Ford has decided follow the lead of several other carmakers by installing electric car charging stations at its facilities.

The stations will allow employees to commute more easily on electricity, Ford says.

Ford will install charging stations at 50 of its sites, including offices, manufacturing plants, and product development campuses. Installation will begin later this year and will continue into 2014.

The service will initially be free to Ford employees for the first four hours. The company estimates employees will save $2.00 in gasoline each day.

About 200 workplace charging stations will be installed; Ford says it already has 1,700 stations at dealers and other company facilities across North America.

MORE: How To Get Electric-Car Charging At Your Work

Ford is far from the first maker of plug-in cars to install charging stations on its property, though.

General Motors installed a solar charging station at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant late in 2010, just in time for the start of Chevy Volt production. And other producers of plug-in cars have followed suit.

Solar powered electric-car charging facility, Mitsubishi headquarters, Cypress, CA

Solar powered electric-car charging facility, Mitsubishi headquarters, Cypress, CA

Nissan installed a solar-powered charging system for Leaf-driving employees at its U.S. headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, in 2011. It is also installing fast charging stations at more than 100 dealers.

Similarly, Mitsubishi installed a solar-powered charging station at its Cypress, California, headquarters back in July, 2011, giving owners of its i-MiEV electric minicar a place to plug in if they happened to be in the area.

On a broader scale, charging stations at work are becoming a major effort of electric-car advocates. Several major non-auto companies, Google being one, have also built extensive charging station networks.

Now, CALSTART, a non-profit green transportation group, is trying to leverage the early adopters' experience to get other firms to install charging stations for their employees.

As it has done with battery-electric cars, then, Ford in this case is following a trend--rather than starting one as it did with its EcoBoost line of turbocharged and downsized gasoline engines.


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