Need Electric-Car Charging At Work? Here’s How To Get It

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Portland CHAdeMO quick-charging station (publicly accessible)

Portland CHAdeMO quick-charging station (publicly accessible)

You’ve decided to take the plunge and buy an all-electric or plug-in car, and you want to use it as your daily driver to and from work. 

Although your car gets a full recharge every night, you’d like to convince your boss to let you plug in at work, or perhaps even have a dedicated charging station installed in your company parking lot. 

But just how do you convince someone to let you plug into an available 110-volt outlet, or go the whole hog and install a level 2 charging station? 

We’ve compiled a five-point list to help you along the way, based on our own and others’ personal experience in successfully getting charging stations installed at a place of work. 

  • Find an Ally

As with any work-related issue, finding someone who understands your point of view is essential, especially with larger firms. 

Start with a colleague that you know well. Bring electric cars into the conversation and see how they react. Educate them on why you’ve chosen and electric car and what you hope to do with it. 

Home-made J-1772 adaptor for Tesla Roadster charging cord, built and used by Michael Thwaite

Home-made J-1772 adaptor for Tesla Roadster charging cord, built and used by Michael Thwaite

Be sure to tell them how little it costs to drive, how well it performs, and how much gasoline you’re saving. Offer them a ride.

Essentially, if you can successfully create an electric-car buzz from the people you work with, convincing higher level management becomes easier, especially if you have a line manager who supports you.

Essentially, the more allies you can pool, the better. If management is presented with a well-supported, cogent argument, they’re more likely to agree to helping you out. 

If you work in a large enough firm with a fleet car pool, finding an ally there may help your cause no end. Could your firm buy some electric cars of its own, requiring the firm to install corporate chargers? 

But whatever you do in your ally-building process, do not portray your  desire for a charging station as a free perk or something that you have a right to as an electric car driver. You don’t, and pretending you do will only alienate your co-workers.

  • Survey The Area

Before you make a formal request to install a charging point, it’s essential that you do some groundwork to figure out where the best place will be to install a charging point. 

Walk around your company parking lot, and identify where the best place is to install a charging station or 110-volt outlet. 

Houston's Tranquility Park Garage with GRIDbot charging stations

Houston's Tranquility Park Garage with GRIDbot charging stations

Ideally, this should be somewhere near existing power supplies, and not anywhere where there is existing priority parking, such as handicapped or management-reserved spaces.

Try and come up with several different options, including one or two that are in a prominent enough position that they will be noticed by visitors as they park. 

  • Find Other Companies Who Have Done It

If you can, find other companies where charging stations have been installed. 

Ask them of their experiences, making a note of how the charging stations have improved the company’s reputation as a green, forward thinking firm. 

Also try to find out how much the installation cost, and the decision-making process that went into the firm’s decision to support plug-in cars. 

The more information you can obtain from other firms -- especially rival ones -- helps your case to argue for a charging station at your place of work.

 

Polar Network Charging Stations

Polar Network Charging Stations

  • Research Incentives

Depending on where you live, the firm you work for may even be able to claim local, state or federal incentives to help pay for part or all of a charging station. 

Firms which install charging stations for employee or public use may also be eligible to claim additional points for LEED certification, giving them extra, approved green credentials.

Be sure to also research the financial incentives that a charging station can bring.

If the company parking lot is public, or has a public area, charging stations from firms like ChargePoint have included functionality to let your firm charge for electricity, presenting an additional revenue stream to the company. 

Be aware however, that the financial gains from charging customers for electricity may not be as worthwhile as the kudos and reputation that comes from offering free charging. 

  • Present a Fully-Finished Proposal

Once you’ve done your research, take some time to create a full presentation, firstly to an ally within the company, and then to whoever is responsible for making the final decision. 

Be sure to include approximate costs, benefits and basic information about electric car technology. 

car2go Smart ForTwo Electric Drive charging at San Diego Automotive Museum

car2go Smart ForTwo Electric Drive charging at San Diego Automotive Museum

If you can, offer several potential charging station manufacturers, allowing management a variety of different options at different costs.

Make sure that you reiterate that a charging station won’t just cost the company money, but will improve its green credentials, improve its reputation, and provide a valuable service to employees and customers. 

That final point is particularly relevant when it comes to the positive press arising from installing a charging station. 

“I approached one of the owners of my firm explaining there would be good PR for a shellfish company to be one of the first to install a public charging station,” says Steve Marsh, who drives his 2011 Nissan Leaf 130 miles a day for his daily commute. “They agreed.”

Finally, ensure that your proposal is made in person to someone you believe will support your quest. Sending it anonymously to human resources, building management or someone in a department you don’t know will likely result in a negative outcome. 

Be aware that getting a charging station installed at your place of work may mean working your way through the company hierarchy, skipping a few levels of difficult management, or waiting several months for the corporate machine to churn. 

In the end however, if you prepare before you ask, and make cogent, appealing arguments, you’re more likely of a positive outcome. 

Good luck!

Have you had success or failure installing a charging station at your place of work? Let us know your stories in the Comments below.

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