All of the recent predictions, trends and news stories about electric cars can tell you what you might already know: The EV industry is here to stay. As American automotive manufacturers pivot to meet the expected customer demand, all adjacent industries — especially those involved in coordinating EV infrastructure — should take note of how to adapt. Case in point: Construction contractors for new buildings have an incredible opportunity to implement updated EV-ready building codes with regard to charging. Read on to learn more about why new construction should add EV capability, new EV building codes, and what is required.
Why Add EV Charging to New Construction?
There are a few key reasons why contractors should opt to build with EV charging in mind. From cost savings, to demand and updated codes, consider EV charging an integral part of the construction process. Here are 4 reasons contractors should integrate EV charging into their projects:
1.) Consumers Are Ready, You Should Be Too
The first important consideration for adding EV charging to new construction, whether it be homes, offices or otherwise, is that the U.S. has crossed what is considered an important threshold for widespread EV adoption. This means the switch to electric will not only ramp up, it is already here. Building without considering EV charging will be an outdated process.
2.) Cost Savings
Good business is all about maximizing time and money. One of the biggest reasons contractors should build with EV readiness is to avoid the steep costs associated with retrofitting EV charging to existing infrastructure. Neither owners nor builders want to incur that retrofit upcharge in the future. While of course retrofitting is an opportunity for installers, builders can value-add this business to their initial construction opportunities, which saves considerable money in the long run.
3.) EV Charging Is in the Code
If the above reasons have not convinced you, updated building code should. The International Code Council now states that new homes should be built with EV charging, and certain American cities and states already require some level of EV readiness when building.
4.) Incentives and Other Benefits
There are direct perks to adding EV charging during construction. Builders know all about the red tape and processes to navigate when tackling new construction. By implementing EV-ready practices you can accrue all manner of benefits such as tax incentives, expedited building reviews or permits and more. That’s all not to mention state and other local utility rebate funding that may be available; check out the Department of Transportation to find out more.
A Closer Look at EV-Ready Building Codes
Building code is beginning to dictate that electric cars must be considered when constructing homes and other buildings; accordingly, there are some distinctions made between the levels of readiness that a building has. Below are the three code levels of EV readiness for buildings and what they indicate.
The designation of EV-capable for buildings means that there is an electrical panel with enough capacity, a dedicated circuit and a direct, continuous way for power to reach a specific parking spot. Basically, an EV-capable building is able to add a charging station at a parking spot.
This code is pretty much what it sounds like: a 240-volt outlet (the same as a typical clothes dryer outlet) has a direct line of capable power running to it. EVSE-ready means that a vehicle could be plugged in directly to charge.
The final EV-related building code is EVSE-installed. This means that there are level 2 chargers with enough capacity installed at the building site. The number of recommended or required chargers coordinates with the building size and type.
Require EV Readiness Before Demand Does
No business wants to be playing catch-up. The reason for these preemptive codes is the fact that beyond range anxiety, charge anxiety is becoming more and more pressing for drivers. Charge anxiety is less about the vehicle’s capability and more about the charging infrastructure, especially in everyday situations like at home. Builders can recognize these trends and apply EV-ready building codes with a great opportunity to help bolster the future of the automotive industry.
Is Your Building Ready?
This guide through EV-ready buildings aimed to show how contractors can benefit from updated codes and the growth of the EV industry to bring EV charging to new construction. Through the variety of EV-ready building codes (EV-capable, EVSE-ready outlet and EVSE-installed), builders can prepare for the immediate and long-term future by adding to the rapidly growing EV charging infrastructure. Because of the cost savings and other benefits associated with EV charging for new construction rather than retrofitting, the choice is clear for builders and other contractors: Add EV charging stations to your new buildings right away!