Meeting the demand for electric vehicles

The new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program first of its kind in Canada
Monday, October 7, 2013
By Andy Cleven

At least 500,000 electric vehicles are forecasted to be on Canadian roads by 2018, according to Canada’s Electric Vehicle Technology Roadmap.

The electrical industry realizes this unprecedented growth will place huge demands on existing electrical infrastructure. Each electric vehicle will require connection to at least one charging station which, by Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) standards, will require the continuous load to be calculated at 100 per cent demand factor. Household electrical services might need upgrading or, alternatively, have equipment installed to provide transfer capability between the dryer and the electric vehicle charging unit. This is no small undertaking.

As a sign of things to come in major metropolitan areas, one only has to look at recent changes in Vancouver. To accommodate electric vehicles in new apartment buildings, condos, townhouses and other buildings with a minimum of three homes, the City of Vancouver has made the following revisions to the its building bylaw:

  • Twenty per cent of parking stalls in every building must include a receptacle for charging cars; and
  • The electrical room must include enough space to install any equipment necessary to provide charging for all residents in the future.

The commercial fleet market for electric vehicles is also expected to expand across Canada, with much larger needs than presented by residential requirements. Accordingly, the electric services required will present new challenges on load management for the electric utility grid throughout all provinces. The challenges involved in modifying electrical systems to meet the additional load requirements for these 500,000 electric vehicles will require the most highly skilled and trained tradespersons.

The electrical construction industry is moving forward to meet these challenges by ensuring qualified electricians from coast to coast are thoroughly trained and certified on the new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP) in Canada.

The EVITP is a non-profit collaboration of industry partners in the U.S. that provide training and certification for electricians installing Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE). The program was first established in the U.S. to provide the electric vehicle transportation sector of the electrical industry and all stakeholders with a structured platform to facilitate training and certification for the installation of charging capabilities across residential, commercial/public and fleet markets. It has been highly successful.

The adaptation of the EVITP training and certification program in Canada was sponsored by the National Electrical Trades Council (NETCO) on behalf of the country’s electrical industry. The program has been developed to train and certify qualified electricians to properly install the EVSE infrastructure as required. The proper and safe installation of this electrical equipment must be performed by qualified electricians working for licensed electrical contractors under an electrical permit. This requirement ensures the design and EVSE installation meets the needs of customers, regulators and the utilities.

To facilitate this national initiative, EVITP instructor training will be made available in early 2014 to all stakeholders such as community colleges by the Electrical Joint Training Committee (EJTC) training centre in Port Coquitlam, B.C. The inclusion of the community colleges in this instructor training will provide the opportunity for all electricians in Canada – both union and non-union – to be trained and certified.

Endre “Andy” Cleven is training director of the Electrical Joint Training Committee. He can be reached at info@ejtc.org.

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