the lift will stop working… a third person is not allowed to charge inside the building until they find a solution.”

Mr Clark said while larger buildings could charge more vehicles, no apartment block in Australia had the capacity to charge multiple electric vehicles.

“The electricity required to charge an EV is like adding another apartment into the block,” he said.

RACQ’s Greg Miszkowycz said the study raised a range of issues motorists should consider when purchasing an electric vehicle.

“Just like when you buy a petrol or diesel car, you consider how often it needs filling up and how much it will cost to fill it up, potential EV buyers should still be considering the same things,” Mr Miszkowycz said.

“They have to also look at when and where you charge it up and plan accordingly, which may mean paying to have a charging solution installed in their home.

“If you are looking to buy an electric vehicle, other things you might want to consider is if there is a charger at the property and if there isn’t what is the cost of installing one.”