Workplace charging is taking off, but what does it take to succeed?

For car shoppers to take plug-in electric vehicles seriously, Level 2 and fast chargers should be installed at four locations:

  1. Homes
  2. Workplaces
  3. Starbucks
  4. Trader Joes

In all seriousness, analysts say that the workplace is the leading charging location for now. According to statistics from Ecotality, workplace chargers are used three times as much as typical public chargers. A recent survey by the charger company found workplace charging grew by leaps and bounds in the first half of the year – an increase of about 61% in the first six months of 2013.

The sales figures play into the interest and use at the workplace. There were more than 8,600 plug-in hybrid/extended range and battery electric vehicles sold in the US in June 2013 versus about 3,300 in June 2012.

workplace chargingAs of late July, there were 7,849 public and private non-residential charging stations in the US; 1,579 were located in California, according to the US Dept. of Energy. Workplace charging plays a significant role in the non-residential charging station networks in California, where Google and other employers are taking them very seriously. Google sees them as a key perk for keeping skilled technologists on their payroll and not losing them to a nearby tech company in Silicon Valley.

In its guide for employers interested in setting up workplace charging stations, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency presented eight steps to take for a successful workplace charging infrastructure….

1. Survey employees on their interest in a workplace-charging program.
2. Discuss findings and EV charging needs amongst employees and company’s decision-makers.
3. Examine different types of EV charging equipment options and compare the benefits and costs (Level 1, Level 2, and fast charging).
4. Determine who will own the EV charging equipment – employer, parking lot owner, or third party.
5. Look for any existing incentives that might be available for workplace EV charging.
6. Create a company policy on workplace charging.
7. Contract with a certified electrician to determine ideal locations, comply with local permitting, and install the equipment.
8. Install signage and alert employees.

Toyota had an especially good green car sales month in July

Toyota Prius - Sea Glass PearlHere’s how US green vehicle sales fared during the month of July….

  • Toyota had a very strong sales month overall with a 17% increase over June, bumping out Ford’s place on the ranking list for the first time since March 2010. The Prius family played a big role in the outcome with a 40% increase and sales of 23,294 units for its best sales month ever.
  • Plug-in electric vehicle sales were fairly strong during the month and are moving closer to the 100,000 units sales mark for the year – they’re averaging more than 7,000 a month but were down to about 5,900 in July.
  • The Nissan Leaf beat the Chevy Volt in sales volume – 1,864 units sold for the Leaf versus 1,788 for the Volt.
  • They’re running neck-to-neck so far this year with the Leaf slightly out in front – 11,703 for the Leaf and 11,643 for the Volt.
  • The Leaf has shot way up in sales this year – more units sold in the US in 2013 than during all of 2011 or 2012. The Volt has been keeping pace with last year but moved ahead – it’s now nearly 1,000 Volts ahead of last year’s 10,666 units sold in the first seven months.
  • The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid is still ahead of Ford – 817 units sold in July versus 433 of the Ford C-Max Energi and 407 of the Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids.
  • The Chevrolet Spark EV sold 103 units in July in California and Oregon only. It’s doing a little bit better than other “compliance cars” in sales – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV sold 46 units, the Smart Electric Drive hit 58, and the Honda Fit EV had 63 units leased out. The Spark was behind two other electric vehicles – the Ford Focus EV at 150 units and the Toyota RAV4 EV at 109. Yet, the Spark was only in its second month on the market and only in two markets.