Workplaces Are Installing Charging Stations To Attract Top Talent

FEB 26 2014 BY MICHAEL CHIACOS 6

Lynda.com is a rapidly growing online learning company that offers thousands of video courses to help viewers learn software, technology, creative, and business skills.

Nissan LEAF Meets Free Charging At The Lynda.com

Nissan LEAF Meets Free Charging At The Lynda.com

With growth comes the challenge of recruiting, and the largest motivation for installing workplace electric vehicle (EV) charging stations came from the Human Resources department. Recently a top candidate for a managerial position included workplace charging as a key factor when making the decision to take the job.

“We now have a charging station, a new producer, and other employees have decided to purchase EVs too. You can’t put a price on that,” said Cindy Mayer, HR Business Partner.

Committed to sustainability, the company has taken steps to reduce the overall energy and water usage of its facilities. However, the lynda.com team knows that employee commuting to its offices in Carpinteria is a large part of the company footprint, so they support their employees’ efforts to make greener transportation choices.

Jacqueline Burge, Senior Director of Facilities at lynda.com, puts it this way: “lynda.com is committed to improving its sustainability and setting an example in the community. Our greatest opportunity to reduce our environmental impact is in the daily activities of our employees.”

Lynda.com's Juice Bar EVSE Can Charge Via Both L1 And L2

Lynda.com’s Juice Bar EVSE Can Charge Via Both L1 And L2

In addition to the charging station, lynda.com provides incentives for employees to carpool, use public transportation, and ride bicycles to work.

The company chose the Juice Bar, an EV charging station distributed by Green Garage Associates, because of its customizable design and security system. They also liked how it offered both 240 volt Level 2 charging and 120 volt Level 1 charging, so they could charge their four small neighborhood electric vehicles alongside employee cars. Since opening the charging station six months ago, three additional employees have purchased electric vehicles, and many others are considering them.

Lynda.com Has A Company-Owned Fleet Of 4 GEM e2s

Lynda.com Has A Company-Owned Fleet Of 4 GEM e2s

As one of the first Carpinteria companies to put in a charging station, lynda.com thinks the process should be streamlined for future businesses. The company faced challenges with the permitting process that resulted in delays. The charging station was subject to approval by the Architectural Review Board (ARB) because it was treated as a sign under local zoning laws. The ARB raised concerns over the color of the stations and the lack of nighttime lighting, but in the end they unanimously approved the charging station. This obstacle added two months to the project timeline.

Editor’s Note:  Michael first published a piece on workplace charging with Lynda.com at the CEC (Community Environmental Council), where he heads up their transportation program

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6 Comments on "Workplaces Are Installing Charging Stations To Attract Top Talent"

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SeattleTeslaGuy

I’m happy they did this but it seems a bit overblown for what they have done. Welcome to 2009. The days of putting in “a charge station”, putting out a press release and calling it good are past. How are they going to expand to meet the needs of additional employees?

Why do companies insist on playing cutesy with EVSEs? Juice bar? feh. Let’s show people just how hip AND green we are.

Their complaint about “streamlining the process” is a problem of their own making. If they had just put in a NEMA 14-50 outlet (or more like 10) then no permitting needed beyond a well understood and simple electrical permit, at worst. Plus, it would have been way cheaper and easier to expand in the future. Sigh.

Points well taken. This was the first workplace charging station in a small town of 10,000, not some massive Silicon Valley employer. The point of the story is more that companies need to put in charging stations to attract top talent, and all businesses should be considering this. Their next step is to put more, smaller and affordable charging solutions.

Scott Franco

The company I interviewed with yesterday, Silver Springs networks here in Silicon Valley, has about a dozen chargers. All of them were full. About a dozen more were “in waiting”, for a charge, they had established a convention of parking near the charger and leaving the charger door open with the idea that people finishing charging would plug them in when leaving. They were even using a custom “charge splitter” box that they told me would divide the charge current in half, but allow two cars to hook up.

As usual here when there are a lot of EVs in one place, I saw a fair amount of temporary license plates, meaning that they had just been bought.

The presidents of GM and Ford should come down to Silicon Valley and drive around for a while. The EV market is on fire here.

Great to hear, I heard Google has 600+ charging stations! I like hearing the solutions you mentioned regarding leaving charge doors open, splitters, etc. Level 1 charging can work well by allowing more, lower cost charging to occur without needing to head out to the parking lot to plug in/move cars, etc. This is especially pertinent on large campuses like universities where it can be a 10 minute walk from your office to the parking garage.

io

Silver Springs even got a quick-charger in their parking lot.
Like Evernote, Intuit, Facebook… all have L3! Amazing.

Yes I’m a little jealous. And yes, although this wouldn’t weight THAT much when looking for a new job, that’s a perk I’d definitely not ignore.

Once again, this article demonstrates something I’ve been saying for years: When it comes to the electrification of transportation, it’s not a choice between “top down” vs. “bottom up” change, but both of those plus “middle out”, i.e. mesoscale change.

We will increasingly see economic entities realize that they have a financial and/or political incentive to provide cheap or free EV charging for their customers and employees. Malls, restaurants, hotels, airports, doctor offices, public buildings, etc. The number one thing other options (like hydrogen) can’t compete with is the very low (relative) price of refueling stations and the fuel itself. For the price of one hydrogen refueling station, even without on-site hydrogen generation via, say, electrolysis, how many EV chargers could you install? And once you did, what’s the cost of the fuel per mile driven? EVs win both comparisons by a mile, and that advantage will likely only get bigger as the price of chargers continues to drop thanks to economies of scale.