Charging Station Installers and Inspectors
Electric vehicle (EV) popularity among consumers is growing as a result of lower EV operating costs and more environmental benefits than gasoline-powered vehicles. Municipalities and businesses are also offering more charging options for EV drivers away from home to meet market demand and increase range and functionality.
NYSERDA's Best Practices Guide and Information for Installers [PDF] summarizes best practices and lessons learned from over 300 EV charging station installations in New York State. The report collates insights from the many electricians that performed these installations and have developed experience in planning, layout, installation, and maintenance of EV charging stations. This resource is a great place to get started understanding how to complete best-in-class charging station installations.
Below are three important concepts for electricians installing charging stations or electrical inspectors ensuring proper charging station installation.
Charging stations are similar to other electrical appliances
Charging Station Options
Understand and evaluate your charging station options. The majority of charging station installations today are AC Level 2 stations that use a 240-volt alternating current (VAC) input and output. Direct current (DC) fast chargers are also available, requiring significantly more hardware and typically running off 480 VAC.
Regulations and Codes
Learn about and comply with regulations and codes [PDF] specific to the charging station. All electrical work must comply with local, state, and national regulations, including codes specific to the charging station. Some of these may vary by jurisdiction based on what version of the building code and electrical code is currently in effect. As such, it is good practice to comply with the most recent version of the codes as long as it does not contradict the local codes in place.
Importance of charging station site design
Site Design Guidelines
As an installer, you can provide valuable guidance to the customer on the safest, most efficient, and lowest cost location for the unit. Stick to site design guidelines [PDF] that identify and diagram key siting and design issues, along with best practices for charging station installation. Examples include anticipating the direction EVs will be parked to make the charging station as user-friendly as possible and minimizing the distance from the electrical panel to the charging station to lower costs for the site owner.
Lessons Learned - Workplaces and Multifamily
Installations at workplaces and multifamily buildings can reduce costs by choosing charging stations with the right power level and designing their site to be able to charge as many cars as possible from the fewest number of installed charging ports. For further guidance, consult strategies and techniques for reducing the charging station costs [PDF].
Lessons Learned - Public Installations
For public installations, you should make station owners aware of industry-accepted and Department of Transportation-authorized signage as outlined in Charging Station Signage Overview [PDF]. This document also describes recommended signage placement for EV drivers to easily locate charging stations and prevent conventional vehicles from occupying charging spaces.
Permitting practices vary by jurisdiction
Adopt charging station permitting best practices [PDF] to streamline and expedite the residential charging station installation process. Because many municipalities are not familiar with charging stations, some may interpret a charging station installation as major electrical work whereas others might classify it as minor electrical work. Classification as major or minor can impact the cost and time to install the charging station.