Electric Vehicle Charging Station Requirements in California

The introduction of electric vehicles has changed the world of commuting for the better. With electrical vehicles generally having a smaller carbon footprint, countries are benefiting from reduced harmful emissions.

The electric vehicle industry is growing globally at a remarkable rate. With China being the biggest manufacturer of electric vehicles, millions of electric vehicles are sold each year.  

Market statistics show that in 2021, almost 310,000 electric vehicles were sold in just the USA. The main chunk of these sales come from California.

California has fixed rules and restrictions regarding electric vehicles and their charging stations.

What Are the Electric Vehicle Charging Station Requirements in California?

Electric bikes, scooters, and cars have become extremely popular in California. Hence, the Golden State has strict rules and regulations regarding these electric vehicles.

These requirements and standards are designed to ensure the safety and benefit of the general public. Moreover, these rules ensure people get the exact amount of charging they pay for.

Electric Cars Charging Station Requirements in California
Electric Cars Charging Station Requirements in California

Required Permits and Documentation for Building an EV Charging Station

Before starting the installation, people need to apply for and seek certain building permits.

These include:

  • An electrical power permit for a legal connection;
  • A grading permit if the electric vehicle power station is impacting the area’s total parking space;
  • Many forms are required to install an electric vehicle charging station in a parking lot. These forms should contain a detailed electrical plan, line diagrams and load calculations;

These permits can be submitted online to physically to the respective development services.

Once all these permits are submitted and approved, the developer can move to the next stage. Now they need to look at all the respective building and operating laws.

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California Electric Vehicle Station Requirements

The California electric vehicle station requirements include the following:

  • All the charging stations can only operate after registering for the necessary certifications. These certifications are needed to ensure the station’s safety measures; Moreover, all the necessary certifications must be approved and recognized by a national testing lab; This ensures that no faulty station that could harm a vehicle or people is allowed to operate;
  • The electric vehicle charging station should not be built in a place with no commercial power supply;
  • The electrical vehicle charging station should be built adjacent to an accessible parking space;
  • The Electric vehicle charging station stall should be easily accessible to electric vehicles;
  • All the electric vehicle charging stations should have an easily viewable display screen. This display screen is meant to be used by the users getting their vehicles recharged;
  • The user display screens should clearly and coherently mention the current pricing;
  • The user display screens should clearly and coherently mention the type of current (AC/DC). Moreover, it should also mention the voltage reading and maximum power;
  • The user display screens should clearly and coherently mention the electricity quantity being supplied to the vehicle;
  • Furthermore, the electric vehicle charging stations should display the temperature reading and limit. The allowed temperature should be in the -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 185 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • The electric vehicle charging stations meters should be tested for accuracy. The Level 2 charging station should have a 1% accuracy. On the other hand, the DC Fast charge should have a 1-3% accuracy;
  • The electric vehicle charging station can be built with certain dimensions. Stations built beyond these permitted dimensions would become illegal.

The table below shows the allows electric vehicle charging station dimensions:

Minimum length of each EV stall18 feet
Minimum width of each EV stall9 feet

The number of needed EV spaces will depend on available parking spaces. The table below demonstrates the set law on this.

Number of parking spacesNumber of required EV spaces
200+6% of the total space

These rules ensure that the stations have a standard to look up to. Moreover, the rules are also designed to enhance customer understanding and satisfaction.

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All these rules apply to all different types of electric vehicle charging space. These spaces include:

1. Electric Vehicle Capable Space

These are the spaces that are well equipped and just need infrastructure for the installation.

2. Electric Vehicle Ready Space

These spaces already have an actual functional charging station. These spaces just need additional things to start operations.

3. Electric Vehicle Installed Space

These spaces essentially need everything to be built and installed to start a charging station.

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Estimated EV Charging Station Installation Costs

The table below shows the EV charging station installation for the three spaces.

Electric Vehicle Charging SpacesAverage Installation CostAverage Unit CostTotal Cost
Electric vehicle capable space$800 USDNone$800 USD
Electric vehicle ready space$1100 USDNone$1100 USD
Electric vehicle installed space$3000 USD$300 USD$6000 USD

The table below shows the EV charging station installation for parking lots.

Required EV station parking lotsElectric vehicle capableElectric vehicle readyElectric vehicle installed
1$800 USD$1100 USD$6000 USD
4$3200 USD$4400 USD$24000 USD
6$4800 USD$6600 USD$36000 USD
8$6500 USD$8800 USD$48000 USD

Stations Not Limited to California Electric Vehicle Station Requirement

Certain electric vehicle charging stations are not required to follow these set requirements. To be exempted, the station must have the following qualities:

  • The station must be for private use only, and should not be open for public use. These stations include all the at-home charging stations that come with the electric vehicles;
  • The stations that are built and run by public entities and public utilities;
  • The stations that are designed and built to produce wholesale electricity;
  • The stations that are providing free electricity to the consumer.

Just like any government rules, these electric vehicles charging station requirements have a set timeline. Most Level-2 stations and DC stations have till the end of 2022 to follow all the rules.

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California's Electric Vehicle Charging Station Requirements
California’s Electric Vehicle Charging Station Requirements

What Are the Recent Additions to the Existing Electric Vehicle Charging Laws in California?

California revises its electric vehicle station building requirements and code every three years. The latest requirements are being updated in 2022. 

This year, one major change Californias charging law requirements involves building stations in non-residential areas. At least, one charging station needs to be built in these areas.

The California Building Code (CBSC) has included certain requirements in its recent 2021 proposal. These new added standard laws or requirements include:

  • The mandatory building of a Level 2 electric vehicle charging station to cover 5% of the parking space. This parking space could be twenty-six spaces or more.

This mandatory building law is for non-residential areas.

  • The installation of one DC Fast Charging Station instead of building five Level 2 stations. DC Fast Charging station must be of at least 50kW.
  • The increase of electric vehicle charging station infrastructures from 10% to 20% of the total parking space.

These new additions to the existing laws are to grow the electric vehicle industry. The total number of electric vehicle charging stations and spaces is to be increased.

It is expected that the electric vehicle charging stations would increase from 10% to 25%.

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What Are the Benefits of the Recent Additions to the Existing Electric Vehicle Charging Laws in California?

The main goal is to make California the first state to have such a system. The rules regulating charging stations would take California to the next level of EV evolution.

It is estimated that the new requirements and laws would benefit the environment greatly. Moreover, the new stations and their laws are expected to impact total costs.

Environmental Impacts of the New Electric Vehicle Charging Laws

The detailed amendment explains how the new charging stations in the non-residential areas would affect the environment.

The major impact is expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The California Air Resource Board (CARB) has been most interested in this law addition.

An annual reduction of almost 400,000 to 520,000 metric tons of carbon emissions is expected. This also includes the extremely harmful greenhouse gasses.

By doing so the emissions that would otherwise be produced by 100,000 car engines annually would be reduced.

With the abundance of EV charging stations, more consumers are expected to switch. Eventually, all this would certainly help improve California’s air quality.

Cost Impacts of the New Electric Vehicle Charging Laws

According to the amendment, the new EV charging station laws positively impact the cost.

According to the cost study, 0.2% to 1% of the total cost of the station would go to development. This means that building such stations is extremely cost-effective.

With more stations available in more areas, the number of electric vehicle buyers are bound to increase. By installing the station during construction, the builders can expect to save a lot of money.

This otherwise is not possible when installing a retrofit station.

On a bigger picture, the benefit of installing electric vehicle charging stations during construction are even greater. It is estimated that the US can save almost 435millionUSD to 900millionUSD.

With the growing interest and benefits of having an electric vehicle, more people are bound to shift. As a result, more people will be using the installed charging stations.

This would allow the developers to break even and cover the costs of installation quite quickly.

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Electric Vehicle Charging Station Requirements for Residential Areas

It is very common for landowners to lease out their extra land. A tenant could lease the land for the installation of an EV charging station.

If such is the case, then in California, specific rules apply. These rules include:

  • The residential area owners are required to write an official letter to the authorities. This letter or application is meant to get official approval for the installation of a charging station; 
  • The written application needs to mention all details regarding installation, usage, and maintenance;
  • The landowner should maintain a 1000,000USD liability insurance;
  • The electric vehicle charging station’s design should comply with all the set rules, limits and conditions;
  • If the landowner leases out the land to a tenant, then the must pay the price of electricity used;
  • The tenant cannot request the landowner to provide any additional parking space. Only the space for the station’s installation is essential to be provided.
Electric Vehicle Charging Station Requirements in California
Electric Vehicle Charging Station Requirements in California

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Electric Vehicle Charging Station Requirements for Commercial Areas

Land owners can often lease out their extra lands for commercial activities. When this happens, the tenant must ensure that the station they built follows certain rules.

In California, the requirements for installing an EV charging station for commercial uses are as follows:

  • The tenant should write and submit an official request to the landlord. Only after the land owner’s approval can the installation begin;
  • The tenant is to remain restricted to the space they are allotted. Any charging station built beyond the approved space would be illegal;
  • The landowner is under no requirement to offer any additional parking space. If the tenant wants that space, they must pay more for it;
  • These laws; however, are not applicable for commercial lands that have less than 50 parking slots;
  • Moreover, commercial areas that already have stations in a 100-parking block radius do not follow these rules.

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Final Thoughts

Electric bikes, scooters, cars, and heavy vehicles have revolutionized the world of transport technology. With far lesser carbon and greenhouse emissions, the electric vehicle industry is rapidly growing.

The state of California has a considerable number of electric vehicle owners. To further grow these numbers and clean the environment, EV charging station laws are made.

These laws and requirements determine where and how an electric vehicle charging station could be installed. Moreover, the design requirements are meant to enhance customer experience, convince, and satisfaction.