Parking Lot EV Chargers

03/25/2013 | By Christopher Curtland

Effective deployment depends on space planning and code adherence

EV charging stations can energize your site, but picking the right technology isn’t as easy as plugging into a socket. Your decision hinges on how long occupants remain parked and the availability of power.

It’s easy to recognize the benefits of installing an electric vehicle (EV) charging station: attract EV drivers to your building, provide a visual indicator of your sustainability commitment, and distinguish yourself from competitors. What’s not so easy is actually deploying this technology and seizing those benefits.

Successful installations identify the correct technology for the application, adhere to the necessary codes, and utilize lot space effectively in the present and future. Take charge and follow these steps for effective deployment.

Honor the Code

Governing bodies, such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), have developed standards to address the growth in EV charging stations. For instance, Article 625 of the National Electric Code (NFPA 70) indicates that all EV charging stations and components are listed to national or international standards. UL 2594 is one of the main standards and covers the different voltages available as well as safety and weather concerns. SAE J2293 and J1772 provide key design requirements to ensure interoperability with EVs.

Need to Know – Codes, Standards, and Regulations

If you’re considering an installation, there are three compliance issues to check out:

  • Article 625 of the National Energy Code covers the wiring methods, construction, protection, installation, and location of charging stations.

  • Several standards and regulations from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and Underwriters Laboratory (UL) ensure the safe deployment of chargers.

  • Your local building department will help navigate the accessibility requirements of EV charging stations as set forth by the ADA.
“It’s important for building owners and managers to have confidence in the technology before deploying it,” explains Rich Byczek, global technical lead for electric vehicles at Intertek, a third-party product testing and certification body. “Understanding the codes and certifications is key.”

Local building departments interpret and enforce Article 625, so include them in your planning upfront, says John Kalb, CEO of consulting firm EV Charging Pros.

Installing charging stations sometimes requires performing a load calculation to determine the availability of power.

“Not all chargers draw the same amount of power, so you have to be careful with the 625 definition of chargers as continuous load devices,” Kalb explains. “If you have a 100-amp power panel, your exising load is 50 amps, and a charger requires a dedicated 40-amp circuit, there could be enough to accommodate it because the charger may not actually draw all 40 amps.”

Another regulatory issue for your lot’s design is accommodating ADA-compliant parking spots.

“EV charging spots are alternative fuel deployment stations, so they’re not parking spots,” says Kalb. “But there’s some overlap. Municipalities generally require the first charger to be accessible and oftentimes that means ADA-compliant.”

It’s a point of confusion to address with your building department from the very beginning.

“Good practice is making sure that people who are disabled and drive EVs aren’t stuck,” says Mike Calise, director of EVs at Schneider Electric. “A prudent measure is to align the station with an ADA stall and provide extra space on both sides.”

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