HannahWCU
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:43 am
Location: Hickory, NC

Charging at work

Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:37 am

I'm new to the forum and electric cars ownership. That said, I was hoping some of you might be able to help me with some information. I tried searching for this but my search terms were too broad (work; charging). Currently my employer allow myself and a Volt owner to charge our cars at work (using Level 1 chargers, basically some 120v outlets near the parking lot). But they have no formal policy regarding this practice. I have been tasked with benchmarking other companies to see what they do and what policies they have. So my questions is; Do any of you charge at work and if you do, does your company have a formal policy for this that you can share?

Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
2014 Oxford White FFE

WattsUp
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Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: Charging at work

Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:37 am

HannahWCU wrote:Do any of you charge at work and if you do, does your company have a formal policy for this that you can share?
I charge at work all the time. There are at least 50 employee-owned electric vehicles in use where I work, and about 35 charging spots, with a 75/25 mix of Level 2 and Level 1 stations. There are also four Telsa high-power stations (not superchargers, just the same high-power Tesla EVSE you could install at home). All charging is free to employees.

The company installed a few ChargePoint stations (and painted the spots with big green and white "EV ONLY" graphics) a few years ago when the first employees starting arriving with EVs. As more and more employees starting getting EVs, some drivers began noticing that there were several wall outlets around the garage and began using them (with their own portable EVSEs) when all the ChargePoint stations were in use.

As this situation grew, I believe a breaker or two was tripped and so the company responded by installing official "Level 1 charging spots" (again, colorfully painted) with dedicated wall outlets, each on their own circuit, to prevent any overload issues. They asked employees to refrain from using any outlet that wasn't associated with an official charging spot, and "unofficial" use of other outlets has not been a problem since.

The dedicated L1 spots are great for people who don't need a full charge by the end of the day, or perhaps only need to top-off a partially empty battery over the course of working 8-10 hours. I know with my FFE, 10 hours on L1 can easily put back 50% charge. I often use an L1 spot, sometimes even when there are free L2 spots, because I know there are other employees who could make better use of the higher-power stations than I need to.

The company also set up an internal email alias to discuss EV related issues with HR and facilities, and a mailing list for employees to communicate about sharing the stations. The employees also set up their own internal wiki page to document every EV, listing each other's license plate, car info, and email address. That way, we are also easily able to get in touch with each other about our cars (to ask if charging is done, coordinate swapping spots, etc.). The wiki also documents some "etiquette guidelines", such as "charging door open" means "please plug me in after you", not to unplug a charging car, that EV spots are always first-come first served, and so on. (Employees wrote these guidelines.)

In general, sharing the EV spots goes very smoothly each day. The employees honestly respect it as a perk, and courteously coordinate with each other to ensure the perk is made available fairly. We certainly don't want the company to see us bickering over the stations in any way, and decide that they are more trouble that they are worth.

Recently, due to the large and growing number of employee EVs, the company installed several more ChargePoint stations (as well as the four Telsa stations), upped the number of EV spots from around 20 to the current total of 35, and also began providing valet parking for the new ChargePoint spots/stations. That is, just drop of your EV in the morning and the valet will return it with a full charge by the end of the day. All the original spots/stations were left for "self-service" employee use, for those who prefer to not use the valet. On the weekends, all stations are generally available for employee self-service.

(Oh, and btw, the ChargePoint stations are "locked" only for company use... every employee who wants to use them needs to authorize their ChargePoint account with a special code. The L1 and Tesla spots are located inside a garage to which only employees have access. This all keeps the spots from being used by the general public.)

Lastly, most of the time, non-EV use of the EV spots is not an issue, but parking (in general) is in very high demand at my workplace. I'm amazed there isn't more trouble with non-EVs taking the EV spots. But, the spots are very obviously marked and it is very rare that a non-EV takes an EV spot. This may also having something to do with the fact that the EV spots are filled up just as quickly (if not more quickly) with EVs every morning as the regular spots are filled with other cars. That said, I also think, fortunately, most non-EV drivers know to stay out of the spots and that, while not enforced in a Draconian manner, the company frowns upon non-EV use of the EV spots. (Besides, the valets will also park gassers, so that is the preferred answer for anybody who is unable to easily find a space.)
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Trey
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:27 am

Re: Charging at work

Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:03 am

My company (AT&T) has different policies per building. The building I am in (Atlanta) has no formal policy, but the property manager emailed me (which I saved) stating we are allowed to plug in anywhere we find an open jack. They are also installing 6 240v in 2015.
Trey
2015 FFE - Magnetic w/leather
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HannahWCU
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:43 am
Location: Hickory, NC

Re: Charging at work

Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:12 am

Thank you for the reply. I guess in California there is a MUCH better understanding and tolerance for EV's. Here in NC, EV's are a serious rarity. As close As I can tell there are about 1000 PHEV and BEV's registered in ALL of North Carolina (compared to over 116,000 in CA). So finding two at a business is rare (unless you work at a utility). The company I work for is worried about EV owners getting a benefit not available to conventional vehicle owners (i.e. Since your paying for his electricity, you should pay for my gas!). Of course my argument to those people is; go get an electric and you can get the electricity for free too! Truthfully I understand this and am not against paying a fee to use the electricity. But the company is looking for what others do before making a final decision on the subject.

Even before I bought my FFE, I fully supported allowing the Volt to charge at work. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. I think companies should encourage the adoption of EV and alternative fueled vehicles. Allowing employees to charge for free is just one thing they can do.

As a side note, the infrastructure is already in place for Level 1 charging. There are ten 20A 120v outlets around the perimeter of the parking lot. So there is no cost, other than the electricity, for the company to allow these to be used for PHEV and BEV's. And although I would like to see them filled up, I think it will be YEARS before any additional infrastructure will need to be added.
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WattsUp
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Re: Charging at work

Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:17 am

Trey wrote: ... the property manager emailed me (which I saved) stating we are allowed to plug in anywhere we find an open jack.
The probably works well when the EV parking is fairly "spread out" and a single EV is connected to each outlet at a time. "Open jack" really should be clarified to mean "open outlet" (and not just a single jack within an outlet).

Usually, a single outlet, even when it has multiple jacks, is connected to just one circuit. Thus, two 12-amp Level 1 EVSEs, for example, plugged into the same outlet will quickly overload the typical 15- or 20-amp circuit backing it. At my company, breakers were tripped in this way a few times when two EVs plugged into the same wall socket located near the adjacent parking spots.
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WattsUp
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Re: Charging at work

Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:22 am

HannahWCU wrote:Thank you for the reply. I guess in California there is a MUCH better understanding and tolerance for EV's.
Yes, that's probably true. The excellent level of support for EV drivers at my workplace probably also has something to do with the CTO being an early Leaf owner. :) His was one of the first EVs to appear at work.

Sounds like your employer is at least open to supporting EVs... I hope things work out for you. You should do everything you can to make sure you and your co-workers (including the non-EV drivers) don't bicker over the spots. And, hopefully, the non-EV drivers won't become too much of a negative force (unhappy that EV drivers get "free gas").
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2017 MS, Midnight Silver Metallic, Delivered February 2017
Use my referral code (http://ts.la/matt4377) to save $1000 on your next Tesla AND get free unlimited Supercharging!

HannahWCU
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:43 am
Location: Hickory, NC

Re: Charging at work

Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:25 am

WattsUp wrote:Sounds like your employer is at least open to supporting EVs... I hope things work out for you. You should do everything you can to make sure you and your co-workers (including the non-EV drivers) don't bicker over the spots. And, hopefully, the non-EV drivers won't become too much of a negative force (unhappy that EV drivers get "free gas").
Yes, that is what I am hoping for. I am lucky in that MY boss is the the Facilities Manager and was tasked with gathering information. I volunteered to gather the information for him and he accepted! I am trying to be as impartial as possible, but .... :twisted:
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michael
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Charging at work

Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:56 pm

My company has a lot of EV charging, but not enough, and there is a problem.

People show up in the morning and sit on the spaces all day...there is no policy requiring people to move once charged up. And there are a lot more PHEVs than EVs, so they take up space at 6 kW charging spots, and suckle all day long. Plus, with their little batteries,they are always hooking up...go to the bank, hook up...go to lunch, hook up.

We recently had a employee from another site (about 40 miles away) drive over in a Leaf. She needed a recharge in order to be able to get home, so they reserved a spot for her. Management doesn't seem to understand that there are many of us who need a charge every single day in order to get home.

I have been asking for dedicated, reserved 220 V outlets for EV drivers. Those who need guaranteed recharging can get Turbo Cord and have guaranteed access to 24 kWh over the course of a day. Those who want to compete for spots at the 6kW stations can do so. So far, management hasn't gone along with the idea.

The days when you could have a few charging spots have passed. Employers should either get fully behind providing access to charging and have policies in place to assure access, or they should say "have a nice day"
2013 FFE Returned after 3 years with 52,000 miles and battery down to 15.2 kWh
2014 Volt returned with 43,000 miles
2014 Volt 26,000 miles
1967 Corvette 427
1962 Corvette 327
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WattsUp
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Re: Charging at work

Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:39 pm

michael wrote:People show up in the morning and sit on the spaces all day...there is no policy requiring people to move once charged up. And there are a lot more PHEVs than EVs, so they take up space at 6 kW charging spots, and suckle all day long. Plus, with their little batteries,they are always hooking up...go to the bank, hook up...go to lunch, hook up.
Sounds like your co-workers have a little "jerkiness" in them, or are simply ignorant and/or lack sufficient compassion for their fellow EV-driving co-workers.

All I can suggest to you is (and perhaps you could take this initiative?) try to foster a sense of community among your EV driving co-workers. Try to develop a common understanding that some people truly "need" to charge more than others (those who have longer commutes).

At my company, aside from the mailing list and wiki page were EV drivers coordinate, the company hosts a quarterly EV meeting for all "stakeholders" to discuss major issues, plans, problems, etc.. Sometimes simple awareness can do wonders for people's behavior.

And, although I mentioned that perhaps some of your co-workers may inadvertently be behaving like self-entitled "jerks", I suggest you pursue any of these ideas with only a positive spin, highlighting the benefits of cooperation, and imparting hope for your collective EV futures. Do not attack or accuse... remind everyone that the charging stations are a perk that should be courteously shared.

If possible, it may help greatly to bring somebody from in a position of authority in your company (or a statement from them) that suggests the "charge at work" program may be "reconsidered" if employees are unable to cooperate in their sharing of the stations. Again, I would try to position this as a reminder -- something for employees to take to heart as co-workers... rather than a "threat" (although it would be). :twisted:

Also, again if you can get management buy-in, the suggestion that well-behaved EV-driving employees might also be rewarded with additional charging stations could also serve as a very effective "carrot".
2013 FFE, Platinum White, Delivered January 2013
2017 MS, Midnight Silver Metallic, Delivered February 2017
Use my referral code (http://ts.la/matt4377) to save $1000 on your next Tesla AND get free unlimited Supercharging!

michael
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:55 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Charging at work

Fri Dec 19, 2014 9:05 pm

Well put.

My attitude is that the company cannot afford to have people running around the parking lot, shuffling cars. It will be cheaper for them by a wide margin to simply provide enough 220 outlets for everybody. The electricity will actually be cheaper for them since more charging will take place in the morning.

I actually did propose this to the head of HR. Her response was "what? you expect us to add a lot of outlets?" I bit my tongue and resisted the impulse to point out that her office, like a hundred others, had a dozen outlets. 220 outlets are no harder to install than 110 outlets. Yes, please put in 50 outlets. You don't need to provide the EVSE, just a plain old 220 outlet. And charge me to use it if you must, just don't make me wait til 5 PM to plug in.

The PHEV drivers are the worst. None of them has a Turbo Cord or LCS25 since they are not dependent on having a charge. They just pull up to the 6kW evse and graze all day long.
2013 FFE Returned after 3 years with 52,000 miles and battery down to 15.2 kWh
2014 Volt returned with 43,000 miles
2014 Volt 26,000 miles
1967 Corvette 427
1962 Corvette 327
Awaiting a Bolt

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