Charging at Work More Important Than ‘Vehiclular Spontaneity’

By May 16, 2013 Blog

There were some very interesting data points in this recent post by John Gartner of Navigant on the PlugIn Cars website.

Here are a couple of things that stuck out to me:

  • EVSE attach rates (i.e., the percent of EV buyers who purchase and install a residential EVSE.  Early assumptions (circa 2011) by many of the companies that started out in the residential market were that 90% of new EV buyers would also purchase an EV charging station for their home.  As we can see these estimates were significantly inaccurate.  Current data shows that only 2 out of 3 new EV buyers are adding a charge station to their home and Navigant believes that number will drop to less than 50% in coming years.
  • Gartner asserts that the main reasons for the decline in residential Level 2 charging are because acceptable alternatives exist, such as workplace charging, lack of opportunity in multi-family dwellings, and more efficient Level 1 charging at home. Gartner further says that to hit residential charging projections costs must be lowered and installation needs to be simplified.   To sum that up:  Cost + Hassle + Acceptable Alternatives = Residential Level 2 Decline.

I recently leased a new Ford Focus Electric and based on my own experience going from the theoretical to the empirical, I think Gartner is right on target.  Many EV drivers – including drivers like me that are driving pure electrics not hybrids – don’t really need an EVSE at home.  With a little planning (i.e., know your available range and mileage requirements), remembering to plug in at home, and the ability to top off at work, people like me can avoid range anxiety.  Sure it would be nice to have a Level 2 at home to allow more “vehicular spontaneity”, but it’s not critical.

Based on EV Connect’s experience with our workplace charging customers like Yahoo! and Warner Bros. and data that we collect about the charging patterns of their EV-driving employees, we have seen that the average workplace charging event provides about 8-10 kwh (some charge sessions go as high as 15 kwh) of power to the vehicle.  For most drivers that translates to 24 – 30 miles (at 3 miles per kwh) – roughly 40% of the range of the Nissan Leaf and the Ford Focus Electric.

If a driver didn’t have the ability to charge at work, even with charging 12 hours on a Level 1 at home, he wouldn’t start the next morning with a full battery and his round trip the following day might necessitate a roadside assistance call – hopefully, his cell phone is charged!  If that driver “powers up” at work, however, they can easily recharge their battery on Level 1 overnight and have a full charge in the morning.

Providing EV charging at work has a long list of benefits to the company or organization (More info:  EV Charging at Work Makes Economic Sense), and if you can help your drivers “breathe easy” you’ll eliminate a little stress and help them stay focused on their jobs instead of wondering if they can run to the store before they go home.

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