When the U.S. Department of Energy issued a call for companies nationwide to encourage workplace EV charging, 13 major American employers responded with, “That’s how we roll.”
Among the high-profile participants in the new Workplace Charging Challenge will be 3M, Chrysler Group, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly and Company, Ford, GE, GM, Google, Nissan, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, Tesla, and Verizon (News - Alert). Their pledges commit each partner organization to assess workforce plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging demands; and then develop and implement a plan to install workplace charging infrastructure for at least one major worksite location.
On January 31 in a speech at the Washington Auto Show, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced formally announced the initiative—which aims to expand the number of U.S. employers that offer workplace charging by tenfold within the next five years, as well as to increase the convenience of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). The challenge also supports the broader efforts of the DOE’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, announced by President Barack Obama in March 2012, intended to make PEVs as affordable and convenient for the American family as gasoline-powered vehicles within the next ten years.
“The market for electric vehicles is expanding dramatically, giving drivers more options to save money on gasoline while reducing carbon pollution,” said Chu. “These 13 companies are taking strong steps to make charging infrastructure more broadly available to their workforce—setting an example for others to follow and helping America lead the global race for a growing industry.”
On the Google (News - Alert) blog, Rolf Schreiber, technical program manager, Electric Transportation, already has communicated his enthusiasm for the new challenge: “Google has been dedicated to the promise of electric vehicles [see video] since 2007, when we outfitted a small fleet of Priuses and Escape Hybrids with homegrown data-loggers and installed an EV solar carport at our HQ in Mountain View. Our employees eagerly adopted the new technology, and we soon launched a corporate car share program, called GFleet. GFleet provides Googlers with a low-carbon transportation option once they get to the office using alternative transportation (for instance, the Google shuttle, walking, biking, or carpooling). To date Googlers have driven GFleet vehicles over a quarter of a million miles.”To support GFleet and encourage Googlers to buy their own plug-ins, Google offers free on-campus charging in Mountain View and eight additional office locations in the United States. Now, with more than 300 stations across the country, the search giant has built the largest corporate charging infrastructure in the nation. In addition to Google and its 12 other corporate collaborators, eight stakeholder organizations have signed the Ambassador Pledge to develop and execute plans to support and promote the workplace charging initiative, including: California PEV Collaborative, CALSTART, Electric Drive Transportation Association, Electrification Coalition, International Parking Institute, NextEnergy, Plug In America, and Rocky Mountain Institute. To support the Partners and Ambassadors who sign the pledge, DOE will provide technical assistance and establish a forum for Partners and Ambassadors to share information.
The Energy Department also released the EV Everywhere Grand ChallengeBlueprint, which describes PEV technology and deployment barriers, as well as steps to move forward in achieving the EV Everywhere goal.
Edited by Ashley Caputo