Charging Location Scenarios

Residential Garage

When installing an EVSE in a home, many factors are to be considered. These factors include where to park, where the inlet for the charger located on the vehicle is, and how long is the charging cord going to be. Safety should also be a consideration. Tripping hazards should be minimal and the location of the EVSE should be near the AC power supply so the materials cost would be minimal as well. Figure 12 describes the process from start to finish on the installation of an EVSE in a residential garage/car port (16).

Figure 12

Apartment Complex

An apartment complex has more to consider when installing an EVSE compared to that of a residential garage/car port. The reason for these considerations is because the landlord of the complex is involved in all installation scenarios. A location for the EVSE close to the dwelling of the vehicle owner would be desired, but may not be in the best interests of the complex owner. Factors that contribute to the landlords decision on where to place the EVSE are vandalism and lighting concerns, payment methods for the use of electricity, drainage and flood requirements, and discussion with the utility company on where to place the EVSE will have to take place (16).

Figure 13

 Other concerns include who is the owner of the EVSE. If the vehicle owner was to move to another complex, would the EVSE installation raceway and panel upgrade be retained at the location that it was installed at. The ownership of the EVSE needs to be stated clearly, because if the vehicle owner takes the EVSE, then site restoration may need to take place. Installation at the front of the vehicle may be the only choice unless there is an adjacent wall that can be utilized. If located at the front of the parking stall, the EVSE should be located on the vehicle side of any walkway to minimize the cord becoming a tripping hazard (16). Figure 13 above describes the process from start to finish on the installation of an EVSE in an apartment complex.

Commercial Facility

Issues to be considered for a commercial charging facility are similar to an apartment complex. Some concerns would include the ownership of the EVSE, vandalism issues, payment considerations for use, and maintenance to the facility. Also, installation in a public area typically consists of installing new dedicated branch circuits from the central distribution panel to a Level II or DC fast charger receptacle. The proximity of the electrical service is important when considering the parking locations. The length of the circuit run will have a direct impact on the cost of installation. Ownership of the EVSE may not be clear, for instance a business owner may want to have EVSEs installed at their place of business but they may not be the owner of the parking lot itself and there for cannot legally make improvements to the property. An EVSE may be rented or leased equipment.  Before installation, it is strongly suggested to identify all entities that have legal rights to the property and to the equipment that is going to be installed (16).  Actual installation of the EVSE is similar to the apartment complex. Figure 14 below describes the process from start to finish on the installation of an EVSE in a commercial charging facility.

Figure 14 

Public Charging Requirements

            Since the EV batteries and charging stations require proper ventilation, the EVSE should appropriately have appropriate warning signage against use without proper ventilation. It is highly suggested, but not enforced to post signs at charging stations for electric vehicle parking only. This will help the stations from becoming congested with vehicles that have no use for EVSE and maximize the accessibility for EVs. These signs are recommended to be green in color as studies have shown parking signs in blue may be mistaken for handicap accessibility (16). The following signs shown in Figure 15 are good examples of signs that should be placed at the access point of the EVSE.  

  Figure 15

            Lighting is vital to allow the operator to properly read any related signs, instructions, or controls and can aid in the potential of any potential tripping accidents that may occur from the charging cord. For commercial use, lighting is essential so the driver can easily find the charging station. This is also the main reason for shelter to be placed around the EVSE. For equipment that is rated for outdoor use, shelter is not required but does offer extra safety and convenience for areas that receive excessive precipitation (16). This also suggests that any equipment that is for indoor use only, would need the proper shelter such as a garage or carport.

             To help aid the use of EVSE by persons with disabilities, codes have been added to the National Electric Code for EVSE van municipalities to help aid the use of EVSE by persons with disabilities. It is crucial that the EV Coupler is accessible and that any operator can maneuver around their vehicle with the EV Coupler. The EV Coupler is required to be set at a height within the range 2 to 4 feet above the parking surface. The parking space must 9 ft wide and 18 ft long and include an access aisle on the passenger side of 5 ft. The access aisle should be extended to 8 ft for van accessible spaces. The parking bays designed for EVSE and accessibility should be located closest to the accessible entrance and be located on level ground (16). For every 25 EVSE parking bays in a given lot, one must be handicap accessible and for every 10 accessible EVSE parking bays, one must be van accessible with a minimum of one. Although the EVSE parking bays are solely for EV’s, a person with disabilities may park there if no other spots are available. The dimensions for an accessible parking bay are shown in Figure 16.

Figure 16

            Although the Nissan LEAF contains a lithium-ion battery and does not require ventilation, lead acid and zinc air batteries can emit hydrogen gas during charging. If enough hydrogen gas is emitted in an enclosed area with inadequate ventilation, the air can become combustible. See Appendix A for codes and standards. Also, if appropriate lighting is not implemented, the operator could potentially trip on the charging cord especially in tight areas such as personal garages. 

            The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44 Emergency Management and Assistance, Part 60 Criteria for Land Management and Use states:

If a proposed building site is in a flood-prone area, all new construction and substantial improvements shall (i) be designed (or modified) and adequately anchored to prevent flotation, collapse, or lateral movement of the structure resulting from hydrodynamic and hydrostatic loads, including the effects of buoyancy, (ii) be constructed with materials resistant to flood damage, (iii) be constructed by methods and practices that minimize flood damages, and (iv) be constructed with electrical heating, ventilation, plumbing, and air conditioning equipment and other service facilities that are designed and/or located so as to prevent water from.

This code, in concern to the EVI, states that any EVSE that is placed in a flood zone must be protected to minimize the damage that could be caused from water entering any EVSE components. The National Flood Insurance Program requires the chargers to be located above the Design Flood Elevation. If the charger is placed below the Design Flood Elevation then it must be protected. The chargers can be in a risen structure such as upper levels of a parking garage (16). EVSE can be designed such the crucial components are protected in the case of a flood. In areas where barriers or trenches can be constructed, these methods should be employed to deter any flood waters from coming into contact with any electrical equipment.

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