With plug-in electric vehicles becoming more visible and playing a leading role in the future of automobiles, there is increased demand for more charging stations, especially at work. GM has committed to increasing these charging stations to accommodate a growing number of EV enthusiasts at its facilities.
Beyond the environmental benefits, EVs eliminate hassles at the pump and save time and money. Although they still represent a small share of the auto market at 1.5 percent, sales rose 83 percent from 2012 to 2013. The movement is growing, as are the places people can charge up.
Right now, public charging stations are outnumbered by gas stations 6 to 1. There are nearly 120,000 gas stations across the U.S. compared to 20,000 public charging stations, with the majority located on the coasts.
But, according to research from the Department of Energy, you don’t need to find a charging station on every corner to get the most out of an EV. When available, 84 percent of charging is done at home. When workplace charging is available, 65 percent is done at home, 32 percent at work and 3 percent elsewhere.
That’s why we’ve installed 401 charging stations at our U.S. production and business facilities, with an additional 400 charge spots for vehicle development and testing. In addition, Chevy and Cadillac dealers have installed about 5,900 charge stations at their locations for owner use, with 17 dealerships using solar charging canopies.
On average, a person’s drive to and from work totals 40 miles—the same range as a Chevrolet Volt. And, that vehicle can fully recharge with a 120-volt outlet in 10 hours. The chart below gives an idea how much extra juice a driver can get out of the car per hour it’s plugged in—from a standard outlet to a 240-volt or DC fast charger.
Source: Alternative Fuels Data Center, Department of Energy
* Varies depending on battery size
Of all of our charging stations, 65 percent are powered by 240-volt outlets, which enable a full charge in less than six hours. Additionally, solar canopies power more than 20 percent of employee workplace charging stations, providing a cleaner alternative.
Bob Rowe, a senior labor relations manager at GM, charges his Volt at work. In fact, within the first six months of owning the car, he drove 3,675 miles on only 7.5 gallons of gas. That works out to be about 490 mpg.
Britta Gross, GM’s director of advanced vehicle development and testing, says that workplace charging is part of GM’s sustainability plan and that employees want to be part of the positive change.
“The key for any company is to take the first step and make it simple for employees to engage – in our case we started with outlets and free charging,” she said.