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The ACT recently announced plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035.

With a number of other jurisdictions worldwide announcing similar bans on the sale of conventional internal combustion engine cars, this is likely to lead to significant increases in the sale of electric vehicles, meaning an increased need for recharging facilities.


The installation of an EV charging station introduces risk due to the presence of additional electrical infrastructure, as well as large lithium-ion batteries in the EVs themselves. Luckily, these risks can be managed if a proactive risk-based approach to the installation is in place.


What are the risks associated with EV charging stations?

Lithium Ion Batteries are the predominant type of EV battery used as they currently provide the best balance between performance and cost.  There are, however, a number of well known hazards associated with this battery technology and with EV charging stations. These include:

  • The use of a flammable electrolyte.
  • The potential for thermal runaway (an exothermic reaction leading to fire).
  • The potential for fires resulting from intense heat generation and reignition (often burning until all fuel is consumed). These fires are difficult to extinguish.
  • The products of combustion and gases vented from the battery can be toxic & corrosive.
  • The risk of electrocution due to a defective charging unit or electrical infrastructure.
  • Trip hazards created by the additional infrastructure and equipment such as charging cables and wheel stops.


How can you manage the risks?

Often the type and condition of EV batteries can be difficult to monitor, particularly in commercial and large residential carparks. Risk reduction measures outlined in this bulletin therefore focus on practical improvements that can be implemented by carpark owners and managers.

EV charging stations should only be installed by an appropriately qualified and experienced electrical contractor.  Ideally it is recommended that charging stations be located at ground level, in open air or in fully open sided carparks. However, in many cases enclosed spaces such as basements are unavoidable. While the following precautions are recommended for all installations, particular attention should be paid to these for basement installations as these can present an increased level of risk.


Managing the risk of ignition

  • Make sure EV charging circuits are fit for purpose and suitably sized for the electrical load
  • The units should be hard wired with a dedicated circuit that is protected by a circuit breaker and regulated RCD protection together with any other protection required to mitigate the risk of electrocution or vehicle/building damage.
  • All electrical equipment and wiring should meet relevant manufacturer, industry, AS and IEC standards, including overcharge and overcurrent protection.
  • All chargers and associated equipment should be installed, used and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and applicable standards.
  • Charging points should be protected from environmental hazards (including water, salt and dust) and rated appropriately.
  • Charging instructions and warning signs should be clearly visible and should include:

a) any restrictions on use based on vehicle type or any other factors

b) precautions to be taken during use

c) instructions in the event of emergency.  

d) a reminder for users to check their vehicle owners manual for further guidance.

  • Servicing and maintenance should be carried out by a competent specialist in accordance with manufacturers recommendations and applicable standards.  In addition, charger condition inspections should be conducted at weekly intervals by the building owner.


Managing the exposure

  • No combustible materials or storage should be located within 5m of the charger or the vehicles being charged.
  • The charging station/area should be located in a dedicated area away from high traffic areas or areas frequented by children.
  • Charging bays should be sign posted and marked prominently on the ground.
  • Charging bays should be well lit.
  • Chargers should be above floor level, possibly on a raised plinth. If wall mounted, chargers should only be attached to walls constructed of fully non-combustible materials.  Impact protection for the charging units should be provided.
  • Charging cables should be able to be secured so as to not present a hazard when not in use.
  • Limit the number of charging bays per area i.e. no more than 4 adjacent bays.  More than 4 adjacent bays or more than 4 bays per car park level should be referred to Chubb Risk Engineering for further review.
  • Consult with the fire brigade.  Ensure that the charging area is readily accessible by the fire brigade.
  • Provide automatic sprinkler protection (minimum OH2 i.e. 5mm over 144m2) throughout the area.
  • Provide adequate smoke exhaust ventilation
  • Ensure manual fire protection equipment (hydrants, hose reels and extinguishers) is in place and provides adequate coverage.
  • All protection equipment and systems should be tested and serviced in accordance with regulations, applicable standards and manufacturers’ guidance.


For more information please contact Chubb’s Risk Engineering Team

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