EV and Charging Facilities

As the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles surges across Western Australia, a comprehensive understanding of potential hazards is crucial.

To highlight the potential risk presented by EVs and EV charging facilities to a site, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has produced an Information Note to provide guidance for the installation of EV charging facilities in and around multi-storey commercial and residential buildings.

Design consideration to minimise and manage any risk associated with EV charging facilities installation and the ongoing use of the facilities are outlined in this valuable resource.

Hazards Associated with EVs

When there is a failure within an EV lithium-ion battery, it may lead to a thermal runaway within the battery. The lithium-ion cell enters an uncontrollable, self-heating state, which can result in extremely high temperatures, gas venting, smoke and fire. This may pose significant challenges for emergency responders as an EV fire and its location may result in a potentially difficult to manage fire incident. 

Potential hazards include: 

  • Fire impact on structural integrity of the building due to potential for long duration burning.
  • Toxic and combustible vapour production, including vapour cloud explosion.
  • Increased rate of fire spread due to prolonged burning and potential for lateral flame projection from burning battery.
  • Reignition and off gassing.
  • Stranded electrical energy and hazardous waste material for removal and/or disposal.

Designing for Safety

It is important to consider the location of the charging facilities, scale of the EV installation and type of building at the design phase. EV charging facilities located externally allow for safer evacuation of occupants, easy access for emergency responders and heat dissipation. It is recommended for designers to engage DFES at the planning and design phase for projects proposing:

  • Multiple charging stations,
  • Installations in enclosed spaces, and/or
  • A sprinkler system not to be installed.

Is Building Permit Required for EV Charging Facilities?

Depending on the proposed location of the EV charging facilities, scale of the installation and type of building, a Building Permit may be required before the EV charging infrastructure can be installed. 

More Information 

For more information, please refer to the website DFES Built Environment Branch or contact the City's Building Services team on 9273 6000 or email mail@vincent.wa.gov.au