Plugging Into the Future

Ensuring Your Electric Car Charging Stations Meet State Requirements


On October 28, 2015, Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order that committed the state of Colorado to sustainable practices, which includes using alternative forms of renewable energy. Colorado continues to strive toward these sustainability goals, announcing the mass production of public electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) units (or charging stations) for electric vehicles.

Charge Ahead, a program created by the Colorado Energy Office and the Regional Air Quality Control, provides state funding that will pay up to 80% of the cost for businesses to install charging stations on their properties. This is in addition to offering financial incentives in the form of savings and tax credits.

As the state continues to move away from fossil fuel dependency, we can only imagine that electric vehicles and charging stations will gain even more traction with businesses and homeowners. The Denver area alone has over 150 charging stations and that number is expected to continue to grow rapidly over the next several years as electric cars go from niche to common.

However, there are liability concerns Coloradans need to consider before jumping aboard. For example, what happens if your employee’s vehicle is damaged while parked at the workplace charging station or sustains damage due to disruption in electrical service? Are your district’s charging stations compliant by ADA standards? What sort of policy does your district have in place for charging-station usage when there are several electric vehicles? Do you have best practices on the condition and use of cord-sets?

For your convenience, we have compiled the following recommendations:

If your district is contemplating installing an EVSE, there are a few compliance considerations that you should be aware of. For example, you’ll need to take into account Americans with Disability Act (ADA) regulations for disabled drivers as you design the space for your charging station, which requires a side access aisle that is “60 inches wide to allow space for wheelchair and equipment in and out of space,” a reach range of “48 inches front and side to allow reach to all operable parts from a wheelchair,” and an accessible route width of at least 36 inches.

Charging stations also need to be certified to abide by certain standards set by the National Electrical Code as stipulated in Senate Bill 13-126, “An electric vehicle charging system must be certified by Underwriters Laboratories or an equivalent certification, and must comply with the current version of article 625 of the National Electrical Code.”

Once your district has installed a charging station on its property, you should consider having employees with electric vehicles sign a standard waiver or user agreement underscoring that the employee accepts responsibility for any risks associated with the use of the charging station. It may also be prudent to implement policies regarding charging station administration as well as employee usage.

It’s important to have designated staff responsible for the operation and maintenance of your charging station. When it comes to employee use, there are several recommendations on Alternative Fuels Data Center of the U.S. Department of Energy website.

We urge members to contact the Colorado Energy Office with any questions about regulations, tax-credit incentives, and the You can also review a best practices guide for workplace charging online.benefits of sustainability.

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