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.
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.
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.
Want to keep up with the latest news in evolving transport? Don’t forget to follow Transport Evolved on Twitter, like us on Facebook and G+, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.