A Port Moody couple has been forced to move after their building’s strata corporation refused to let them charge their electric car, even though an electrical outlet was just inches away from their parking stall.

When Kyle Wiebe and Tamara Tedesco bought their electric vehicle, they didn’t think it would be an issue to charge it. The previous building they lived in had accommodated the vehicle and the couple had tracked their electrical usage to $0.68 a day at BC Hydro's highest rate.

“We offered to either pay in monthly installments [to the strata] or a flat fee to more than cover our electric usage," said Tedesco.  

But the strata still said no. So the couple had to drive to a charging station at a nearby community centre.

"I don't like leaving it overnight. It's a public area so sometimes I'll return at 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. to pick it up," said Wiebe.  

Eventually, the couple reluctantly decided they would have to move. It was a decision that was made more difficult because of the fact Tedesco is blind.

"It is extremely frustrating to have to move again, especially for me being blind. It's just a whole other layer of adjustment, relearning my new home, my new area," said Tedesco.

"It's a catch-22 for an owner. I want to go out and buy an electric car, but my building doesn't have charging stations," said Tony Gioventu, president of Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C.

CHOA has just completed an 18 month study on electric vehicle charging stations in stratas. It found the easiest solution is to install charging stations in condo parkades.

"You plug your car in. You swipe your prepaid card or your credit card and that way the strata corporation doesn't have to worry about subsidizing electricity for this individual," said Gioventu. 

But the charging stations aren't cheap. They cost between $5,000 and $25,000 depending on whether electrical retrofits are required in older buildings.

And all owners of the strata would have to agree to the expense, even though only 1,000 electric cars have been sold in all of B.C.

"These cars are good for the environment, and we don't need more barriers to buy them than already exist," said Wiebe.

Tedesco and Wiebe had to approach seven stratas in Port Moody, until they could find one that would let them plug in their electric car.

There are provincial incentives available for stratas that want to install charging stations through a program called Clean Connect. That program will give stratas up to $4,500 dollars toward the cost of each charging station installed.  For more information on the electric car study you can visit www.choa.bc.ca.