Clean Transport EV workplace charging

Published on December 6th, 2014 | by Tina Casey


Workplace Charging: Uncovering The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy To Sell EVs

December 6th, 2014 by  

Conspiracy theories are a dime a dozen these days, but this workplace charging thing looks like a doozy: the Obama Administration has been secretly conspiring with dozens of major US corporations to sell EVs to the unsuspecting public. Under the guise of a little-known program called the “Workplace Charging Challenge,” these employers have been stealthily installing EV charging stations on their premises hand over fist.

This insidious plot to impose next-generation personal mobility technology on our freedomz apparently works by brainwashing. According to the Administration’s own records, people who see an EV charging station at work are 20 times more likely to run out and actually drive an EV.

And that’s just the beginning…

EV workplace charging

Worksites with EV workplace charging stations (image enhanced, courtesy of US DOE).

The Workplace Charging Challenge Is Really Working

Okay, so the Workplace Charging Challenge isn’t exactly top secret, but when was the last time you heard anybody in the lamestream media talk about it?

The Workplace Charging Challenge first crossed our radar early in 2013, when it was launched by the Energy Department to help fulfill President Obama’s EV Everywhere goal. That goal would be to make EVs just as convenient and affordable as any other car.

The launch involved 13 private sector electric vehicle stakeholders, including 3M, Chrysler Group, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly and Company, Ford, GE, GM, Google, Nissan, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, Tesla, and Verizon.

One year later, at the beginning of 2014 the ranks of the workplace charging conspiracy (well, some may call it an initiative but we all know that’s just newspeak) had already swelled to 55 partners, including NASCAR.

All together, those 55 companies included 150 different work sites.


That’s nothing — less than one year later, our overlords at the Energy Department have issued a new Workplace Charging Challenge report. The membership roster now stands at 150 partners and 300 worksites.

Part of the Challenge involves establishing templates and best practices models to make it easy for smaller companies to get on board, which means that the process of actually installing the chargers has not been a willy-nilly one for the partners. Nevertheless, in less than two years they have already made EV charging stations available to almost 600,000 employees among those 300 worksites.

More Workplace Charging On The Horizon

Our sister site has dug into the details behind the report, which includes a workplace charging survey of the Challenge partners conducted last August.

The money stat is just what we said: when a company puts up a charging station, its employees are 20 times more likely to drive an EV (1-in-73 compared to the national average of 1-in-1400).

Those charging stations are already becoming part of the fabric of employment. A full 90 percent of the partners reported that their charging stations are fully occupied at least five days a week.

That could include fleet vehicles, visitors, and rentals or leases as well employee-owned vehicles, but that full-capacity mark still indicates a healthy demand for on site EV charging, which could motivate the partners to install additional charging stations at their work sites.

In addition, the Energy Department has its eye on a goal of recruiting 500 companies into the scheme.

Speaking of brainwashing, the Workplace Charging Challenge also comes with a toolkit for employers to help encourage their employees to buy EVs, which ramps up the potential for influencing EV sales.

Workplace Charging And The Transportation Revolution

When we first heard about workplace charging, we saw it as a pretty cool perk for employees, just for the convenience factor alone.

The Coca-Cola Company, for one, convinced us that there’s a little more to it than that. It’s part of a “transportation revolution” (Coke’s words, not ours) that can help facilities cut greenhouse gas emissions both within their premises and beyond, as applied to commuting vehicles and visitors as well as fleet vehicles.

Commercial buildings and facilities are just the start. The emissions-cutting angle also applies to academic, non-profit, and government facilities.

NASA, for example, recently reported that it was getting “insane” results from a new initiative to install workplace charging stations at its Kennedy Space Center for commuting employees, aimed at cutting the facility’s contribution to local greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s what the Challenge partners have achieved since the initiative launched:

Partner charging stations in operation by June 2014 provide an estimated annual kWh usage of 6.7 million kWh. This usage would be saving 800,000 gallons of gasoline and 5.5 million pounds of GHG annually – the equivalent of removing nearly 1,500 average cars from U.S. roads.

As far as the government angle goes, you better start working on that tin hat now because there’s more to come.

The US military has been adopting EVs with vehicle-to-grid capability at its facilities. One recent example is the world’s largest V2G/EV fleet at Los Angeles Air Force Base. It’s partly a “good neighbor” program aimed at reducing pollution from the base.

Combine that with the Navy’s new solar powered microgrid, and you’re talking about a whole new level of workplace charging deployment.

We’re guessing that the next step for the folks in charge of the Workplace Charging Challenge is to get more companies to add vehicle-to-grid to their EV systems, so stay tuned.

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

  • Wayne Williamson

    This is really cool. Its also good incentive to put solar on top of the building….

  • Tina, thanks for this workplace charging update. While there is a higher incidence of EV ownership in cases where the employers have chargers, it’s also, and possibly more likely correlated to, the socioeconomic group of owners. We already know that most EV owners earn more money. Thes13 companies you listed pay well, so the EV ownership of their employees, while encouraged by their workplace charging stations, may be more due to the incomes of the EV owners. To lend credence to this point, let’s guess how many employees at McDonald’s would be using workplace EV chargers.

  • rockyredneck

    There are over 3000 utilities involved in power generation and distribution in the U.S.A.. Plus there are many larger corporations that provide their own electricity.
    Their employees must number in the tenor even hundreds of thousands. It seems a no brainer that these should be the first to supply charging stations for their employees as a benefit. Charging could possibly be coordinated with low demand periods.
    A few years ago I did see a few NG powered vehicles driven by gas utility employees, It seems to be rare now. One has to wonder why more companies do not endeavor to be their own best customer.

  • Mickey Askins

    Progress, something that happens inspite of conservatives all the time, but God knows they try.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I’ll suggest a new slogan to them..

      “Your Republican Party. Defending America by standing firmly in the path of progress.”

      • Kyle Field

        There’s nothing like an opponent so obviously in the wrong to rally the troops around a cause they might not have cared about otherwise.

  • spec9

    This is a very important initiative. After your home, your workplace is the 2nd most important place to have charging available. They should expand this initiative.

    And more states should pass building code requiring all new homes, apartments, and Condos to have parking places that are a preconfigured for easy charger installation. All this requires is just conduit to the individual parking places. (You don’t need to install the chargers, just have it so that it is very easy to add one as soon as someone wants one.)

    • Bob_Wallace

      Between 40% and 50% of all US drivers do not have a place to plug in where they park at night. Some of those people are parking outside a standard parking lot and would be well-served by having a standard daytime parking/charging spot.

      We may be very short years from affordable longer range EVs (GM, Tesla and Nissan all seem to have something coming down the pipes). When we can purchase <$30k, 200+ range cars demand for more charge outlets is going to soar.

      • JamesWimberley

        Google should really be spending money on making it easy to make small payments for chargers from a smartphone – something they understand, unlike long-shot renewables,

        • Kyle Field

          I’m hopeful that their autopilot cars (wonky as they may be today) will bear fruit. Smoothing over navigation, integrating it with the autopilot experience and seamlessly integrating eco-intelligence – the logic from UC Riverside that defines the most efficient route are all key in the current transportation revolution (thanks coke). Autopilot is sexy, tesla is sexy, google is sexy…and sex sells…or something.

        • Will E

          renewables are plug and play for free. where do you live?

  • spec9

    It is a massive conspiracy to save people gas money and to create jobs for utilities and solar installers. How awful! 😉

  • Bob_Wallace

    SoCal Edison just put up $350 million to assist with the installation of 300,000 new charge outlets in their territory. The money is aimed at workplace and apartment parking lots.

    EVs are a huge new potential market for utilities. A way to replace their lost market to efficiency and end-user solar. I think SDG&E has also gotten aboard. That’s two of the four big CA utility companies.

    • Will E

      make it clean solar and wind utilities , parking solar.

  • JamesWimberley

    Tina’s short list of stakeholders: “3M, Chrysler Group, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly and Company, Ford, GE, GM,
    Google, Nissan, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, Tesla, and
    Verizon.” Pretty soon, and you’ll be talking about real money. Seriously, the ev revolution does not have the same shape as the renewable energy one, and especially its solar component, which pits insurgent homeowner prosumers against utilities. The companies who stand to gain from evs – electric utilities and specialist carmakers and their suppliers – are already large. Other carmakers are neutral, increasingly tilting positive.

    As for the workplace charging initiative, it’s a trivial perk compared to the total cost of employee parking, worth it for employee morale alone, and very cheap public greenwashing. Only recently has the oil lobby woken up to the danger, and its efforts to stop evs are small-scale, amateurish, and above all too late.

  • Steven F

    I think stealth programs like the workplace charging challenge, air force vehicle to grid are one of the explanations for the recent drop in oil prices. While the oil savings in the US from these programs is small, world wide it adds up.

    Additionally many small electrical grids are powered almost exclusively by oil. However once oil hit $100 dollars a barrel in 2008 many of these small grids started looking at alternatives. A few years ago Kodiak Alaska got most of its electricity from oil and the remainder from an old small hydro facility. But after adding wind and upgrading the equipment in the hydro facility they now get 99% of there electricity from renewables.

  • Offgridman

    I knowed it, you just can’t trust that thar Obsama ‘minystration, nex’ thang there going to be a doing is making all the car makers put out trucks and everthang that’ll go a few hunnert miles on that new fangled ‘lectric drive. Just when da oil compnees is a getting the price of gas back down all the kids are gonna start drivin’ these and make em go bankrupt. Wot is happnin’to ‘Merica, why ain’t the ‘ publicans a doin’ sumpin’ ’bout this here cornspiracy!!!

    Typical reaction to be expected if this was to be shared with some of my neighbors.

    • jim c

      So true that exact quote from someone that I know. I think you plagiarize it word for word.

      • Offgridman

        Glad to see that so many of you have enjoyed the perspective of trying to discuss clean tech with some of my neighbors.

        jim c,
        There was no need to plagiarize, it is just a case of living near the same type of under or uninformed members of the public. While it is said that the best comedy comes from the tragedy of the human situation, what is truly tragic is that people like this are continued to be allowed to have a say in how our government and society operate. No wonder that the republicans won last time if it was the enraged voters like this that mainly turned out.

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