Electricity network covers quarter of apartments' car charging needs

An electric vehicle charger.
An electric vehicle charger. Source: Mait Ots / ERR

According to Elektrilevi, its current network is able to provide around 50 percent of electric car charging needs in private houses and 25 percent in apartment buildings.

However, the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications says, that by 2050, half of Estonia's parking spaces should have electric charging facilities.

Liivalaia 5 is a housing association in Tallinn comprising 135 apartments and commercial premises. According to Raimo Jõgeva, who heads the association, it is difficult to imagine that all the residents of the building being able to charge their electric cars there in the future.

"At the moment, that is absolutely impossible," said Jõgeva.

"First of all, parking is already so bad in the evenings that you can't drive through here. Look, there's no parking spaces. However, we also have to leave space for the charging points," he said.

"After all, this building was constructed in 1962, when household appliances were almost non-existent, and even if they were some, they used very little power. Nowadays, everyone has a very powerful electric cooker and electricity consumption is really high," he said.

The Estonian Environmental Research Center (EKUK) predicts, that by 2035, there will be 162,000 electric cars in Estonia. According to Elektrilevi, this means electricity consumption will therefore increase. However, at the same time, the cars will mostly be charged during the night, when general household electricity consumption is at its lowest, and the grid is not overloaded.

According to Elektrilevi management board member Rasmus Armas, without additional investment, the current network is able to provide around 50 percent of electric car charging needs in private houses and 25 percent in apartment buildings.

"It's definitely more complicated (in older apartment buildings), because in the past, the systems were not designed to allow for so much electricity consumption," said Armas.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has said, that it will support the development of charging points for electric vehicles as part of the general process of renovating buildings.

"In March, a call will be made for applications for grants to be used for the renovation of apartment buildings. One of the activities to be supported will be the installation of charging points," said Ivo Jaanisoo, deputy secretary general for construction at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

"The ministry is still working on a separate grant for the construction of charging points, which fall outside the scope of renovations. For this we are planning (to run) a pilot project," Jaanisoo said.

However, by 2050, when, in line with EU goals, the vast majority of cars on the road are expected to be electric, the need for chargers is likely to be huge.

"The current trend is for about half the parking spaces to be equipped with a charging point," Jaanisoo said.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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