EV Adoption Drives Updated Design Guidance for Parking Structures

As electric vehicle (EV) adoption continues to rise, there is a need for infrastructure changes to support these vehicles. One important aspect is the design of parking garages, which will require updated fire safety protocols and modifications to accommodate the heavier weight of EVs.

The United Kingdom’s Institution of Structural Engineers recently released new design guidance for parking garages, addressing various topics such as EV weight, charging access, noise reduction, and fire safety considerations. The guidance provides recommendations for multi-story, underground, and office/residential garages.

One pressing topic discussed in the guidance is the battery hardware used in EVs, which significantly increases their weight compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The institution notes that EV weights are likely to continue increasing with the introduction of models with extended range and different vehicle classes.

The average weight of vehicles has already increased from 1.5 metric tons in 1974 to almost 2 metric tons this year. Some upcoming EVs, like Tesla’s Cybertruck, are expected to weigh between 5,000 and 8,000 pounds.

To address the weight of EVs, the guidance suggests retrofitting older garages with increased structural support, screening the weights of cars upon entry, and potentially keeping heavy vehicles on ground floors. These measures are aimed at preventing potential structural failures and maintaining public confidence in parking structures.

Another important concern highlighted in the guidance is fire safety. While EV fires are not more common than fires in ICE vehicles, they present unique challenges in terms of extinguishing. The guidance suggests the use of sprinkler systems in underground garages to reduce fire spread and limit damage.

All of these considerations are crucial as EV adoption continues to grow. The International Energy Agency predicts that there could be as many as 145 million EVs globally by 2030. The design of parking structures needs to accommodate larger EVs and incorporate safety measures to ensure the smooth integration of EVs into everyday life.

– CNBC: [link to source]
– Institution of Structural Engineers (UK): [link to source]