“Workplace Charging Sells Vehicles,” Says Director of Electric Power Research Institute


General Motors Workplace Charger Map

General Motors Workplace Charger Map

Workplace Charging Makes EVs More Suitable for All

Workplace Charging Makes EVs More Suitable for All

“Workplace charging sells vehicles,” stated Mark Duvall, director of Electric Transportation and Energy Storage at the Electric Power Research Institute, in a recent phone interview with Navigant Research.

From that statement, as well as from evaluating the atmosphere surrounding workplace chargers, Navigant concludes the following:

“One of the keys to growing sales of plug-in electric vehicles is enabling more people to charge their cars at work. Workplace charging gives employees a consistent location away from home that effectively doubles their electric driving range for commuting while encouraging employees to buy EVs.”

Sounds reasonable to us.

The US DoE is behind the nationwide initiative to get more workplace chargers installed.  This initiative, along with dedication to the electric-drive movement from various employers, will result in the selling of more than 12,000 workplace chargers in the US in 2014 alone, states Navigant.  By decades end, annual sales of workplace chargers are predicted to exceed 63,000.

Source: Navigant Research

Category: Charging

Tags: ,

48 responses to "“Workplace Charging Sells Vehicles,” Says Director of Electric Power Research Institute"
  1. Steve Strange says:

    It is absolutely true. The number of EV drivers at my company has increased dramatically since we installed charging stations. It feeds on itself. We have well over 100 EVs on campus now.

    1. Is the growth because of work-place charging, or related to a general education on the economics of commuting with an electric vehicle?

      What percentage of the 100 could make a commute without charging at work? I do realize charging makes a difference if a commute is 30 miles or longer. More curious if an amenity of workplace charging is a factor, vs. the need range confidence. Either way, the result is positive. 🙂

      1. scott franco says:

        30 miles is a long commute, especially in traffic. I expect the majority of users are less than this. What L2 chargers are used for in the main, especially paid ones, are for Volts that need it to offset gas, and people without home chargers or who have L1 chargers at home.

        I discovered this by simply asking people what they use them for.

  2. David Murray says:

    You can bump Texas numbers up one notch.. We have a crew installing an EVSE right now, as I type this, in our parking lot here in Ft.Worth for employee use. It probably won’t appear on any maps, though. Our parking lot is secure with guards, etc.

    1. TomArt says:

      I think those are just at GM facilities…

    2. The map of 401 is GM employee locations, not including 6000 locations at dealers. From linked article, “According to Navigant Research’s Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment report, more than 12,000 workplace chargers will be sold in the United States this year.”

  3. Brian says:

    It makes sense – the workplace is the second most important place that an EV driver can charge. Seeing the stations also gets the wheels turning in people’s heads about the usefulness of EVs as a commuter car.

    1. David Murray says:

      I agree – when people see the cars plugged in, it makes them stop and think.

    2. Mark H says:


  4. Leptoquark says:

    You can also get more bang for the buck by putting in an 80/20 mixture of L1 and L2 charging. L1 charging can add 40 miles in 8 hours, and there’s no car swapping needed. For folks who aren’t going to be around all day, L2 is great.

    1. scott franco says:

      I agree but only if a significant number of such L1s are made available at work, since these are “all day camping” spots.

      I have never seen this done correctly. As in wire up 10, 20, 100 spots all with access to 110v. Otherwise it is worthless.

      1. Dave K. says:

        We have 80 120V parking spots and 3 L2 chargers here at Coca-Cola, works fine! Many of our EV commuters have 30-40 mile commutes. Most people just leave their car plugged in at 120V but if you really need it the L2s are available, so far it’s all free.

  5. Anthony says:

    My company put in EV charging stations… but they’re half a mile walk in each direction to get there from the main set of buildings on campus. Not fun when its 115F outside.

    I use them only when my Volt doesn’t charge overnight (grid voltage issues, me forgetting to plug it in).

    Meanwhile, my university put in EV charging stations in the staff parking lots, but after 5PM they’re open to everyone so I can charge there for my evening classes.

    1. At least you can pre-condition your Volt to a nice cool temperature … a nice oasis to walk to, vs. co-workers opening the door to a BBQ oven. 😉

  6. Dwayne says:

    I don’t think they will be needed once 200 mile AER EV’s become the norm ~ 2017

    1. Joshua Burstyn says:

      Technically you’re correct but even so it solves a psychological barrier for some.

      1. Brian says:


        This is more an argument against the proliferation of public L2s at malls, restaurants, etc.

    2. Spec9 says:

      Sure they’ll still be need. There will still be short range EVs due to the existing EVs and the people that don’t want to pay the higher price for a long range EV. And PHEVs will need recharges.

    3. If workplace charging is an amenity, there will be demand, even if PEVs have more than enough range to make a round trip. Should pay to use model be implemented then demand will become less.

      1. Spec9 says:

        I agree that the people should pay so that they don’t waste it but they could pay at a low rate . Something like 12 cents per KWH.

        1. Taser54 says:

          It would be simpler just to charge them a monthly fee for workplace access rather than track usage. Give them an access card.

    4. David Murray says:

      I disagree. First of all, not all EVs will be 200 miles range. Some will be, but definitely not all. Secondly, there is a boom happening with PHEVs as well. These will require more frequent charging.

  7. jmac says:

    Another thing is inductive charging.

    That means that you can park over a charger while eating at your favorite restaurant, or shopping at Wal-Mart, Costco, Home Depot, Walgreen’s or a host of other places.

    Your car basically has sex with a charging plate while you are goofing off having fun.

    No charging cords nuisance and your electricity usage is automatically debited to your bank account.

    No cords, no fuss, no muss, and greatly reduced range anxiety.

    Forget stopping at the gas station or charging Kiosk.

    1. TomArt says:

      I’ve always wanted to do that in public………

      In all seriousness, I think that inductive charging is the next big thing, but there are inefficiencies to work out, specifically alignment accuracy. If these chargers can be efficient while allowing for imperfect parking skills, then we’ve got something. Either that, or put one of those wheel guides in place like they have in some drive-through car washes.

      1. Mark H says:

        Auto inductive alignment becomes a freebee with autonomous driving in just a few years.

        Workplace definitely #2 and also helps sales.

        As for #3 being quick chargers along highways. If we had them at 50-100 mile intervals along hwy and interstate,(like Tesla is doing currently), it would compliment the wave of 200 mile batteries looking to happen in the next 2-3 years. A 300 mile trip with one 30 min stop in the middle would knock out a huge chunk of long distance commutes. Not all, but the vast majority traveling beyond that are flying and I for one welcome a 30 minute break in the middle of 300 miles. If a single emerging company (Tesla) can do it in 2-3 years, surely others can do the same.

    2. Spec9 says:

      This is just not practical at this time.
      -There’s no wireless standard
      -even after a standard becomes available, most cars won’t use it.
      -There are energy losses
      -Cords are not really much of a problem.

      1. Driverguy01 says:

        I’ve been living with my Plugless system for almost 3 months and the truth is, i dont miss the plug. Spiderwebs on that one! Efficiency? Gimmy a break! You probably all have 100w bulbs all over your house, and you dont change them so, a 15% loss is not all that bad. We were driving 20% efficiency cars for 100 years after all. Baby steps and we’ll get better efficiency, hopefully.
        A Plugless system has a lot of advantages, universality could easely be one of them from intelligent systems that would detect your car’s system and start charging at the right frequency, rate, car id detected, bill sent to owner. What’s the problem?
        Plugs dont look like a problem right now, but in a few years, when 50% drive electric? Seriously, plugs are allright but you have to live with a wireless system to understand the convenience of it. It does not need to be ultra fast, L2 is fine for everyday use. As for parking in the right spot, i bet all of you can park on a dime and do so every time you get home, and within 6 inches, every day, every single time. That’s well within the allowed 8 by 10 inches sweetspot my system accepts. I’ve missed it twice in 3 months.
        I am still amazed by the naysayers about wireless. Pionners like you guys, like i concider myself to be
        EVwise, should see that it’s the most probable outcome, not the only one, but the most probable, even with it’s flaws. There will be times when pluging is better, fast charging is probably one of them. But for everyday charging, Intelligent Universal Wireless EVSE will win the popular vote and i will get my wish of clean parking spaces with only little induction pads to drive over.
        I remember reading the next gen Leaf to get wireless and BMW and MB and…..

        1. Brian says:

          I’m glad it’s working out for you. As I’ve always said, wireless charging will have a place, but it won’t be in my garage.

          For one thing, I have kids, so half the year I cannot park in my garage. It is full of bicycles, powerwheels, etc. So I park just outside. This is no problem with a plug, as I simply feed it through the milk door and plug in. If I had a wireless pod, I’d be SOL. As an extension, this even applies to many of my neighbors without kids. Many people in Syracuse buy screen doors for their garages and turn them into pseudo porches during the summer. Don’t ask me why, I’m not a native 😉

          There’s also the issue of snow. Here in Syracuse, we get a lot of snow – more than any other large city in the US in fact (117″ / year on average). Unless these things are flush with the pavement, how will a snow plow not destroy them? This isn’t unsolvable, but it certainly increases the cost of installation. I’ll take 3x the number of plugs at a public location, thank you.

          There is the issue of efficiency but frankly this doesn’t bother me as much. As you pointed out, we were driving at 20-30% efficiency for 100 years. Whether it’s 80 or 85% now, it’s still a huge improvement.

          Bottom line, it is so easy to plug in (much more convenient than gassing up) already, that the incremental convenience is not worth the price to many. In fact, it is actually a step backwards in convenience to me as I explained in my first comment.

      2. MikeM says:

        There is too a wireless charging standard!
        It’s called SAE J2954. See:


        On a side note, Qualcomm (maker of chips in your phone) has a wireless charging system that they say is tolerant of vehicle misalignment. It apparently uses multiple coils in the transmitter and can sense and compensate for offsets up to a point (How far? Don’t know). See:

        (click on “Technology” below the slide-show picture and then Alignment > Learn more

        Not sure whether they follow the J2954 spec. though

    3. Brian says:

      A solution in search of a problem. Also, please explain how this affects range anxiety compared to a plug?

  8. TomArt says:

    I have a hard time supporting workplace charging…the worst time to charge, when the grid is already on its knees…one of the big points about the advantages of EVs is to charge at night when there is excess electricity generated.

    Workplace charging seems backwards to me for that reason, as well as for encouraging short-range compliance EVs, long commutes, and legitimizes EV critics with respect to grid load.

    Take the train, the bus or the subway; carpool; live closer – those are the real solutions – as many of us already appreciate, EVs alone will not cure the transportation sector’s carbon footprint.

    The only way I can personally justify supporting workplace charging, and would consider advocating for the service, is if there are renewables on site, like solar canopies, rooftop solar, and/or some of those reasonably efficient and relatively compact helical wind turbines.

    1. Steve Strange says:

      Peak grid usage in CA this time of year is in the early evening, not in the middle of the day. So daytime charging isn’t as bad as it seemed before lots of solar has come online, and much more is on the way.

      But I do think charging at work should not be free, so as to discourage those who don’t really need to charge during the day.

      1. Spec9 says:

        And before early evening, the car is probably no longer drawing much out of the charger.

    2. Spec9 says:

      Meh. The grid is really not that strained. And you can limit it by only installing 120V chargers. Solar PV can provide a lot of electricity during the day so it is actually a good time to charge in sunny places.

      1. TomArt says:

        Yeah, I live in the Washington, DC, region where solar is viable but behind the times. Maryland is pro-solar, kind of, but Virginia is definitely not.

        1. Taser54 says:

          Virginia is pro-solar. You just won’t get a state subsidy.

          1. TomArt says:

            That’s not pro-solar…

  9. jmac says:

    Sorry, for the sexual reference in regard to recharging.

    What cordless recharging offers is something that NONE of the other refueling systems offer.

    Cordless recharging offers the very real possibility of never ever having to stop at a gas station or even an electrical charge astation, ever again.

    Imagine that !!!

    Never having to get out in 5 deg. F weather to get gas or to plug into an EV Kiosk.

    Pure sex….

    1. Mark H says:

      Here is a good Siemens video midway through the article describing your vision.

      1. jmac says:

        To Mark H

        Thanks for Siemens link. Not exactly what I was trying to say, but the idea of buried electric inductive electric tracks is already being used on about a half dozen bus lines.

        When the bus stops at a regular stop, the battery storage system contacts the buried chargers and the bus is renewed with energy.

        Actually, it’s a much simpler concept than stopping at a hydrogen station.

        The electric bus is charged at a regular stop as passengers are loading.

        No hydrogen stop necessary. Beats gasoline and hydrogen refills hands down.

        1. TomArt says:

          Yep, that’s definitely a good application to continue to implement and test and improve inductive charging.

  10. Spec9 says:

    Some people probably think they are getting a great deal if they get an EV so they can charge up for free at work. But in reality, it is very cheap for the employer.

    I say the Fed & state should give huge incentives for workplaces to install chargers at workplaces.

    1. Mark H says:

      I think a lot of the early adopters, myself included, will hold onto the plug, but I have little doubt inductive charging will come especially as it is added with auto parking features. I, like yourself, go for the efficiency. That is one of the reasons we drive an EV in the first place. Don’t underestimate the public’s seduction with convenience. For, me, I too will go for the plug as long as it is offered.
      Not sure how it will play in the workplace. I currently am happy with “any” type of workplace charge just to increase the awareness.

  11. From the linked article; “According to Navigant Research’s Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment report, more than 12,000 workplace chargers will be sold in the United States this year.”

    This year over 100,000 PEVs will be sold … implying 1:8 (~12%) of new PEVs will make use of workplace charging. While workplace charging helps, the 1/5-1/6 operating cost per mile for a PEV (plus other EV characteristics) are a larger persuader in an EV purchase?

  12. Advance Safety and Health says:

    Inductive charging from a safety standpoint carries some serious risk for people with pacemakers etc.
    Though this technology is already being used in tooth brushes, Cell phones and other household items…..there are many disadvantages when it comes to a vehicle…such as inconvenience,efficiency and slow charging.

    1. Driverguy01 says:

      You do know that you would have to crawl under the car to get any possible negative effects cause unless the car is over it, nothing happens.
      What’s inconvenient in wireless? You gonna miss your plug?
      Efficiency is at the worst 86% and at best 89%, compared to 20% for ICE. Verry acceptable to me.
      Slow? It’s L2 right now, good enough for me and the vast majority for commuting to and from work.

  13. Advance Safety and Health says:

    Advance safety & health
    Louisville, Kentucky

  14. David Campbell says:

    My employer (SunTrust Bank) in Virginia installed 8 solar-powered charging stations in a garage they opened a year ago. I discovered these 1 1/2 months after purchasing my Volt last year. Unfortunately, I am the only employee who uses these.