EV Design Considerations That Make You Go Hmmm…


By Richard Easley

Electric vehicles (EVs) are talked about all the time these days.  How much more can we absorb of yet another article or presentation on EVs??  Well, here’s something new from your very own IPMI Planning Design and Construction (PDC) Committee.  We’re digging into head scratching, jaw dropping, and NEW aspects of EV issues that you probably never thought about but that have the potential to knock you flat on your ‘behind’ if you continue to move forward blindly.

For example, did you know about the EV fire that took firefighters hours and over 28,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire (after putting it out and then it reigniting then putting it out and then reigniting…)?  What most of us do not know is that the typical combustion engine fire takes about 300 gallons of water to extinguish! 28,000 vs 300 gallons – what does that mean for a garage that has many dozens of EV parking spaces?  By the way, a fire truck holds about 500 gallons of water.

Do we know the consequences of arranging all of our EV spaces together?  If one vehicle should catch fire, what happens to the many adjacent electric vehicles?  EV charging infrastructure is not cheap, so centralized placement of charging spaces is economical, right?  Hmmm…

Another aspect of EVs and parking is the increased weight of the EV versus the combustion engine vehicle.  By some estimates, the EV could be as much as 33% heavier!  If you have a garage facility that is  structurally designed to hold ‘X’ number of cars, what do you think happens when that same structure has a LOT more weight to carry that it was designed to carry?  Yes, some garages in Europe are beginning to experience failures (and closings) due to the overloaded members in the structures caused by EVs.

These are just two examples of many EV issues that you probably aren’t hearing about, but that will greatly impact your future operation.  When you get the opportunity in the near future to listen to a  PDC Committee EV presentation, do not walk to it – RUN so you can get a good seat.  Your parking operation depends upon it!!!

Richard B. Easley is President of E-Squared Consulting, Co-Chair of the IPMI Planning, Design, & Construction Committee, and a member of the IPMI Board of Directors.  He can be reached at reasley@e-squared.org.