All About Workplace Charging

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Outside of the home, work is where people spend the majority of their time with their cars parked. For an electric vehicle owner, this large time frame is a great opportunity to plug in and charge their car and increase their daily commuting range. This not only serves as a convenience and benefit to employees but having an electric vehicle charger can encourage car owners to make the switch to a plug-in electric vehicle. Employers who offer workplace charging can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Corporate Leadership – Taking this step towards furthering the electric vehicle infrastructure through the adoption of advanced technology can demonstrate corporate leadership and innovation.
  • Sustainability – Electric vehicle charging can help contribute to the LEED Certification of a building, reduce indirect emissions, and overall enhance corporate sustainability efforts.
  • Employee Incentive – The installation of an electric vehicle charger can serve as a valuable employee benefit by reducing the cost of commuting and increasing driving range. This will also be likely to attract new employees.
  • Public Image – Providing workplace charging can showcase  an organization’s support and leadership of sustainable technologies.

Evaluating and Planning for Workplace Charging

Determining if a workplace charging program is right for an organization often begins by gauging employee interest through a survey(PDF). The following resources can help employers understand how workplace charging may support their sustainability portfolio:

Employers should consult their utility, electrical contractor, charging equipment provider, and other stakeholders early in the process to identify and discuss potential challenges. For example, special consideration is needed when determining whether to offer charging at workplaces located in leased facilities.

Installing Workplace Charging

Charging equipment delivers electrical energy from an electricity source, such as the grid or supplemental solar panels, to a PEV. Level 1, Level 2, and direct-current (DC) fast charging each offer benefits and require different considerations for workplace charging:

  • Level 1 stations are less expensive than Level 2 stations, but they charge vehicles at a slower rate and generally may only be used by one vehicle during the standard work day. See Level 1 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at the Workplace(PDF) for more information.
  • Level 2 stations are the most commonly used at workplaces and are capable of charging more than one vehicle per day. It is often necessary for organizations to establish policies that encourage employees to share the stations and move their charged vehicles after a certain amount of time.
  • DC fast charging may be used as part of a strategy to alleviate charging congestion or to allow employees to charge in a very short amount of time. Often, DC fast charging stations are the most expensive to install. Learn more in a SolarWorld case study

Employers seeking to procure charging infrastructure and offer workplace charging must also consider costs associated with equipment, installation, maintenance, and electricity. Costs Associated with Non-Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment(PDF) provides information on the costs associated with purchasing, installing, and owning the equipment. Federal and state laws and incentives can provide discounts and incentives that lower workplace charging costs.

By evaluating goals and needs, employers can select the best workplace solution. Find available charging equipment options using Plug In America’s Get Equipped resource and consult DOE’s workplace charging Request for Proposal Guidance(PDF).

Managing Workplace Charging 

Organizations offering workplace charging can benefit from setting clear guidelines in the areas of administration, registration and liability, sharing, and pricing to help ensure a safe and successful workplace charging experience for all. Learn about how to manage workplace charging.

Engaging Employees

After employers have installed charging stations at a work site, they may wish to engage employees on how they can take advantage of this employee benefit. DOE’s PEV Outreach Resources for Your Employees(PDF) offers tips for educating employees about why and how they can take advantage of workplace charging. Ride-and-drive events may also be an effective way to introduce employees to PEVs and workplace charging.

Below are some examples of how organizations representing a variety of sectors have made workplace charging available to their employees:

  • Local Businesses – Learn how three small companies—Hollywood Woodwork, MOM’s Organic Market, and Posty Cards—have successfully installed charging stations for their employees.
  • University Campuses(PDF) – Learn how higher education institutions are promoting PEV adoption by faculty, staff, and students.
  • Healthcare Facilities(PDF) – Learn how hospitals and other healthcare organizations are improving local air quality by promoting employee PEV adoption.
  • Utilities Power Change(PDF) – Learn how New Jersey’s Public Service Electric and Gas Company, and Southern Company’s unit Georgia Power are launching workplace charging programs for their commercial customers.
  • Federal Agencies(PDF) – Learn about considerations for implementing charging at federal workplaces, as well as examples of federal agencies that have done so.

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