Published on August 9, 2021.

In Compliance | NEC

Why an up-to-date NEC is critical to create EV infrastructure


The Biden Administration has left little doubt as to its desire to embrace the development of electric vehicles (EVs).

The proposed infrastructure bill allocates $174 billion to electric vehicles, a portion of which will help fund a nationwide network of approximately 500,000 new charging stations.

The timeline associated with this EV push can seem mind-boggling. President Biden hopes to have all of those chargers built by 2030. Meanwhile, major automotive manufacturers have shared plans to convert a large portion of their vehicle production to electric-powered over the next 10 years. Some automakers have said they want to be fully converted to EV-only production in the next five years. Ensuring that the necessary EV infrastructure is built quickly and safely will rely on up-to-date building and electrical codes being key components in the process.

But that’s the problem—as of June, only 11 states were operating under the most recent edition of NFPA 70®, National Electrical Code® (NEC), an essential code for the creation of the nation’s EV infrastructure. That means the rest are not operating based on the most current NEC code requirements, those included in the 2020 edition of the code. Some states were using editions of the NEC dating back to 2008.

With electricity and energy storage forming the backbone of operating and charging EVs, the NEC will be a critical part of building that infrastructure. The scope of the NEC covers residential, commercial, and industrial applications, and when you consider the areas where EV charging stations will be installed—homes, businesses, public areas, and more—the NEC is a perfect fit. But it can only be perfect if jurisdictions use the most up-to-date edition of the code, the one that incorporates the latest technology and is best suited to keeping people and property safe.

Electric vehicles were introduced into the NEC in 1996, 12 years before Tesla Motors released its first completely electric car. As you can imagine, EV technology has changed dramatically over the ensuing 25 years. A new edition of the NEC is published every three years, meaning there have been eight new versions of the code in which to incorporate an array of changes related to EV technology. The process of creating the 2023 NEC is underway, and there is once again a lot of activity around EVs. Article 625, which covers electric vehicles, had more than 60 public inputs submitted that proposed changes or modifications to the 2020 NEC. Most of those proposals are intended to keep people and property safe. If you’re involved in any way with EVs or EV infrastructure and you’re not working with the most up-to-date NEC, you’re missing a critical tool that can help guide you through this exciting but complex element of the nation’s electrical ecosystem.

Last year, the International Code Council (ICC) voted to approve a change to its building standards that would require all new homes built in the United States to be “EV-ready”—a move that will have a positive effect toward implementing part of the needed EV infrastructure. While the building standard and the EV-ready change would need to be adopted legislatively to become a requirement, growing consumer demand will likely drive legislative approval. Municipalities within Georgia, Colorado, Washington, and California have already implemented EV-related building code requirements. There is an additional cost for homes to be EV-ready when built, but the investment is minor compared to what the price would be to retrofit an existing home to accommodate EV charging. Adopting building code requirements that mandate EV-ready new homes will make a large impact on EV infrastructure needs in a timely manner, while keeping costs down for homeowners.

Steps like this only underscore the need for adoption and utilization of the latest edition of the NEC and other up-to-date codes. By using the most current codes, builders and lawmakers can work together toward the extraordinary goal of creating the nation’s EV infrastructure in a timely and safe manner.

COREY HANNAHS is an electrical content specialist at NFPA. NFPA members and AHJs can use the Technical Questions tab to post queries on NFPA 70 at To follow the progress on the upcoming edition of the code, visit Top photograph: Getty Images