Feds want to see more workplace EV chargers
DETROIT -- Widespread installation of charging stations at workplaces would boost the business prospects of electric vehicles, said Larry Nitz, executive director of electrification at General Motors.
That's easier said than done, though.
"As we have studied EVs in terms of vehicles that plug in, obviously the most important place to plug in is at home," Nitz said. "But the business cases change dramatically if you can plug in at work."
He spoke last week in a panel discussion at the SAE Convergence 2012 conference here, sponsored by SAE International.
The U.S. Department of Energy has been looking at ways to encourage workplace charging in recent months, Patrick Davis, the department's program manager of vehicle technologies, said at the conference. But he said it's too early to reveal specifics.
Davis agreed that workplace charging is important. Electrics plugged in at work and owned by trusted co-workers or neighbors are a good advertisement for those not yet sold on them, he said.
But Davis is fully aware of the challenges faced by companies, such as who will pay for the charging stations.
In addition, many companies occupy leased property so they would need permission from the landowner to install chargers, Davis said.
"Where you place it can make a big difference on what it costs," Davis added. "Where is it most convenient to put this?"
Moreover, Davis said, some companies have one location, but others have 500 locations, prompting difficult choices if the company can't install stations for all employees.
Davis said: "Workplace charging is important, and that's why we're starting to work on it, and the reason why we think it's so important is because only about 50 percent of the population has access to off-street parking where they can put a charging location."
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