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…
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.
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 Gas2.org 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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