Electric vehicle parking code amendments discussed by Olympia Planning Commission


The Olympia Planning Commission discussed the eventual code amendments of parking spaces for new developments to accommodate electric vehicle (EV)-readiness.

At a commission meeting held Monday, November 7, Olympia Climate Program manager Dr. Pamela Braff briefed the commissioners on the EV-ready parking standards for new constructions and renovated parking areas to include EV charging stations in the future.

She identified different EV charging levels for EV readiness:

  • AC Level 1 – the slowest charging, does not require specialized equipment. One hour of charging time will give a vehicle two to five miles of driving range.
  • AC Level 2 – requires additional charging equipment such as 240-volt outlet equipment, but can give the vehicle 10-20 miles of range per hour of charging
  • DC Fast Charge – electrical source from a public station with 208 or 480V. A 20-minute charging will give a vehicle 60-80 miles of driving range.

"The challenge here is that it requires specialized, highly charging equipment. It is not compatible across all electric vehicles, and these charges are pretty expensive to install," Braff said of DC fast charging.

"But when we are talking about EV-readiness, we are talking about Level 2 charging," Braff added.

A couple of years ago, Braff said, King County had an in-depth review of the costs and policies around EV charging.

EV parking spaces come in two types:

  • EV Capable parking – provides conduit electrical panel load capacity to support the future installation of EV charging equipment. It does not require any wiring: only electrical capacity.
  • EV Ready –runs wiring through the conduit to an outlet or a junction box to allow for the future installation of EV charging equipment.

"The code around this will typically specify the minimum amperage and voltage necessary to support the Level 2 charger. EV ready does not require [an] EV charger, but it could easily be able to plug the charger into this in the future," Braff noted.

  • The estimated cost per space in EV being ready for multifamily and commercial development is about $1300 to $1400, while the estimated cost to install a minimum Level 2 EV charging station can cost from about $1500 for a single-port multifamily charger to about $3000 per port for a 'smart' charger.

According to Braff, the cost is low for EV ready for single-family, duplex-type development, typically about $150 to $375 per space.

Statewide requirement

Joyce Phillips, a senior planner with the Olympia Community Planning and Development department, said the 2021 Washington State building code will take effect in July 2023. It will require minimum EV charging, EV ready and EV capable parking spaces in new development.

"While [Olympia] codes allow [for] EV charging, we are silent on how much needs to be required. We don't have any standards around the number of spaces dedicated for EV parking or any EV readiness requirements," Phillips noted.

In June, the Land Use and Environment Committee directed staff to develop a draft code for EV-ready parking.

Parking code amendments

Phillips said the Planning staff is proposing some amendments to the parking code that will require a more significant percentage than what would be required under the building codes for EV-ready parking:

  • For single-family units, Olympia would require one EV-ready parking space per residence.
  • For multifamily, Olympia looks at 10% of the total spaces have the charging stations installed, and the rest of the parking spaces – or 90% - are EV-ready.
  • For non-residential uses, Olympia would require 10% of total spaces across the board.

"This would get us to the best practice of having 100% of new single-family residences have an EV-ready parking space," Phillips said.

Phillips said they are having focus group meetings starting in November. They will talk to people involved with commercial and residential buildings and those engaged in engineering, building codes, and single-family builders.

"We hope to take all of the feedback and the guidance and direction we have received from the Land Use and Environment Committee to come up with a public hearing draft that will be available for folks to review in late January or early February," Phillips said.

Their target date for a public hearing is in March and the possible adoption of parking code amendments on June 2023.



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  • Miller19

    This just needlessly drives up the cost to build anything.

    Thursday, November 10, 2022 Report this