2022 Electric Vehicle Building Codes

Background - The 2021 IECC

A few months ago, the voting members of the International Code Council (ICC), delivered a preliminary version of the 2021 IECC. This substantial update to code mandates measures to reduce energy usage and the emission of greenhouse gasses. Furthermore, the ICC is expected to make additional recommendations over time. In the coming weeks and months, ICC will finalize and publish the 2022 IECC, which will be ready for states and local governments in 2023.

The impact of these changes will be far-reaching. State and local governments increasingly rely on building energy codes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pave the way for the coming transition to EVs. The EV-ready provisions in the 2021 IECC, when finalized, will offer officials across the country a ready-made, nationally-consistent approach to ensuring new buildings are ready for vehicle charging – and in turn reducing carbon emissions. 

Below, a map of commercial energy code adoption is displayed. Some states have adopted codes similar to or exceeding those defined in the most recent version of the IECC (2018), while other states conform to older versions of the IECC.

Some jurisdictions have even more stringent requirements for access to EV charging. Denver, Oakland, Vancouver and others all require that 100% of parking spaces in MUDs be EV-Capable [Link]. 

The 2021 IECC - EV Charging Requirements (New Development)

It is important that all new development be done with the 2021 IECC standards in mind. In particular, the 2021 IECC requires that:

  • All new homes provide at least one EV Ready* parking space.
  • All new commercial properties provide at least 20% EV Ready parking spaces.
  • All new multi-family housing properties provide at least 20% EV Ready parking spaces.

*For the definition of EV Ready, see The 2021 IECC - Glossary

The Costs of Meeting Code

The table below shows the average cost of installing the high-voltage circuitry needed for EV charging equipment (per parking spot), both during and after construction

During Construction After Construction
Multi-Family Housing During Construction$1,410 After Construction$4,101
Commercial Buildings During Construction$1,197 After Construction$3,232

Only Build Once - Provide the Right Charging Solution:

Providing Level 2 charging is superior to providing Level 1 charging. Level 1 (120 volt / 20 amp) chargers only provide 3-5 miles of range per hour of charge time, while Level 2 (240 volt / 40 amp) chargers provide 25-30 miles of range per hour of charge time. That being said, Level 1 chargers are often sufficient for home use - 51% of EV “early adopters” use Level 1 charging to recharge their vehicles at home overnight. 

For context, a Level 1 charging station takes 64 hours to fully recharge a Model S, while a Level 2 charging station takes 8 hours. At first glance, this is suboptimal - however, the reality is that 98% of drivers only need to charge for a few hours each night. Level 2 charging is only truly needed for people who spend the entire day driving.

As a hybrid solution which balances relatively high charging speeds with low installation costs, we recommend Orange’s NEMA Outlet. Installation costs for Orange Outlet NEMA 620 are only $30-40 above those for a standard NEMA 520 Level 1 charger. However, our Outlets provide 10-18 miles of range per hour of charge time. Orange’s Outlets offer other advantages:

  • Lower electricity costs for drivers -  Outlets can be scheduled by drivers through Orange’s mobile app to only charge when costs are low.
  • Easy management of costs - property managers are automatically reimbursed for all electricity consumed by drivers.

The final option is to install expensive DC fast charging. However, this is only truly valuable for road trips and people who spend the entire day driving. Over time, as battery prices continue to fall, EV battery capacity will increase, making charging speed a lower priority. 

Orange is not only apart of many groups supporting EV charging for all new construction but believe our solutions the ideal path forward. 240V 20 amps is more than enough power to charge any electric vehicle drivers commute while significantly reducing upfront install and ongoing cost.

Local Building Code Ordinances