Ontario, Canada Changes Building Code to Support EVs
Isaac Maw posted on January 08, 2018 |
New rules mandate EVSE charging stations in nearly every new building.

With electric vehicles eating up more and more of the consumer vehicle market share, some analysts have questions about exactly how much power these cars will consume.  EV charging is typically done at home, at work if your workplace is equipped with EV-charging parking stalls, and at destinations such as shopping malls and other public areas that feature charging stations.

However, if the number of electric cars continues to grow, will EV-charging infrastructure be able to support them all? Like it or not, political support for EVs is rising, thanks to the squeaky-clean optics of the tech industry, job creation and environmental factors.

Nissan Leaf at a DC fast charging station. (Image courtesy of flickr user Mariardo)
Nissan Leaf at a DC fast charging station. (Image courtesy of flickr user Mariardo)

There are three EV charging methods, called Level 1, 2 and 3.

1.       Level 1 means plugging into an ordinary wall outlet. In Ontario, standard wall outlets are 110V AC and 15A circuits. This charging is slow: a Nissan Leaf takes about 22h to fully charge on level 1.

2.       Level 2 is called electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). This charges the battery much faster, using the same type of circuit as for a dryer or stove, at 240V AC and 30A. The Nissan Leaf can charge fully overnight on this supply.

3.       Level 3 is often called ‘supercharge’ or ‘rapid charge.’ There is no standard system, as different vehicles’ proprietary batteries often have different capabilities and requirements. It can deliver up to 480V of juice on a DC current, charging most EVs 80 percent in 30 minutes.

New EV-Friendly Parking Stall Building Code

The Canadian province of Ontario is the most populous by a large margin, home to 40 percent of Canadians. The Liberal provincial government recently set in place new changes to the Ontario Building Code, effective January 2018, to support EV charging. According to the code, “not less than 20 percent of the parking spaces in the building must be provided with EVSE.” On top of that, the code specifies that “the remaining spaces must be designed to permit future EVSE installation.”

 Tesla Superchargers in Alberta, Canada. (Image courtesy of Tesla.)
Tesla Superchargers in Alberta, Canada. (Image courtesy of Tesla.)

Ontario Homes Now Required to Support Level 2 Charging

Per the new requirements for detached, semidetached and row homes, each home must be equipped with a minimum 200A panel. This is significant, because prior to these new requirements, most homes had been equipped with the more affordable 100A panel. Homes must also have 27mm conduit leading to 220V, 30A outlet box installed in the garage or driveway.

The changes are quite significant, affecting almost all buildings except apartments. The new requirements also do not apply to parking spaces located outside the building. However, Canadian EV lobbyists continue to push for similar rules for apartments and condominiums.

In anticipation of the new rules, the province saw higher-than-normal numbers of building permit applications in late 2017, as the rules only apply to permits obtained in the new year.

$1000 Rebate for EVSE Installation

In addition to these requirements for new building permits, the Ontario Liberals have also offered an incentive for existing homeowners to retrofit their garages with EVSE. The rebate covers 50 percent of the purchase cost, to a maximum of $500, as well as 50 percent of the installation cost, up to $500 for a total maximum value of $1000 CAD. More information about this Ontario rebate can be found here.

This goes hand in hand with the province’s existing EV purchase rebate, which can put up to $13,000 back in your pocket. That incentive program began in 2010.

Government Support a Good Sign for EV Market

While Ontario, Canada is not the cash-cow jurisdiction a place such as California may be, this support is a good indication of the growing awareness of the benefits and potential of EVs to replace conventional combustion vehicles. Standardization and infrastructure are key hurdles in the development of widespread EV use, and this is a step in the right direction.

For more news on electric cars, check out BMW Anticipates Double-Digit Electric Vehicle Sales Increase in 2018.

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