NFPA Rejects Proposed Fire Safety Rules for EVs at Gas Stations

The proposals would have hindered gas stations and truck stops from adding more EV chargers.

April 21, 2022

EV Charger in a Parking Garage

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Standards Council for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has rejected proposed standards that would change the fire codes related to electric vehicle chargers at gas stations, reports OPIS. The Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) would have treated chargers like fire hazards and required an inordinate amount of space between any chargers and fuel pumps or property lines. The TIA, if adopted as part of local fire codes, would have meant many current and planned chargers were in violation of those codes.

Several industry trade associations, including NACS, were against the proposal, saying it could prevent existing gas stations from diversifying into EV charging stations.

“Fuel retailers have a vested interest in ensuring the safety of their customers and employees and want to be a partner with other stakeholders in making sure the EV charging experience is as safe, convenient and efficient as possible,” wrote NACS, NATSO and SIGMA in a letter to the NFPA Standards Administration. “Fuel retailers operate many EV chargers at their locations today and are adding more sites. These sites safely charge vehicles every day. The technical committee does not have information before it to support the TIA approach.”

NACS said that developing reasonable and safe fire codes related to EV chargers at gas stations and truck stops should be done through the regular process that is already underway. The 2024 version of the 30A-Motor Facilities Code is being reviewed now, and by using the process and timeline for revising the code for 2024, it would allow for greater input and better data to develop an effective fire code for EV chargers at fuel dispensing facilities.

“Following that process should allow for transparent and robust stakeholder input and feedback from subject matter experts from electric vehicle manufacturers, electric vehicle supply equipment manufacturers, fuel retailers, utilities, and other valuable resources. That has not occurred to date and cannot occur in any meaningful way in the short time period permitted for committee consideration of the TIA,” wrote NACS.

NFPA standards are voluntary, but federal, state and local jurisdictions often adopt them directly or by reference through their fire codes.

"The TIA failed to achieve the necessary support of the Technical Committee on both technical merit and emergency nature when balloted prior to submission to the Standards Council,” according to NFPA meeting minutes.