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Best Practices for Future-Proofing EV Charging Infrastructure According to the CSA Group

If you live in a condo or apartment complex, you might know how important planning a future proof EV charging infrastructure installation is.

Luckily the CSA Group influences how the electrical work, site selection, accessibility, placement of charging stations, and all other steps and standards are realized, so that you have the security in knowing that your choice in purchasing an electric vehicle is backed by the best practices in charging infrastructure development.

More than this, the CSA Group is currently developing a standard (SPE-343) for Electric Vehicle Energy Management Systems (EVEMS), which will change the industry because it will comprehensively define what needs to be considered when installing charging infrastructure. 

This article will highlight some of the best solutions for future proofing the infrastructure of multi unit residential buildings and more, so that electric vehicle drivers can have a seamless experience when charging up.

Driving (Electric Vehicles) Towards the Need for Future-Proofed Charging Solutions

Electric vehicle (EV) driver satisfaction is high; EVs cost little to maintain and are projected to have long lifetimes, they are easy and enjoyable to drive, and they are key in environment sustainability and carbon reduction. All the things you want in your next vehicle purchase. 

But we really need to improve the user experience when it comes to charging. In many surveys, from J.D. Power to CAA to Pollution Probe, a seamless charging experience is the one pain point for those considering an EV purchase and even sometimes for those who have already purchased an EV. 

The way forward is almost a little boring: standards. When Bluetooth was first developed in the early 90’s, it was nowhere near as complex and useful as it is today. But implementing the right standards has made Bluetooth an essential part of our technologies today.

We are much more advanced in our technology development, so it won’t take us 20 years to get charging right, but it will take standardization to help the experience along.

How to Best Adapt Charging Infrastructure in Condos and Apartment Buildings

Right now charging stations and charging service companies offer products and experiences that are too different and might sometimes even have issues with interoperability. But the CSA Group is trying to change that. 

The CSA Group is founded on the mission to “excel in addressing emerging, complex issues and technologies, [via] Standards Development and Testing, Inspection, & Certification.” (CSA) They are very well suited to establishing criteria for the deployment of charging stations, infrastructure standards, and best practices.

What are some of the most important things to consider?

A unified approach for EV charging infrastructure includes 3 basic goals:

Consistent and uniform site or environment design, which includes: 

  • number of needed chargers per user
  • safe, secure, and practical installation practices
  • fire code compliance
  • signage and accessibility considerations
  • proximity to amenities (if needed)
Futureproof and secure choice of technology, which includes:

  • Electrical Code (CE and NEC) compliance
  • CSA and UL Listed product safety certification
  • Use of a NACS EV coupler or adapter
  • Tamper proof and NEMA 3R options
  • Industrial grade components
  • Reliable hardwired or wireless options with consistent uptime
  • Adequate connectivity (when needed)
  • A functioning energy storage system (when needed)
  • Data security
  • Payment options not limited to flat fees, time-based and subscription models
Adequate planning for scalability, energy management, connectivity, and maintenance of the whole system, which includes:

  • A common understanding of building needs by qualified installation personnel
  • Communication and coordination with utilities
  • Having accurate load calculations on hand, preferably real data and not theoretical
  • An appropriate choice for the payment processing and electricity rates, either through private billing or a management system
  • Fully scalable diagrams and specifications, as well as accessibility considerations
  • Equitable distribution of charging access across users
  • Interoperability between different charging station brands and charging softwares, networks, or connections
  • Installation of transformers, electrical services, conduits, and all other infrastructure, sized for future building and electrification needs
  • A long term maintenance plan and warranty coverage for devices that may only be made operational later
  • Use of an electric vehicle energy management system (EVEMS) to manage power consumption and reduce energy costs.

A Charging System Approach for Success

These 3 goals function in a system, where cutting corners on one could impact the project. An EV charging station project needs to be treated like a project to install an elevator, where engineering for the site, choice of the best technology, and maintenance over time are essential for long term success and user satisfaction.

A unified approach to seamless and reliable EV infrastructure across the country and across domains of residential and commercial charging, will result in consistent site design and operation as well as a straightforward and easy experience for users. The best practices for future-proofing EV charging infrastructure mean avoiding charging station obsoletion and decommissioning and keeping up with the transition to electrification transportation as it evolves.

The CSA Group and RVE: the best standards in electrical infrastructure for EV

Engineering a product at RVE means adhering to the latest standards and specifications of the CSA Group. The CSA Group and RVE take the safety of electricians very seriously and want the most lasting and future-proof products to be installed in residential buildings; we are proud to offer products of the highest quality and thank the CSA Group for establishing standards that make this possible. 

Contact Us

Electrifying buildings for the future

If you would like to know more about RVE’s relationship with standards, codes, and how we help electrify buildings for the future, or if you have a charging station project in need of energy management, contact us to speak with an EV Charging Specialist.

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