Workplace Charging Challenge Is On; Five Automakers Onboard

Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently announced 13 major U.S. employers and eight stakeholder groups have joined the new Workplace Charging Challenge.

The goal of the challenge is to help expand access to workplace charging stations for American workers across the country.

In a speech at the Washington Auto Show, Secretary Chu outlined the new initiative, which aims to expand the availability of workplace charging, increasing the convenience of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and providing drivers with more options.

“The market for electric vehicles is expanding dramatically, giving drivers more options to save money on gasoline while reducing carbon pollution,” said Secretary Chu. “These 13 companies are taking strong steps to make charging infrastructure more broadly available to their workforce – setting an example for others to follow and helping America lead the global race for a growing industry.”

The Workplace Charging Challenge is a collaborative effort to increase the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years.

The Challenge also supports the broader efforts of the Energy Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, announced by President Barack Obama in March 2012 to make PEVs as affordable and convenient for the American family as gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years.

Joined by representatives from several of the founding partner employers, Secretary Chu also announced the first 13 employers that have signed the Workplace Charging Pledge as partners, including: 3M, Chrysler, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly, Ford, GE, GM, Google, Nissan, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, Tesla and Verizon.

The pledge commits each partner organization to assess workforce PEV charging demands, and then develop and implement a plan to install workplace charging infrastructure for at least one major worksite location.

Eight stakeholder organizations also signed the Ambassador Pledge to develop and execute plans to support and promote the workplace charging initiative, including: California PEV Collaborative, CALSTART, Electric Drive Transportation Association, Electrification Coalition, International Parking Institute, NextEnergy, Plug In America and Rocky Mountain Institute.

The Energy Department also released the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge Blueprint, which describes PEV technology and deployment barriers, as well as steps to move forward in achieving the EV Everywhere goal. The full Blueprint can be found here.

More information about the Challenge can be found here.