Codes Address EV Infrastructure Needs

Codes Address EV Infrastructure Needs

This piece was originally published in the May/June 2020 issue of electroindustry.

by Mike Stone, West Coast Field Representative, NEMA

Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly prevalent on America’s roads. Industry expert projections regarding how many EVs will be on America’s roads by 2030 vary widely, but all agree that the number will increase exponentially. One estimate from the Edison Electric Institute, the investor-owned U.S. utility association, predicts an increase from 1 million EVs in 2018 to 18.7 million by 2030. In order to accommodate this dramatic increase in EVs, a considerable amount of vehicle charging infrastructure needs to be installed.

There are many different grant programs, incentives, and utility initiatives that aim to provide this infrastructure, but one of the key pieces to address this infrastructure need is through green building and energy codes. Some of these codes are voluntary, or “reach” codes, but increasingly they are becoming mandatory. They generally apply to new construction or major improvements. They all contain provisions for EV-ready installations, where future conduits and wiring are installed near parking spaces. Some of the codes have requirements for the actual installation of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE).

Major examples of these codes are:

  • The 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), published by the International Code Council (ICC), contains requirements for up to 20 percent of EV-ready and EVSE parking spaces in new multi-family and non-residential construction. NEMA participated in the code hearings in 2019 where these rules were accepted. We successfully supported our energy industry partners who were the proponents of the EV proposals. The 2021 IECC will be published later this year or early next (after confirmation by the ICC Board) and will be available for state and local adoption in 2021.
  • The 2019 California Title 24, Part 11 Green Building Code (a.k.a. CALGreen) went into effect on January 1, 2020. It contains new construction requirements for EV-ready installations in all single-family dwellings, multi-family dwellings (10 percent of spaces), and non-residential parking facilities (6 percent of spaces).

Another way the EVSE infrastructure need is addressed by code requirements is through local ordinance by individual cities and counties. For example, the County of Los Angeles and the Cities of Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York have all passed ordinances requiring from 10 to 30 percent of parking spaces in newly constructed multi- family dwelling complexes and non-residential parking areas to be either EV-ready or fully functional with EVSE installed. Many smaller cities are enacting similar rules. In California, the City of San Jose has adopted rules for newly constructed single-family homes and townhouses to be EV-ready, and up to 70 percent of parking spaces in multi-family complexes to be either EV- ready or have EVSE installed. Many other cities in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the country have enacted similar ordinances requiring varying degrees of EV-ready/EVSE installations for new construction.

NEMA continues to monitor the expansion of EV charging requirements in the codes. We work with our industry partners to help facilitate the passage of these codes that help to meet the charging needs of the ever-expanding fleet of EVs on our roads. ei

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