A collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the private sector to expand workplace plug-in vehicle charging availability kicked off today. Known as the Workplace Charging Challenge, it supports the federal government’s larger EV Everywhere Grand Challenge and has 13 well known companies thus far signing on in a pledge “to assess workforce PEV charging demands, and then develop and implement a plan to install charging infrastructure for at least one major worksite location.”
The hope of the Workplace Charging Challenge is to increase the number of domestic employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years. Right now it is estimated about half of American vehicles parked overnight, plug-in or otherwise, have potential access to some type of plug-in architecture. Not so much for where employees park during the day though, which is the second most likely location someone parking will charge a car such as the Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt.
The partnership between the public and private sector for this initiative has netted some employers with rather large populations of workers. The 13 entities getting involved include 3M, Chrysler Group, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly and Company, Ford, GE, GM, Google, Nissan, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, Tesla and Verizon. These are being joined by eight so-called stakeholder organizations aiming to develop and execute plans to support and promote the workplace charging initiative. They include California PEV Collaborative, CALSTART, Electric Drive Transportation Association, Electrification Coalition, International Parking Institute, NextEnergy, Plug In America and Rocky Mountain Institute.
“The market for electric vehicles is expanding dramatically, giving drivers more options to save money on gasoline while reducing carbon pollution,” said Energy Secretary Chu in a statement. “These 13 companies are taking strong steps to make charging infrastructure more broadly available to their workforce – setting an example for others to follow and helping America lead the global race for a growing industry.”
The larger EV Everywhere initiative, meanwhile, looks to expand beyond just the workplace charging environment. First hinted at during a speech President Obama gave last March around natural gas vehicles, the goal of this challenge, though simple and straightforward in its thought process, could still be a tough and complex nut to crack. It calls for bringing together “America’s best and brightest scientists, engineers, and businesses to work collaboratively to make electric vehicles more affordable and convenient to own and drive than today’s gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years.”