Board of Directors Member, EV Society
Whether you’re an individual considering an electric vehicle for your next car or a commercial property owner looking to make a sustainability statement outside of your business, an electric vehicle (EV) charging station decision requires some careful planning.
For individual consumers, some of the key questions to consider are the battery pack size of the EV, available room in the electrical panel, and, if you’re a condominium dweller, whether your board will even consider such an electrical project. It’s also important to note that the longer the conduit run from the electrical panel to your intended parking space, the more it will cost to install the station.
Slow charging versus fast charging
There are three basic levels of EV charging hardware: AC 120V (level 1 — the slowest), AC 240V (level 2), and DC 400V or higher (level 3 — the fastest). Picking the right level of EV charging station is important. Installing a high-speed DC 400V charging station at an office building where staff/tenants park for 8 to 12 hours a day is likely above what would be required, while an AC 240V EV charger at a quick-serve restaurant where the average length of stay is only 20 to 30 minutes may be too slow.
Regardless of the hardware type, charging stations must include proper signage and surface markings. They are to indicate that the space is for an EV to be parked for charging only, and not for vehicles to park for extended periods.
The future of EV charging laws
Parking spaces clearly marked “for EV charging only” are less likely to be blocked. Talk to an EV driver and they’ll tell you about charging etiquette rules that are too often not adhered to, which results in an urgently-needed change in public charging bylaws.
In the Ontario Legislature, Bill 123, the Reserved Parking for Electric Vehicle Charging Act, has been proposed and supported by the EV community. Bill 123 amends the Highway Traffic Act regarding electric vehicle charging stations and would place a fine on drivers who are parked in a designated EV charging spot and not actively charging their vehicle.
The Electric Vehicle Society is a non-profit electric vehicle owners’ advocacy group that has weighed in on Bill 123 to help guide the legislation and reduce problems with cars parking in EV charging spaces. The Bill will impose a fine of $125 if passed.
If you decide that it’s time to go electric with your next car, be sure to do your homework and consider attending an electric vehicle owners’ group chapter meeting like the EV Society, where you’ll find a wealth of EV knowledge and charging station-related expertise.