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A Complete EV Charging Infrastructure

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As the demand for electric vehicles (EVs) continues to increase, so does the demand for installation of more EV charging stations. Whether you’re a contractor, consultant, specifier, or project engineer, thoughtful planning is key.  There are several factors you must consider, including the electrical layout and infrastructure, rebates/incentives, customer attraction, and environmental impact.  This playbook will cover key infrastructure considerations. 

Identifying the Right Charging Station

When planning an EV charging installation, the first step will be identifying the appropriate charging solutions.  First, consider the application.  Is it residential?  Or is it commercial/public?  

EV Plug-In Charger - Complete EV Infrastructure

If it is residential, consider whether the installation is for a homeowner, a multi-dwelling unit (MDU), or a condominium complex, and understand the customer’s requirements: do they need a basic charging station, or a smart one? Residential smart charging stations offer advanced features, such as:

  • Scheduling charging sessions during off-peak hours to save on electricity costs
  • Remote start/stop capabilities
  • Integration with home automation systems
  • Enhanced user experience

If it is a commercial or public application, consider the location (e.g., retail building, office complex, healthcare facility, parking garage, etc.) and assess the customer’s needs: do they need a basic charging station, or a smart one?  Smart stations for commercial or public applications offer different features than residential smart stations, including:

  • Revenue generation (e.g., pay-per-use model)
  • Remote access control
  • Pricing customization
  • Real-time status monitoring
  • Usage reports for management
EV Charger in Parking Garage

Outlining the Infrastructure

Once you’ve identified the charging station, you can identify the supporting infrastructure, including…

EV Pedestals - Complete EV Infrastructure

Mounting Options

  • Will the stations be wall-mounted?  Or do you require pedestals?
  • Do you need a wall hook to hold charging cables neatly?  

Surrounding Electrical Infrastructure

  • Surge protection devices to safeguard against voltage spikes
  • Disconnect switches for emergency shutdown
  • Meters for accurate usage tracking
  • Load centers to manage power distribution
Surge Protection - Complete EV Infrastructure

Site Assessment and Planning the Layout

Once you have an understanding as to what will be in the electrical infrastructure, a site assessment is required.  This involves a complete audit of the electrical system, including…

  • Load Calculations
    • Calculate the expected electrical load based on the number of charging stations and their power requirements, and ensure that the existing electrical system can handle the additional load
  • Site Preparation/Groundwork
    • Boring holes for cable routing
    • Trenching for underground cables
    • Concrete pouring for mounting pedestals or foundations
    • Address any specific site challenges (e.g., limited space, existing structures)
  • Identify Key Factors
  • Number of Stations/Parking Spots Needed
  • Distances to Electrical Service
  • External Cabinet Requirement
  • Cooling System (Determine whether the station uses liquid coolant or air coolant – air-cooled stations may require a larger perimeter due to ventilation needs)
  • Anti-Vandalism Measures
    • Install adequate lighting and surveillance cameras
    • Choose secure locations to prevent damage or theft
  • Future-Proofing
    • Plan for scalability by leaving room for additional stations
    • Consider EV-readiness for other parking spots

Consider the Codes

Additionally, it is important you consider the electrical codes.  A major code to consider is the NFPA 70 National Electrical Code (NEC), Article 625: Electric Vehicle Power Transfer System.

“625.1 Scope. This article covers the electrical conductors and equipment connecting an electric vehicle to premises wiring for the purposes of charging, power export, or bidirectional current flow.”

Examples Related to EV Charging:

Disconnecting Means. For electric vehicle supply equipment rated more than 60 amperes or more than 150 volts to ground, the disconnecting means shall be provided and installed in a readily accessible location. The disconnecting means shall be capable of being locked in the open position. The provision for locking or adding a lock to the disconnecting means shall be installed on or at the switch or circuit breaker used as the disconnecting means and shall remain in place with or without the lock installed. Portable means for adding a lock to the switch or circuit breaker shall not be permitted.

Examples Related to EV Charging:

Overcurrent Protection. Overcurrent protection for feeders and branch circuits supplying electric vehicle supply equipment shall be sized for continuous duty and shall have a rating of not less than 125 percent of the maximum load of the electric vehicle supply equipment. Where noncontinuous loads are supplied from the same feeder or branch circuit, the overcurrent device shall have a rating of not less than the sum of the noncontinuous loads plus 125 percent of the continuous loads.

Not ready for EV yet? Make the space EV-Ready

EV-Ready building codes establish EV infrastructure requirements (i.e. electrical capacity, pre-wiring, etc.) to make possible the future installation of EV charging stations

  • Studies have shown that EV-ready charging infrastructure is significantly less expensive to install during new construction than it is for a building retrofit
  • Many local and state governments are beginning to adopt EV-Ready building codes, including California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Utah, and Washington
EV Ready Codes - Complete EV Infrastructure

There are different types of EV-Ready Building Codes:

  • EV-Capable
    • Install electrical panel capacity with a dedicated branch circuit and a continuous raceway from the panel to the future EV parking spot; makes the infrastructure capable of adding EV Charging
  • EV-READY Outlet
    • Install electrical panel capacity and raceway with conduit to terminate in a junction box or 240-volt charging outlet; makes the infrastructure ready for EV Charging
  • EV-Installed
    • Install a minimum number of Level 2 EV charging stations

Note: building codes and requirements may vary state-by-state, including other equipment and circuit protection

Additionally, for locations that have EV-ready or EV-capable building codes and requirements but are not presently ready for EV charging solutions, consider installing pedestal foundations. These bases act as a preventive measure against future infrastructure disruptions.  Contractors simply install the foundation and transition when desired by mounting an EV charging pedestal.

Additional EV Charging Resources

In recognition of the rapidly changing EV marketplace, Leviton has expanded its dedicated EVSE quality and support team, assisting customers with understanding installation requirements, local codes, applications, and rebates and incentives. To learn more, visit Leviton.com/evcharging

How can we help you?

Speak to one of our EV Charging Specialists.