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Politics of Charging at Work

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by mknox, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I've been charging my Model S at work (with permission of the company's President) since mid-March when I got the car, but am starting to hear through the grapevine of some disgruntled employees that aren't happy with this situation. "The company doesn't buy gas for my car" and comments about favoritism (I'm in senior management) seem to be the most common threads. Even a little "passive-aggressive" behavior like using a fleet vehicle to block the charger. Interestingly, we are an electric utility actively involved in promoting EVs. I guess I can see how employees might feel that I am getting some sort of "deal" or preferential treatment... until recently, employees were made to pay into a pool for the coffeemaker!

    For the optics of the situation, I have backed away from workplace charging unless I'm in a pinch.

    Curious to know if others who charge their EVs at work have run in to situations like this, and what kinds of policies might exist exist. Do employers charge for the use or electricity of workplace chargers?
     
  2. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Perhaps the best solution is to formalize a policy whereby all employees who have plug-in vehicles would be allowed to charge at work as part of a company-wide sustainability initiative. A couple of EV chargers could be installed (still a 30% federal rebate available). Then this would be seen as more of a move toward a greener attitude in general. In addition a $500 incentive (or whatever amount, don't know a thing about where you work) toward the purchase of a plug-in vehicle could be offered. Might quiet the grumblings and have folks considering an EV.
     
  3. GlennAlanBerry

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    I agree that coming up with some sort of company-wide program, with a decent number of EV charging stations available for any employee would be a good way to handle this. Does anyone else have a Leaf or Volt or plug-in Prius? Does Ontario have any rebates or other incentives for putting in chargers?
     
  4. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Currently, I am the only one with an electric vehicle of any kind (except for a couple of non-plug in hybrids in the lot). The charger I am (was) using is for our fleet Volt and is not publicly accessible.

    I am in the planning stages to get one or two 90 amp chargers in our publicly accessible lot (employees/guests) and the idea was to make it available to both employees and the public. There is a $1,000 rebate for charging stations and up to $8,500 for plug in cars, which I plan to take advantage of.

    I like the idea of tying it into our Sustainability program. I suspect the grumbling would still be present even if we had chargers in our public area.
     
  5. Objective1

    Objective1 Member

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    Is there a way for the policy to set a rate that EV owners have to pay? Perhaps it's too inconvenient to have a charge-tracking system. But perhaps at least discussing this openly would help. Not that I know anything about it in practice.
     
  6. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Sorry, missed that you're a foreigner!

    Yea, grumbling will never go completely way, but if you're getting special access now and no one else does, etc. that's sure to foment and create that sense that somehow there isn't equitability b/w sr. mgmt and the general population. I think your 90amp charger idea will, at least, level the playing field and the company at large can bear the brunt of the grumbling as part of the sustainability project.
     
  7. DEinspanjer

    DEinspanjer Member

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    Maybe you could purchase donuts once a week to bring in and put a note on them that this is a donation to the company that is approximately double the cost of the electricity used to power your car? :)
     
  8. SwedishAdvocate

    SwedishAdvocate Active Member

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    If you somehow communicate to all your co-workers (perhaps through an e-mail to all), that you have paid retroactively for the electricity you used, and will continue to pay for the electricity you will be using going forward. Shouldn’t that resolve the situation, and enable you to start using the charger again without having to deal with your co-workers blocking it off. I mean, it could be that someone turns out to be allergic to donuts… :smile:
     
  9. clmason

    clmason Member

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    In my opinion you should not charge at work unless you need the the charge to make it home. The whole point of the Model S range is that you don't need to charge mid-day. Plus, charging at the office promotes the false idea that electric cars are inferior (range anxiety). My 2 cents...
     
  10. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I think that's a valid point. I have an (approx.) 100 mile roundtrip commute... well within my 85 kWh pack's range, although I haven't taken it through a winter yet. On a couple of cold days in March, I was surprised at how much range was lost during the day (to be fixed in future software updates as I understand it) and how much higher my Wh/mi were. In the nice mild weather we have now, I easily do under 300 Wh/mi on my commute... in the March cold weather, I was almost double that.
     
  11. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    It's not available to other employees? Clearly, you're just the pilot for a sustainability program your company is about to embark upon.

    If it were, I think that should end the grumbling. There are many companies who offer EV charging, priority parking as a sustainability / employee benefit. The challenge will be to have enough stations for the employees who would flock to EVs once endorsed by their employer.

    To the other part of your question, I have seen charging stations at companies like Sabre and National Life Insurance. The charging is free, but they are located in private garage parks -- I believe they are Blink stations. They have frequent use during the day, according to Blink. Here's just an example from NLG on their policy:
     
  12. Raffy.Roma

    Raffy.Roma Active Member

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    I think that a clever owner of a firm or industry or organization, at least in an initial phase when there are only a few employees having an EV, should give free charge to employees coming to work with an EV as an incentive.
    Just my opinion.

    bollar just gave an example of free charging at companies. I didn't see his post while I was posting.
     
  13. strider

    strider Active Member

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    You will not be able to escape this until more people (at various levels) in your company buy EVs and charge at work. The optics are not in your favor. I agree that the best way to start is by getting a couple more chargers installed and by having a company statement that they are for all employees so that puts the decision on the employees as to whether they want to buy an EV.

    I'm a Director at my company and I specifically waited a few months after the chargers were installed before I charged. We have a number of Leaf's, PiP's, and Volts that all charge and they are owned by people at all levels of the org. Even then some people I talk to are surprised that it is free and have said, "so and so said you had to pay..." Good to hear people in Canada are just as petty as Americans :tongue:

    Of course the other option is to do what a company across the street did and that is charge $0.14/kWh on their chargers. So you'll truly just get the folks who need to charge to get home. But I know you have some regulatory issues around "selling" electricity.
     
  14. wycolo

    wycolo Active Member

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    > optics [mknox]

    Miss the optics, really miss them optics (not!). :wink:
    --
     
  15. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Keep in mind the @mknox is in management at the province's primary electric utility. With 5,800 employees, an all-staff email or donuts isn't quite the answer. His employer has one shareholder, the Province of Ontario, so it's all very muddled as to whether this is private or public.

    I think the idea of getting a regularized policy about charging at work is the right way to go. If everyone's got an equal shot, but you're the only one using it, it's hard for others to gripe. They will, of course, but at least there's not a special deal.
     
  16. SUN-day Driver

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    My company has free charging stations for employees at several office sites, but the problem is there are far more people wanting to use them than can be accommodated. Our internal EV drivers' mailing list is always filled with discussions about charging etiquette: don't stay on the charger longer than you need, plug in the next person waiting when you're done, etc. I don't charge at work at all because I don't need to and I don't want to get in the middle of all this contention for the chargers.
     
  17. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    @mknox
    If you were to estimate, (aside from the installation cost of the charger and the 'reserved parking spot') what do you think is the cost to the company of the services that you are using?
     
  18. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I work for a Local Distribution Company (i.e. a utility that services about 52,000 customers in one city and a township). Ontario is a bit of a mess with one large provincial utility (Hydro One) that supplies most transmission services and rural distribution along with about 80 local utilities serving urban areas. We have just over 100 employees at one location, so doughnuts, charitable donations and such actually could work.

    Yep. In hindsight I may have got the cart ahead of the horse on this one.

    - - - Updated - - -

    It's minuscule. The Voltec charger that I use can only deliver about 3 kW. Since we pay the distribution portion of rates to ourselves, the incremental cost of power (even at peak times) works out to about 39 cents/hour.
     
  19. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    So tally that up to a yearly cost, double it, and then donate that amount to something like an employee benefit of some kind. Then when people ask you tell them you pay $___ yearly to cover the costs. They don't have to know or care that it was a voluntary payment.
     
  20. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    I can see why people get grumpy over "free charging for the sen. mgmt" - it's only human.
    My advice is to help establish a payment structure at the work place. Anything voluntary doesn't work with a group of > 20 humans. Make sure that the payments cover the true cost of electricity on a worst case calculation (e.g. 3kW for 8 hours of parking per day), and that any excess is spent on expanding the charger infrastructure.

    I suggested to my employer to add chargers to the rented slots in the garage (no reaction yet :frown:). So any envious comments could be countered with 'they pay for that spot'.
    There are free spots, too, which are taken by 'first come, first served'. Free parking at the workplace is usually scarce here, and the spots are all taken before 8AM :wink:.
     

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