EV School Buses: What to Consider During Installation

by | Sep 13, 2022 | 0 comments |

You know which electric vehicle models are right for your fleet. Route logistics are finalized, along with the charging infrastructure plans. Your district is ready to make the transition to electric school buses, but you have one more consideration. You need to know the EV charger installation requirements. It means knowing the national installation codes.

Electric Charger Installation Requirements

Choosing an EV charger depends on the type of electric vehicle. For example, a Level 1 charger is usually more than enough to keep light-duty passenger EVs on the road. These chargers run off of standard 120V outlets. However, heavy-duty EVs require more power and it typically applies to school buses. To keep the fleet powered, you will want to consider installing Level 2 chargers that require 208 or 240V of power, or Level 3 fast chargers that require 3-phase 480V. Hardwiring the powerful chargers is standard, and there are often codes to follow to ensure safe installation and reliable performance.

What Are the Electric Car Outlet Requirements

The National Electric Code (NEC) Section 625 covers electric car charging requirements. It includes requiring separate, dedicated circuits for each charging unit. Each circuit also needs a dedicated breaker. The breaker also needs to protect 125% of the maximum load in amps.

For example, you will need a 20 amp breaker for a Level 1 16 amp charger designed to supply 1.9 kilowatts. The size of the circuit breaker increases with Level 2 chargers since these units require more power.

Section 625 also covers the length and gauge of the conductors, along with specifying it cannot back-feed into the grid.

Along with the amperage rating, the code also has requirements for the type of circuit breakers used with the chargers. Level 1 chargers will use single-pole breakers, while Level 2 model requirements include using double-pole circuit breakers.

Did you know this is the last article in our EV School Bus series? In this series we take a deep dive into everything school districts need to know before and during purchasing and installing EV chargers for their school buses. Click here to read the full series.

Electric Vehicle Charging Requirements for Installation

Section 625 has specific requirements for laying out the conduit and wiring necessary for supplying power to the EV chargers. Some of the key aspects to consider include,

  • Location of the service panel/s
  • Where to place the distribution transformer
  • Location of the parking spots

Industry experts recommend placing the EV chargers in parking spaces that minimize the length of the wiring and conduit. It reduces installation costs. Some locations may require an additional service panel to supply the necessary power. Try to install the panel close to the existing transformer. It’s also a good idea to consider future electrical needs during installation. It will save time and money in the long run.

Don’t forget to check with your electrical provider before starting the installation process. A new service line or transformer may be necessary to support your larger power load.

How Utility Providers are Helping with EV Charger Installation

Following the EV charger installation requirements is often challenging for school districts. However, utility providers are introducing programs that simplify the process. Some electric companies own and manage the transformer and other components, relieving some of the expense for the school. Other programs allow the utility provider to install and manage everything from the chargers to the circuit panel.

Whether you have questions about the EV charging requirements or want to learn more about programs offered by utility providers, contact Apogee Charging Solutions today to find out how we can help! Call 484-816-2076, emailing [email protected], or schedule a call that fits your needs by clicking the button below.


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