Your next home will probably be able to charge your car. As electric vehicle sales soar, local governments may require builders to include EVSE-ready infrastructure in their new builds.
According to Slashgear, electric car regulations could see “all-new” home builds in the US required to be “EV-ready” in the near future. The article also says, “Currently, [while] California has mandated electrical wiring for EV chargers be included in its building codes since 2015, the rest of the US has no such requirements.” But that may soon be a thing of the past as building codes change.
The International Code Council (ICC) creates building safety standards and codes builders follow. Their new codes indicate “New construction shall facilitate future installation and use of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) in accordance with the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70).” These new codes are applicable to private homes, multi-family residences, condos, and apartment buildings.
The ICC is a non-profit trade association and its codes are embraced by governmental bodies, construction companies, and all 50 states, though states generally take up to six months to approve voluntary changes.
According to CleanTechnica, “the new ICC guidelines call for installing panels, outlets, and conduits capable of charging at least one full-size EV in a single-family garage overnight. Multi-family buildings will need two spots, along with more that can be easily retrofitted, a standard known as “EV capable.”
What is “EV-Ready?”
“EV-Ready” can have several different meanings. According to Quartz, there are three different EVSE-ready building codes currently in use. They include:
1) EV-Capable. This means there is electric panel capacity, a dedicated branch circuit, and continuous raceway from the panel to the intended location of the EVSE. This is definitely the most popular building code in regard to EVSE, and is the easiest and least expensive to complete. It just means EVSE can be installed without re-wiring.
2) EVSE-Ready Outlet. This code means the raceway with conduit ends in a 240 volt outlet, ready to plug a Level 2 charger into. 10% of parking in Boulder, Colorado, is coded EVSE-Ready Outlet. This code is about to become required.
3)EVSE-Installed. The final building code is rarest. Most buildings are not yet required to already have a Level 2 charger installed in them. 5-10% of parking in Palo Alto, California, is coded EVSE-installed.
EV drivers are at a disadvantage if they own a home with almost entirely 110V plugs. 240v plugs are required to plug in EVs; however, they’re also required for large appliances, such as dryers and refrigerators, so most homes are equipped with at least a couple of them. Adding more will be one of the goals of the push to make homes EV ready.
According to ICC documentation, while the initial cost of construction may be higher, long term costs for the owner will go down, avoiding retrofitting, which is expensive and can be destructive.
When installing EVSE, it’s always a good decision to plan for future charging needs. If a business is installing 8 chargers, installing 8, but preparing spots for 16, will save money in the future by avoiding more trenching and wiring changes. But the best savings of all is to build the garage or parking lot with blueprints that already include the power needed for EVSE. The electricity needs of EVs are built into the schematic and there are no later worries that the wiring may need to be replaced. Additionally, EV drivers can get the most out of their vehicles when there is plenty of power to charge.
Preparing new builds for EV drivers is a cost-effective way to get a jump on customer needs, whether the new building is a single-family home or the garage for a large corporation.