Editor's note: The headline on an earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the number of charging stations. The company plans to install 200 stations at 50 locations.
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. will install electric vehicle charging stations at more than 50 of its facilities in the United States and Canada, making it easier for employees to charge their plug-in vehicles while they're at work.
Ford will begin installing the roughly 200 charging stations this year and hopes to finish by mid-2014, said Mike Tinskey, Ford global director of vehicle electrification infrastructure.
The 220-volt charging stations will be at Ford factories, product development centers and marketing and sales offices around the country. There are already about 1,700 charging stations at Ford dealerships and company facilities in North America.
"We're putting them even in areas that haven't been associated with plug-in growth," Tinskey said.
"We think other corporations, like our fleet customers, will start to offer employee charging. We're hoping to be in front of that trend. Driving on electricity is much lower in cost than driving on gasoline," Tinskey said.
Charging will be free to employees for the first four hours. After that, they'll have to pay. Tinskey believes the policy will encourage employees to move their vehicles so others can plug in.
"We're offering four hours of charging. In reality, that cost to the company is about 50 cents. So the value to the employee is greater than the expense to the company to offer the perk."
Ford offers three plug-in vehicles: the Focus Electric, C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi. All can be fully charged in less than four hours when plugged into a 220-volt station. Charging takes much longer at a standard 110-volt outlet.
Ford's charging stations will be networked together so the company can gather data on electrified vehicle use.
Tinskey said Ford will use the charging station program as a "learning lab" to discover more about how consumers charge and operate their vehicles. Tinskey believes that employees who can charge up at work will be able to drive more miles on electric power only, which will save them money.
"We've got data coming from the vehicles showing people can get three or four trips per day taken on electric power only. That's charging about six times per week.
"We're trying to see if they're charging more than once per day. Can we get all of their workweek miles on electric power? Our hypothesis is the answer is going to be 'yes.'"
Ford said its customers have logged 30 million all-electric miles at a savings of 2.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide.