ADA electric vehicle charging stations in California

ev_chargingCalifornia’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program, first enacted in 1990, requires auto companies to produce a certain percentage of zero emission vehicles for sale in California, such as hydrogen fuel cell, battery electric and hybrid vehicles.

In March 2012, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order directing state government to help significantly expand the market for ZEVs in California.  Executive Order B-16-2012 establishes a target of 1.5 million ZEVs in California by 2025.  As a result, the market for ZEVs over the years has expanded and with that, so has the availability of public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at shopping centers, parking lots and garages of companies and municipalities.  California currently leads the states’ list with the highest number of EV charging stations in the country.

With this upsurge in availability, an obvious question arises for commercial property owners and businesses…  do the EV charging stations at or near my business need to be made accessible to disabled patrons?  And if so, what are the specific requirements.

Though California Building Code and Federal accessibility standards require that public accommodations and services be made accessible to persons with disabilities, there are currently no specific state codes regulating accessibility for EV charging stations.   The Governor’s Office and the Division of State Architect’s have issued accessibility ‘guidelines’ and ‘best practices’ for EV charging stations under the DSA’s regulatory jurisdiction and there are some local city jurisdictions that currently have accessibility requirements for these units.

It certainly seems that accessibility requirements for EV charging stations will eventually become regulation within California Building Code (CBC) Chapter 11B, requiring all public facilities to comply.  With that said, here are some elements to consider for increasing accessibility at existing and future EV charging stations and preparing for future accessibility code requirements, taking into account current guidelines and building codes we are already familiar with:

  1. Provide at least one parking space at an EV charging station that is accessible.
  2. The accessible EV parking space should not be less than 9 foot wide and 18 feet deep to accommodate the vehicle.  The space should also include an 8-foot wide access aisle that extends the full depth of the parking space and should be located on the passenger side of the vehicle for van access.  Additional accessible EV charging stations may provide 5-foot wide access aisles.
  3. The Accessible EV charging station and its access aisle need not be striped or provided with signage as required for an accessible parking space, unless an EV charging unit is installed at an existing accessible parking space, then signage shall remain in conformance with CBC requirements.  An informational sign may be posted that states “Parking for EV Charging Only; This Space Designed for Disabled Access; Use Last.”  This sign should be omitted when an EV Charging station is placed in conjunction with an existing accessible parking space.
  4.  Operable parts of accessible charging equipment and card readers should meet all applicable reach ranges, operating force and access provisions of CBC for a side or forward approach from a 30 by 48 inch wheel chair space.  A minimum 36” wide clear path should be provided to access charging equipment.
  5. An accessible path of travel should be provided to onsite facilities and services from an accessible EV charging station.  For new construction, DSA guidelines recommend that the accessible charging station be located within 200 feet of a major facility or a major path of travel.  For installations at existing sites, the accessible charging station need not be located in close proximity to site services, but should provide a compliant path of travel when such path does not exceed 20% of the cost and installation of EV equipment and charging stations onsite.

Are you a landlord or property manager of an existing retail or office complex considering installing one or more EV charging stations?

Give us a call first.  We will meet with your contractor to identify locations that will not only reduce costs and better serve all customers using these new charging stations.

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