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One Workplace’s Electric Vehicle Charging Solution

February 4, 2014

2013 Nissan LEAFUntil now, employees at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory were not allowed to plug in their electric vehicles while at the facility run by the U.S. Department of Energy ( the same department which oversaw the government grant program for home & workplace EV chargers).

Today, however, SLAC, based on the Stanford University campus, announced that it will allow employees to plug their vehicles into available 120-volt outlets for a fee of $15 per month which will be deducted from the payroll checks of participating employees.

For Nissan Leaf drivers, a full work day of charging on these Level 1 chargers will bring them only to 70 percent of capacity.

The SLAC story explains that it is considering adding Level 2 chargers later this year. These would allow employees to drive home with a full charges.

This seems like a victory, but it also underlines that not all workplaces are like Facebook and other high tech companies in Silicon Valley where Level 2 EV chargers ( and in some cases fast chargers) are commonplace and often difficult to find unoccupied.

What do you think of the SLAC solution? What is the policy at your workplace when it comes to charging your EV?

  1. EddyKilowatt permalink

    We’re doing something similar at my workplace (a research lab in Monterey County). Chargers will be Level 2, but regular users will need to pay a monthly fee which we intend to base upon an estimate of their kWh use. It’ll largely depend upon the honor system, but we’re a small informal place and this should work for the next few years as EV use grows gradually.

    • Julien Pierre permalink

      Assuming a 9 hour charge (8 hour work + lunch break), using only the 120V outlet, this may not bring a Leaf to 70% capacity if the charge is already low.
      It will increase the charge by about 42%, based on the 21 hours Nissan quotes for a full charge on level 1 – though the longest I have actually experienced was 19.5 hours.

  2. EddyKilowatt permalink

    I feel that Level 1 chargers in workplaces are OK, if they help to ease corporate fears about installation costs or “employees getting too much free electricity”. Level 2 is probably preferable, but better a Level 1 than nothing.

    Plugged into 120V, my Leaf gains about 5 miles of range per hour, so, 40-45 miles for a typical workday. For employees living 30-60 miles from work (self included), that basically enables EV commuting, which otherwise would be worrisome or impossible (for Leafs anyway). For employees closer than 30 miles, it reduces depth of battery cycling. And overall, it allows the employer to support EV adoption and gain some green cred, while not making it too tempting for folks to arrive at work with empty batteries, and leave work with them full…

  3. Paul Scott permalink

    Workplace charging does not need to provide 100% of the energy you use. Ideally, you charge at home, then charge at work, so half of your charge is gained at the workplace. The way this article reads, it suggests L1 charging is inadequate. In an 8 hour day, you should be able to get 40-50 miles of charge off of L1. If you commute farther than that, you live too far from work. You’re definitely in a tiny minority.

    • Alan Larson permalink

      “If you commute farther than that, you live too far from work.” Paul apparently doesn’t understand that people change jobs, or sometimes just job locations, and it often is not their choice. Moving is not a practical option, as owning a home may make selling and buying a more expensive one closer in impossible. Also, one may well be married to someone who didn’t have their job move.

      I work with several people who commute “too far from work”, but they consider it better than unemployment.

  4. If you can get 40 miles of range from eight hours of level 1 charging at work and your commute is only 30 miles, then it will get you to 100%. It’s all about how much you drive per day and most commutes in the US are 40 miles or less.

  5. ggpa permalink

    SLAC is doing a great thing here. HR managers everywhere, please take note, here is an opportunity to provide something very useful to your employees at minimal expense to the company.

    If SLAC (or others) want to go an extra step and give away the $15 of electricity instead of asking for reimbursement, it would be even better. In fact, many employers subsidize bus or BART passes, which cost them a lot more than $15 per month.

  6. Two ideas – first – with EV Drivers paying for the Juice, then Non-EV Drivers won’t be so upset, and second – there could be some form of year-end award – to the Department that has the most EV Drivers increase over the previous year! It could be in the form of a party/celebration the company put on, or a return of the fees paid that year to drivers, or a mix! That is – if they are trying to increase their numbers of Drivers getting off Gas!

  7. My company installed Blink network chargers in the parking lot. The cost is a touch high (currently 59 cents per kW) compared to charging at home, but they have the DC Quick CHarger that gets my 2011 leaf to 80% in TEN MINUTES. Yeah, DC quick chargers are crazy fast.

    I just found out that the Nissan Research Center is a few blocks from my office as well, I’ll take a walk down there to see it it’s actually free charging, which would be really nice.

    However, there are so many Leafs, Volts and Fiat 500Es around that most charging stations, especially the free ones will tend to be packed.

    Also Nissan has a program where if you lease/buy, they give you 2 years of free charging at any station. I wish I had that … but as it is I pay for the power at work.

    Glad to see that EVs are not pretty common (Oct 2014) whereas even 3 years ago, they were some sort of giant leap of faith.

  8. Ugh, I needed to edit that last comment to say, “Glad to see that EVs ARE pretty common” not “are not”.

  9. Reblogged this on Electric Vehicles of Greater Charlotte Area and commented:
    We have 2 level 1 chargers at our office but with a short commute, this is more than adequate. Level ones are fine for many short stops as long as there is always some place to plug in. I sympathize with people having longer commutes. I just wish our church had a charging station or at least an available outlet.

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