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US tackles EV charging at work challenge

Electric car charging at work should start to get easier for EV drivers in the US, thanks to a new Workplace Charging Challenge, from the country’s Department of Energy.

Working with 13 major US employers and eight stakeholder groups, the new challenge aims to help expand the access to workplace charging stations for workers across the country.

Chevrolet Volt in One of 10 New Solar-Powered Charging Stations at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center in Detroit.

In a speech made at the Washington Auto Show, which opened to the public on Friday, Energy secretary Steven Chu announced the new initiative.

“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.”

ChevyVoltNatPlugInDayDetroit001.jpgPartners for the challenge include; 3M, Chrysler Group, Duke Energy, Eli Lilly and Company, Ford, GE, GM, Google, Nissan, San Diego Gas & Electric, Siemens, Tesla, and Verizon. Each firm pledges to assess the workplace EV recharging demand and install charging infrastructure for at least one of their major workplace locations.

Ultimately the Workplace Charging Challenge aims to increase the number of US employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years.

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

Plug-in vehicles already offer significant ‘refuelling’ savings, costing US consumers the equivalent of around $1 per gallon to run.

One of the partners, GM, is an example of one that is more than ready to meet the new challenge. As the maker of the plug-in Chevrolet Volt car, the car giant is already practising what it preaches, with 239 workplace charging spots already available for use by its employees. That includes 10 solar powered chargers installed at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center in Detroit (pictured above).

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Faye Sunderland

Filed under: Electric cars

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