Sun Country Highway electric-car charging station, Burnaby, BC, Canada [photo: Matthew Klippenstein]Enlarge Photo
Human beings are creatures of convenience. Our ancestors built tools to make jobs easier and more efficient, and we like things that make our lives easier today too.
Workplace charging is one of those conveniences for electric car drivers, and could be instrumental in helping sell more electric cars.
According to Navigant Research's Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment report, workplace charger sales could number 12,000 by the end of this year.
By the end of the decade, that number will surpass 63,000.
Those volumes will be essential in encouraging more and more drivers to go electric, and it goes without saying that companies offering workplace charging will make life a lot easier for any employee considering an electric car.
Mark Duvall, director of Electric Transportation and Energy Storage at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), says that "workplace charging sells vehicles".
Navigant adds that workplace charging helps attract and retain employees who value corporate sustainability.
While there's no doubt that's the case, the ability for employees to double their effective daily range--avoiding any worries about driving home on remaining charge--will be an equal, if not greater draw.
Widespread charger installation at company premises does have its challenges.
We've covered before the concept of "charger rage", and its prevalence at some workplaces where chargers aren't numerous enough to charge every electric vehicle that parks there during the day.
Companies that can't quite offer chargers for every EV-driving employee will have to implement policies to moderate and fairly distribute their use.
Having a half-charged car unplugged is as frustrating as a fully-charged car hogging a charging cable, so policies that deal with both--and other charging conflicts--will be essential.
One option is to use smart charging stations that divide power between two or more cars. Eaton and ChargePoint both offer solutions that intelligently divide power between electric vehicles, and according to Duvall, such posts could be a cost-effective option for businesses.
Costs for the business could further be reduced by systems like Envision Solar's EV ARC--a solar powered, battery storage charging system that avoids the needs for mains-wired posts, or the need for trenches to be dug for cable installation.
It's likely some companies will contract an existing electric vehicle charging network to operate their chargers says Duvall, helping reduce ongoing costs.
And low-cost charging for companies means more chargers. More chargers means more convenience.
And as we know, human beings--and electric car drivers--do rather like convenience. Making charging convenient could be an big incentive to electric car ownership.
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