|MINI-E #250 Sipping On Some Electrons While I'm Working|
I've written on various websites that I just don't think that's necessary. I think a nice sprinkling of public charge points here and there will do just fine for now, until EV's really gain traction and we see sales of electric cars in the tens of thousands every month. I also think that the private sector(at least the smart ones) will jump on the opportunity to capture customers that drive EV's and install a charger or two in their parking lot. Let's face it, if an EV driver is looking for a quick bite to eat and they know that McDonald's has public chargers and Burger King doesn't, I bet they will stop at a McDonald's if there is one in the area. Even if they don't really "need" to charge, why not get a 1/2 hour boost or so while you grab a quick bite to eat. Also, if you do happen to need to charge, you know you can do so there, so they get a customer that they wouldn't have if they didn't have the chargers.
I know level 3 DC quick charge will be useful for long-trip highway driving, but we don't even have a standard and I think we are a ways away from seeing it available in any great numbers so I'm not going to really focus on it. For the most, I really think level 2 public charging is more important for the psyche of potential EV buyers, to give them peace of mind so they don't think they will be stranded with no place to charge than I think it will really be needed. It's mainly this reason that I am in favor of installing them, just not as many as I think some others feel is necessary and I hate to see public funds wasted by over-installing them in clusters where they will be underutilized.
Which brings me to the topic of the day, workplace charging. About six months into the MINI-E program, BMW offered the pioneers a second EVSE if we wanted one and had a use for it. I accepted the offer and installed it at my restaurant as did Cliff Saunders, a MINI-E pioneer that lives in New York who also owns a restaurant. I know what you are going to say "Not everyone owns their own restaurant and can install an EVSE there" and you would be right with that. However many of the other MINI-E pioneers were able to convince their employers to let them either install a 220v EVSE or simply charge at 110v. Charging at 220v is optimal, but even charging at 110v for a typical work day can add about 25-30 miles or range to your EV. That may be enough to give those with a long commute the extra cushion they need to feel comfortable and not stress out about making the return trip home after work.
I firmly believe workplace charging is by far the most important secondary charge point after home charging. Let's face it, today's electric cars with roughly 100 miles ranges aren't meant to drive 300 miles on holiday. They are however perfect commuter cars and can drastically reduce your fuel and maintenance costs for this driving. Commuting to work in an EV has been perfect for me and many others that I communicate with. Talking to your boss and explaining why you drive electric and how little the electricity will actually cost him/her will go a long way in helping them to decide to let you plug in at work. Always offer to pay for the electricity though, it's not fair to ask your company to pay for it unless they currently pay for your gasoline. There are obstacles, and many times it would cost too much to bring electricity to where you park and in that case you may be out of luck, but many times it is available and both you and your employer will benefit if you work together to come up with a way to allow you to charge while you work. You get the added security of a longer range and they get a happier employee, cleaner air and if they want to, I'm sure they can get some local press coverage about how they are encouraging green transportation for their employees and that's good PR for sure.
I wonder if the EVSE companies like AreoVironment, Clipper Creek, Columb and GE are approaching large companies that employ hundreds of workers at multiple locations. If not, they should be. My wife works at ADP and they have offices all over our area, with huge parking lots at every office and hundreds of cars parked at all of them. A big company like ADP could easily afford to install a bank of chargers at all of their locations, and could get an enormous amount of great public relations press coverage while inspiring their workforce to drive electric. They could even take it a step further and install solar carports that have the public chargers installed there. Big companies like ADP are always encouraging their workforce to represent the company in a professional manner and "do the right thing" here's a chance for them to lead by example.