In January, the US Department of Energy launched the EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge, an initiative that encourages companies across the United States to offer charging opportunities to employees who own an electric vehicle. DoE hopes this initiative will spur a tenfold increase in the number of charging stations available at American workplaces over the next five years, thereby building the infrastructure needed to support widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).
This initiative also ties into President Obama’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. Launched in 2012, this “Clean Energy Grand Challenge” aims to make the U.S. the first nation in the world to produce PEVs that can compete with their gasoline-powered counterparts on price and convenience, all in the space of the next decade.
At CSE, our employees are committed to advancing the adoption of clean energy both at work and at home. Many believe that PEVs offer significant advantages over gasoline-powered vehicles, including savings on fuel costs, added convenience from home refueling, and reduced maintenance costs. The ability to charge at work can potentially double the all-electric daily commuting distance for a PEV driver.
That’s why we’re pleased to support DoE’s efforts as an official Workplace Charging Challenge Partner. By assessing our employees’ charging needs and then developing a plan of action to meet those needs, we are making the possibility of an all-electric commute a reality.
We’ve already started the process of setting up a charging station at our solar research facility in Albuquerque, working with colleagues at the co-located CFV Solar Test Lab to provide a range of charging options for employees’ vehicles. What’s more, this charging station will be part of an experimental microgrid that’s being developed by our Distributed Electrical Energy Systems group in New Mexico.
Microgrids are small, self-contained networks that contain all of the elements you’d expect to see in a regular electrical grid: power generation, electrical load, storage, grid connection. Because they’re smaller, however, it’s easier to swap out individual elements and test new technologies and concepts — something we’re planning to take full advantage of once the system is online by researching how electric vehicles integrate into the microgrid.