Electric Vehicle Building Code Contractor Guide

30 Jan 2023 10 mins to read
As a contractor, you may already be aware that many cities and states have electric vehicle (EV) building codes. But do you know how much money building electric vehicles can save over time and how demand for their services can grow?
Electric Vehicle Building Code Contractor Guide
Summary:This note explores how electricity-ready building codes can help drive the transition to electric vehicles, saving money while stimulating new business.

Accelerated development of electric vehicles

There are currently more than 5.6 million electric vehicles on the world's roads, with more than 500 zero emission (ZEV) models available. By 2025, between 20% and 30% of all vehicles sold in the US, Europe and China are expected to be equipped with electric motors. Electrical engineers and contractors like you should be ready to place these machines in parking lots and garages of all types of facilities now. Being unprepared now can cost you millions in the future and jeopardize customer relationships through unexpected expenses.

As you know, building codes are a set of rules and regulations that govern the construction standards for residential and commercial buildings. Building codes for electric vehicles may vary by region, but in general, new buildings should have a certain percentage of parking spaces, and electric vehicle charging can be installed later to support the resilience of not only electric vehicle drivers, but also business and community goals.

EV readiness requirements vary

While EV-ready building codes may encourage EV adoption, this does not necessarily mean that every project-related parking space must be equipped with an EV charging station. Instead, EV readiness codes may simply require that the building's electrical facilities and other infrastructure be able to accommodate chargers when demand increases EV readiness requirements may include:

  • Installation of electric vehicle charging stations in a certain percentage of parking spaces;
  • Percentage of parking spaces in commercial and multi-family buildings that have charging stations;
  • Dedicated electrical circuits with enough power for each charging point;
  • Laying pipelines and cables required to power electric vehicles;

In 2021, the International Council on Codes launched a new framework to help communities develop building code guidelines to help them meet their carbon emissions targets. For example, the US Department of Energy is using this system to develop more specific recommendations and help develop more harmonized building codes that will allow electric vehicles to be deployed in more areas. As a rule, for multi-family buildings and commercial real estate, the requirements for paying for electric vehicles are applied as a percentage of the total number of parking spaces. For example, 5% of parking spaces must be suitable for electric vehicles with more than 10 parking spaces.Of course, most drivers want to be charged with electricity where they live, so residential homes need to have better charging capacities. These codes will evolve as demand for electric vehicles grows.

EV readiness could save millions

If buildings are not built with EV charging in mind, owners will have to upgrade the premises with additional electrical capacity and piping to accommodate the necessary EV charging infrastructure. This process can take weeks, cost tens of thousands of dollars, delay charging availability, take time away from other projects, and in some cases jeopardize the ability to ride electric. Of course, until a certain date, the idea of scheduling the charging of electric vehicles during the construction of a new building would not pass by anyone.

But today, preparing buildings for EV charging is of the utmost importance - and even if you're not going to install charging stations immediately, it's much more efficient to do so than to do so in the future. 

EV-ready construction scores LEED points

LEED certification is an important goal for many buildings. Plug-in electric vehicles and electric vehicle design can help earn LEED certification points and set buildings apart from the competition. To earn LEED points, electric vehicle charging points must have two or more levels, be connected to the grid, maintain demand or charge while in use, and must be compatible with universal electric vehicles.

In addition to the LEED points earned on the EVs themselves, buildings can earn points if more than 10% of residents use alternative transportation such as EVs. Having more charging stations encourages more people to ride electric and earn more LEED points; LEED certification can also provide attractive building incentives such as accelerated testing, building density and height bonuses, tax credits and grants.

If you are a contractor operating in a state with electric vehicle building codes, you must already meet these requirements. If you are in another state, you need to look into the infrastructure and installation of electric vehicles now, as the code is probably only at the gate.

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Add comment

Are there any videos or tutorials that go along with this guide? I learn better that way.
As someone who's never built a car before, this guide is pretty intimidating. Any tips for beginners?
Roberto Urdiano5/29/2023, 7:35:15 AM
Electric vehicles are the future, so it makes sense that there are specific guidelines for building them.
sandra barrack5/28/2023, 2:45:21 PM
Is it just me or does the building code for electric vehicles seem way stricter than for regular cars?
Do you think building electric vehicles will become more mainstream now that there's a guide to follow?
It's nice to see that there are regulations in place to ensure electric vehicles are built safely and efficiently.
Darron Woiwode5/24/2023, 2:22:40 PM
I wonder if this guide covers all types of electric vehicles, or just cars?
How long has this guide been available? I'm surprised I hadn't heard of it until now.
Can anybody tell me where I can find this electric vehicle building code contractor guide?
Can this guide be used for converting a regular gas-powered car to an electric one?
I had no idea building an electric vehicle required so much attention to detail. Kudos to anyone who's attempted it!
As someone who doesn't know much about cars, this guide is a real lifesaver when it comes to building my electric vehicle.
This guide is very detailed, but I'm wondering if there are any more beginner-friendly versions available?
Blaine Rameres5/14/2023, 2:31:51 PM
Is this guide only available in certain states, or can anyone access it?
Is the process for building an electric vehicle from scratch different than building one from a kit?

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Energy5 EV Charging solutions comprise a full range of end-to-end turnkey services for businesses. From permitting to incentive acquisition to installation, management software, and down-the-road maintenance, Energy5 streamlines the whole process every step of the way.
300 W Somerdale Rd, Suite 5, Voorhees Township, NJ 08043
Email address
Phone number
(856) 412-4645