U.S. DoE: Workers 20-Times More Likely To Buy a Plug-in Car if Their Employer Offers At-Work Charging

While most studies to date suggest that electric car owners only ever need to charge their car once a day in order to have enough range to carry out their everyday activities, knowing there’s local charging infrastructure in your community or at your place of work can make the difference between buying an electric car or not. And while most commuters don’t need to charge on the way to and from work, knowing there’s a place to charge at work can help facilitate those lunch-time errands, after-work trips and deal with the kind of unforeseen circumstances many would-be electric car drivers worry about.

Offices with EV charging can dramatically help improve plug-in adoption

Offices with EV charging can dramatically help improve plug-in adoption

Moreover, as the U.S. Department of Energy detailed last month in a survey carried out as part of its EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge, employees of companies with at-work charging are 20 times more likely to drive a plug-in car than those who work at companies with no provision for electric car charging.

Its survey, which involved all of the companies — or ‘partners’ already signed up to the EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge, showed that at locations where charging provision was provided for staff, one in 73 employees drove a plug-in vehicle, far higher than the U.S. national average of one in 1,400. At locations where charging is provided, 90% of partners in the challenge reported their charging stations were fully occupied at least five days a week, demonstrating that the charging stations were actually being used rather than simply being a greenwashing exercise.

Under the EV Everywhere Workplace Challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy has been working with companies across the U.S. to increase the number of electric car charging stations installed at offices and workplaces throughout the U.S. Offering guidance and assistance, the EV Everywhere Workplace Challenge invites all sizes and types of business throughout the U.S. to pledge their support for plug-in cars by agreeing to install electric car charging infrastructure for staff and visitors.

Employees of companies with active EV charging programs are more than twenty times more likely to own a plug-in car than those without.

Employees of companies with active EV charging programs are more than twenty times more likely to own a plug-in car than those at companies without any charging provision.

As well as providing technical resources and assistance on basic matters like charging station siting and charging station types, the DOE offers companies who sign up to the challenge a slew of support from other experts in the area of at-work charging, including charging providers, plug-in programs and peer-led support from other companies who already offer at-work charging for staff and visitors.

According to the DoE, the EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge has been incredibly successful in the two years that the program has been running, going from just 13 ‘founding partner’ companies in 2013 to more than 150 today. Between them, these 150 companies are responsible for more than 300 different workplaces across the U.S. and offer charging facilities to more than 600,000 employees.

In those two years, the number of installed and planned partner charging stations has soared from around 2,000 charging stations to nearly 4,000, with around 3,000 level 2 charging stations and around 1,000 Level 1 (120 volt) charging stations. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of partners signing onto the program and installing charging stations has risen by 45 percent, and the DoE says that partner charging stations in operation by June this year had provided an annual estimated 6.7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity to plug-in cars being driven by partner employees and visitors.

Combined, this has saved 800,000 gallons of gasoline and 5.5 million pounds of greenhouse gasses entering the atmosphere, equivalent to removing 1,500 average U.S. cars from the roads.

So if you’re considering approaching your bosses to ask them to install charging at your place of work — or you happen to be a business owner looking to encourage green practices — this particular survey is pretty clear: providing charging at work for visitors and employees not only works, but can help drive plug-in vehicle sales too.


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  • PaulScott58

    One hundred percent of the drivers of internal combustion vehicles (ICE) go to gas stations to fill up. Collectively, they spend over half a trillion dollars for this energy. The oil industry uses this money to control governments throughout the world.nnnCompanies that provide workplace charging allow their employees to opt out of giving money to this industry. To pay for the installation of charge stations, companies can charge employees a modest fee for their use. nnnThe gold standard for workplace charging is a large solar PV array shading a parking lot with hundreds of Level 1 plugs (120 volt). Employees would pay a monthly fee granting them the right to plug in every day. This fee would be enough to pay for the energy used with enough left over to pay for the amortization of the solar array. You could even build in a small profit and it would still cost less than gasoline. nnnThis way, the company would get the profit instead of the oil companies. 100% of the money would remain local to the community since the savings to the EV driver stays in their pockets.

    • Wells

      Fuel Cell EVs will serve the smallest segment of the EV market, certainly, but Battery EVs have their shortcomings too. This leaves Plug-in Hybrid PHEVs which run ‘combustable’ hydrogen (stored at lower pressure than for a fuel cell stack), other biofuels, and battery pack small enough to ‘complement’ rather than ‘overload’ regional utility grids as would BEVs like the (85kwh) Tesla. nThe PHEV battery size (5kwh) is the more ideal match to a consequently small rooftop solar array that is large enough to survive grid failure; the means to monitor and reduce household energy consumption; choice to use electricity for household appliances or for driving, whereby average trip distances are reduced and more trips become possible without having to drive, whereby walking, bicycling and mass transit become viable travel options that support local economies rather than corporate entities who don’t care what kind of car the hapless public drives as long as they drive for all purposes with no choice.nShould we construct regional utility grids to serve 10 Tesla ‘S’ coupes, or 170 PHEVs? Corporate entities favor BEVs because, as you said, it leaves them in charge of the power supply, and a transportation monopoly.

  • “employees of companies with at-work charging are 20 times more likely to drive a plug-in car than those who work at companies with no provision for electric car charging”nnThis is both an interesting fact and a disappointing statement. The “20 times more likely to drive a PEV” is nice fact. Missing is any insight into the type of PEVs being driven and charged at work, and how often they’re being charged.nnie: Questions not answered u2026 nnWhat is the typical distance a worker will drive a PEV if workplace charging is provided? What are distances workers commute to the workplace? (all drives)nHow often do PEVs drivers charge at work? (daily, occasionally, rarely as can comfortably make round trip)nIs plugging in a work a necessary for a PEV driver, or an added bonus?nIs it more likely to drive a BEV, or PHEV to work if charging is provided?nnIn terms of PEV models, what percentage were: 1) driven 2) charged at work:nu2013 under 15 mile PHEVs?nu2013 between 15 and 50 mile electric range PHEVs/EREVs?nu2013 PEVs with an electric range of 50-100 miles?nu2013 BEVs with an electric range of 100-200 miles?nu2013 BEVs with over 200 mile range?n nThis is the type of data that would indicate what type of PEVs and drivers (commute range) are making use of workplace charging. Not collecting the data could mean the wrong type of workplace infrastructure may be installed, or the amount of infrastructure does not match needs (too little, or too much).nnA common statement by EV OEMs is the average commute is 30-40 miles. If this is the case, how often would a 100 mile PEV need to plug-in at work? nnThese questions are directed to the Department of Energy. Without good data, how does DOE know they are investing in the appropriate types and locations for PEV infrastructure?