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The big list of EV charging regulations and standards

Check which EV charging requirements apply to you and where to find compliance resources
Executives in an office discussing regulations

The Wild West days are all but over for the electric vehicle (EV) industry. And in many ways, that’s a great thing. As more countries begin transitioning to EVs, new standards, including EV charging regulations, are providing some much-needed guidance for manufacturers, network operators, and solutions providers. This list covers some of the current EV charger requirements for the US and Canada. 

Key EV charging regulations and rebate programs

United States

  • National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program: The NEVI program allocates funds to cover up to 80% of the costs of installing public charging infrastructure to speed up EV adoption. It’s one of the most sweeping pieces of legislation in support of EV charging standards the USA has seen thus far. 
  • California’s Zero-Emission Vehicle program: Run by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the program requires fleets to transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2035. There’s also an incentives component to the program, both for fleet owners and businesses installing EV chargers. So far, it is considered one of the most ambitious ZEV programs at the state level.
  • Other state and local government programs: All 50 states now have some form of an EV incentive program, and those can often be found at the city level as well. You can search for EV-related legislation and programs on the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s website and check local city council websites for recently passed legislation.


  • Transport Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program:  A $680 million funding initiative run by Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) aims to expand access to EV infrastructure by providing rebates for EV charging projects.
  • Province-specific programs: Alberta, British Columbia, Québec, and Yukon all provide EV charger installation rebates. For a round-up of the resources available through each program, check out our rebates page.

Operating standards for EV charging stations

International standards

  • SAE Standards for EV charging stations: SAE International is an industry group for mobility professionals that develops and publishes best practices for a variety of transportation industries, including EVs, and establishes hardware and software guidelines.
  • ISO 15118: An international standard for digital communications between an EV and the charging station.
  • OCPP: Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) is a universal communications standard that allows hardware and software from different providers to work together, making it easier to build more EV charging stations with a patchwork of providers. 
  • OCPI: Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) is an open automated roaming protocol that connects EV charging station operators with service providers, allowing them to open their charging stations to drivers outside of their network. 

OCPP and OCPI are increasingly being adopted as worldwide standards that can make the EV charging experience easier for drivers and EV charger installation easier for solutions providers and network operators.

US standards

  • The Alternative Fuels Data Center has a comprehensive list of installation requirements for EVs from the federal government, including the international standards described above
  • California’s CTEP program regulations: The California Divison of Measurements Standards came out with a new set of EV charging regulations aimed at making the charging experience more uniform for drivers both in terms of user experience (clear labeling and payment standards) and safety (hardware and operational requirements). Operations standards in other states follow those outlined by NEVI and can be found through the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Canadian standards

Canada’s EV charging stations are now regulated under the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act, which provisions for safety requirements and ensures that EV charging stations dispense the stated amount of kilowatts of electricity to a charging vehicle.

Installation and permitting standards

US standards

US EV charging standards vary from state to state and often have additional layers depending on the county or city you’re in. This permit template from the Alternative Fuels Data Center should give you an idea of the typical permitting requirements you can expect. California has some of the most stringent and comprehensive installation requirements in the US along with the largest concentration of EVs in the US. If you’re planning to install or operate chargers in California, this permitting guidebook is a good place to start.

One important thing all US EV charging businesses should keep in mind is accessibility. Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is part of EV charging requirements in the US. The AFDC has the latest guidelines on installing wheelchair-accessible parking spaces and charging units, as well as considerations for those with hearing disabilities.

Canadian standards

A similar scenario applies to Canadian EV charging stations. Much like in the US, permitting and installation requirements vary by province and city. You’ll need to consult local authorities before proceeding with installation. The Accessible Canada Act applies to EV charging stations. 

Additional considerations need to be made for the charger’s location. Installing an EV charger at an existing business will require different permits than one being installed in the parking lot of a local park. You’ll need to consider city permits and local as well as state environmental regulations. Whether you’re in the US or Canada, you’ll want to consult with an attorney and talk to local government representatives before venturing into the wondrous world of permitting requirements.

Safety and security requirements for EV charging software

EV charging station management platforms have to abide by the same rules and standards as other cloud-native applications. That includes earning compliance certifications for SOC 2 (information security) and PCI DSS (credit card information security) standards, for both US and Canadian companies.

EV charging software also needs to be mindful of international online regulations like GDPR, as well as regional regulations, the CCPA in California being notable because of the strong EV industry presence in the region.

Future developments and trends

EVs are booming, and new electric vehicle charging requirements are likely being developed even as you’re reading this article. As the industry moves toward wider adoption and subsequent standardization, EV charging businesses will likely face the same if not greater regulatory requirements than current-day gas stations. You can always find information about EV charging station rebates for the US and Canada on the ChargeLab website and read up on the latest industry trends on our blog.

Making EV charging better for everyone

ChargeLab helps EV charging businesses scale operations with a hardware-agnostic, OCPP-compliant charging station management platform. With automated maintenance alerts, 24/7 driver support, and a user-friendly dashboard, we’re on a mission to make EV charging a better experience for everyone. Send us a quick note if you’d like to see our platform in action.

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