Asheville’s Building Safety Department gears up for arrival of electric cars

With auto companies announcing their intention to roll out new electric cars in the next year, the City of Asheville’s Building Safety Department is preparing for residential requests for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (EVCS) by examining and simplifying the required approval process.

While electric cars that charge on existing 120 volt outlets will not require any home modification or inspection, many new electric cars will require the installation of a dedicated 110 volt or a 220 volt charging station. That will mean residents need a new, permitted modification to their electrical system. But, says Building Safety Director Robert Griffin, the permitting process has been streamlined so that licensed electricians can install a charging station with minimal delay.

“This is us just staying ahead of the game,” Griffin says. “We want people to know that if they get these cars, the charging station isn’t going to be a problem.”

Building Safety staff have been researching the charging stations and ways to reduce obstacles for electric car owners since a major car company announced last year its intentions to use Raleigh as a test market for a new electric model.

Unlike Raleigh, the City of Asheville will not require the submission of an electrical plan, instead allowing electricians to use a “stand alone” application.

In most cases, Griffin says, the permitting process will consist of a completed application faxed to the department by a licensed electrician and a visit the day following the electrical work by a City of Asheville Building Safety Inspector. For most installations, the application charge will be $78.

“Typically, the work and inspection can have it done in 48 hours,” Griffin says.

The streamlined process is one example of the ways the City of Asheville’s Development Services Center works to eliminate unnecessary delays and complications for both homeowners and developers navigating the permitting process. The move also recognizes the City of Asheville’s commitment to supporting alternative modes of transportation and sustainable energy use.

For more information on the application and approval process for an EVCS, contact the City of Asheville Building Safety Department at 259-5656. To request any building safety inspection, call 259-5946.