Most plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners would appreciate the benefit of workplace charging. You could pull into work and plug in to top off your “tank” so that you could make a few extra stops on your commute home. Workplace charging would also be very beneficial if you live in an apartment building or condo, where it may not be easy or possible to charge at home. If that is your situation, then your job could be your primary charging location.
WHAT’S THE APPEAL OF PEVS?
- Cost less to operate
- Release fewer emissions
- Help our nation achieve energy independence by drastically reducing oil consumption
- FUN to drive with quick and smooth acceleration, sophisticated displays and smartphone apps
HOW CAN WORKPLACE CHARGING BENEFIT MY BUSINESS?
- Enhances brand as environmentally responsible
- Provides valuable employee incentive
- Can earn points for LEED certification
DIFFERENTIATE YOUR COMPANY With PEVs gaining in popularity, companies can offer workplace charging as a perk differentiating themselves from other employers and making them an attractive option for job seekers. If your company has a fleet of PEVs which charge overnight, you might consider offering workplace charging during daytime hours for employees. Workplace charging may also earn your company points toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
DEVELOPING YOUR COMPANY’S WORKPLACE CHARGING POLICY If your company is considering offering workplace charging, there are a number of items to consider such as possible tax implications, capital and administrative costs, employee morale, and parking regulations and requirements. However, with PEV ownership rates increasing, and projected to continue around the country, workplace charging should be a topic that is a priority among dynamic employers.
Here are five issues to consider when you are developing your workplace charging policy:
1. WHEN THE COMPANY DOES NOT OWN THE FACILITY
When a facility is leased, you may have to coordinate with other stakeholders on policy development for billing and payment, and parking space allocation and access issues.
- Include other tenants in setting up an advisory committee of interested parties.
- Consider partnering with a nearby parking lot owner or business to develop a co-op PEV charging program.
2. PROS AND CONS OF INSTALLING EMPLOYEE CHARGING STATIONS
- Employee incentive helps promote PEV adoption.
- Permits use of lower-technology/lower feature charging equipment to keep costs down.
- A simplified employee charging policy reduces administrative time and expense.
- Unclear how IRS will ultimately view workplace charging.
- As adoption of PEVs rise, you may need to consider pay as you go charging.
- Provides no means for controlled access to charging infrastructure.
- Employees that do have access to home charging may tend to charge at work more.
3. OPTIONS FOR HOW TO CHARGE EMPLOYEES FOR USAGE
Bill for time used to fairly allocate costs (requires more expensive equipment).
Charge a flat monthly fee to users based on estimated usage.
Use a third-party service provider that can handle installation, maintenance, and employee billing.
4. CHARGING LEVELS VS. ELECTRIC CAPACITY
- Level-1 charging is a cost-effective practical approach to meet the needs of those parked for long hours. Options include:
– Install 120v outlets and require employees to use their own portable Level-1 cord sets.
– Install hardwired Level-1 charging stations, for added convenience.
- Level-2 charging stations for employees and visitors that need a faster charge.
– Level-2 charging stations can serve multiple PEVs daily, as long as there are policies to ensure PEVs are moved when fully charged.
- Hybrid approach with Level-1 charging available for most employees, and one or two pay-per-use Level-2 charging stations available for a quicker charge.
- Search for ways to lower your facility’s overall electrical consumption to free panel capacity for PEV charging. Try upgrading inefficient lighting and equipment.
- Planning for future growth will often be less expensive than trying to expand the infrastructure later.
5. EQUIPMENT AND FEATURES TO SUPPORT YOUR POLICY
- Offer Level 1 or 2 charging equipment or 120v outlets. You may choose to offer low-feature/low-cost equipment to save money.
- Choose smart or networked charging stations that support your charging policy including, reservations, fee collection, reporting, display advertising, etc.
12 STEPS FOR DEVELOPING A WORKPLACE CHARGING PLAN
- Form stakeholder team.
- Survey employees to determine interest and need.
- Conduct site assessment with stakeholder team, utility company, and contractor to define options and costs.
- Determine if Level-1, Level-2, or a combination of both is needed.
- Research possible incentives or third-party funding opportunities.
- Establish company policies for access, definition of benefits and cost recovery.
- Select equipment, revise installation plan and get multiple quotes.
- Present proposal and budget to management for approval.
- Purchase equipment and hire a contractor who pulls permits, completes installation and calls for inspection.
- City/County inspects the completed installation.
- Mount signage, educate employees and launch workplace charging program.
- Issue news release and share learnings and milestones with the community.