With electric vehicles in high demand, Trevor Tremblay, Technical Advisor at Electrical Safety Authority, gives his top safety tips for secure installation.
Gas prices are going up while the cost of electric vehicles are going down. So it should be no surprise that the demand for Licensed Electrical Contractors to install EV charging stations is as high as it’s ever been.
Plus, they’re here for the long run. Researchers predict that by the year 2030, half of the vehicles in Canada will be electric – which means electrical professionals need to be prepared to take on the challenges involved with installing charging stations.
In this episode, Josie Erzetic sits down with Trevor Tremblay, Technical Advisor at Electrical Safety Authority, to hear his advice for LECs on how to safely install EV charging stations from start to finish.
Planning ahead for the project
Licensed Electrical Contractors should be involved with electric car purchases from the very start of the process. The earlier you can begin working with your client, the more time and money-saving advice you can provide to customers.
“One thing Licensed Electrical Contractors should advise their customers is that if they are buying equipment online or getting it from somewhere else, make sure it’s approved for use in Canada,” Tremblay shared. “You’ll save a lot of time and effort in the long run.”
Once you’ve ensured the electrical supply equipment is approved for use, you’ll want to start working with your customer on the placement of the charging station. Finding a safe and secure spot is paramount to that process.
“Some manufacturing instructions you must take into account are, if the manufacturer says ventilation is required, well, you have to install ventilation,” said Tremblay. “If you’re installing it outdoors, just make sure your equipment is rated for the weather. You shouldn’t have a dry type enclosure outside because it will be a waste of money, and will fail pretty quickly.”
Older homes or residences built before 1976 may prove to be the most challenging installation sites. That’s where preventative maintenance takes the forefront.
Tremblay says it’s important to actively check up on homes to make sure nothing’s overheating. That way you can identify weak spots early on and avoid a hazard altogether.
“Most people only maintain their electrical when something doesn’t work. You’ll change your paint, you’ll change your furniture, but you’ll never spend money to actually upgrade your service,” Tremblay revealed. “So in older homes, this can be an accident waiting to happen. Over time things become loose and they could be potentially already heating up and you wouldn’t even know.”
Lastly, installing electrical stations requires a notification of work to ESA — so make sure that is a part of your planning early on.
“We currently are doing a bit of a blitz focusing on EV charging systems,” said Tremblay. “So just remember to file for your notification with ESA. These are new and innovative projects and new to some people so we just want to make sure that everything is done correctly and safely.
Handling the heat
During installation, one important question you should keep in mind is can the electrical service panel handle it?
“The most typical hazards we see is people installing the EVSE on existing panels that don’t have the capacity to add the electrical vehicle supply equipment,” said Tremblay. “This could be potentially a cause for an electrical fire. You don’t want to overload these services.”
In order to avoid these hazards, LEC’s should keep in mind that electrical chargers actually run for long periods of time, and will, most likely, be the largest load in a customer’s house.
“You really want to make sure that your electrical system is adequate in size and make sure the proper maintenance is done and the torquing and all that.”