Workplace Charging for Plug-In Electric Vehicles
With proper workplace charging implementation, employers can help increase the convenience and affordability of driving electric for their employees. Workplace charging can also help attract and retain a cutting-edge workforce and demonstrate leadership in adopting advanced technologies.
Employers and workers can find information about workplace charging in Plug-In Electric Vehicle Handbook for Workplace Charging Hosts. For additional resources on planning, organizing, and executing successful and educational workplace charging events, see the Clean Cities Workplace Charging Toolkit.
During 2013–2017, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Workplace Charging Challenge partnered with organizations who committed to provide plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging stations to their employees. Many of the best practices, lessons learned, tools, and templates available here are based on the accomplishments of Challenge partners. To learn more about the Challenge partners and their impact, see the following annual reports:
- 2016 Update: A New Sustainable Commute
- 2015 Mid-Program Review: Employees Plug In
- 2014 Update: Employers Take Charge.
Evaluating and Planning for Workplace Charging
Determining if a workplace charging program is right for an organization often begins by gauging employee interest through a survey. The following resources can help employers determine how workplace charging may support their sustainability portfolio:
- Electricity Sources and Emissions – Explore how grid mix impacts the emission reduction benefits of PEV-commuting employees.
- Emission Reduction Benefits of Workplace Charging – Learn how workplace charging compares to other sustainable commuting options in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from employees' commutes, also known as Scope 3 emissions.
- Charging Station Credit for Green Building Certification – Evaluate how installing workplace charging can support certification by green building certification programs, including Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), Green Globes, ENERGY STAR for Buildings and Plants, and Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating Systems (STARS).
Employers should consult their utility, governing authority, electrical contractor, charging equipment provider, and other stakeholders early in the process to identify and discuss potential challenges. For example, special consideration is needed when determining whether to offer charging at workplaces located in leased facilities.
Installing Workplace Charging
Charging equipment delivers electrical energy from an electricity source, such as the grid or supplemental solar panels, to a plug-in electric vehicle. Level 1, Level 2, and direct-current (DC) fast charging each offer benefits and require different considerations for workplace charging:
- Level 1 stations are less expensive than Level 2 stations, but they charge vehicles at a slower rate and generally may only be used by one vehicle during the standard work day. See Level 1 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at the Workplace for more information.
- Level 2 stations are the most commonly used at workplaces and are capable of charging more than one vehicle per day. It is often necessary for organizations to establish policies that encourage employees to share the stations and move their charged vehicles after a certain amount of time.
- DC fast charging may be used as part of a strategy to alleviate charging congestion or to allow employees to charge in a very short amount of time. Often, DC fast charging stations are the most expensive to install.
Employers seeking to offer workplace charging must also consider costs associated with equipment, installation, maintenance, and electricity. Costs Associated with Non-Residential Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment provides information on the costs associated with purchasing, installing, and owning the equipment. Federal and state laws and incentives can provide discounts and incentives that lower workplace charging costs.
By evaluating goals and needs, employers can select the best workplace solution. Find available charging equipment options using Plug In America's Get Equipped resource and consult DOE's workplace charging Request for Proposal Guidance.
Organizations offering workplace charging can benefit from setting clear guidelines in the areas of administration, registration and liability, sharing, and pricing to help ensure a safe and successful workplace charging experience for all. Learn about how to manage workplace charging.
After employers have installed charging stations at a work site, they may wish to engage employees on how they can take advantage of this employee benefit. DOE's PEV Outreach Resources for Your Employees offers tips for educating employees about why and how they can take advantage of workplace charging. Ride-and-drive events may also be an effective way to introduce employees to PEVs and workplace charging.
Below are some examples of how organizations representing a variety of sectors have made workplace charging available to their employees:
- Local Businesses – Learn how three small companies—Hollywood Woodwork, MOM's Organic Market, and Posty Cards—have successfully installed charging stations for their employees.
- University Campuses – Learn how higher education institutions are promoting PEV adoption by faculty, staff, and students.
- Healthcare Facilities – Learn how hospitals and other healthcare organizations are improving local air quality by promoting employee PEV adoption.
- Utilities Power Change – Learn how New Jersey's Public Service Electric and Gas Company, and Southern Company's unit Georgia Power are launching workplace charging programs for their commercial customers.