A few years ago, employers in Silicon Valley and beyond thought they were being progressive by installing a dozen or more EV charging stations for the handful of electric car owners in their ranks. These days though, some companies are facing the problem of too many electric car drivers and not enough electric car chargers, leading to incidents of “charge rage” at the workplace.
The Mercury News highlights the issue at places like German software engineering firm SAP, which installed 16 EV chargers at its Palo Alto campus in 2010 for its 1,800 employees. While just a few drove electric cars back then, in 2013 there are now some 61 EV drivers employed by SAP, and these drivers aren’t exactly getting along as well as you’d hope.
While there may be 48,000 public EV charging stations available worldwide, there aren’t nearly enough on many Silicon Valley campuses. Incidents of electric cars being unplugged while still actively charging have led to nasty emails and text messages exchanged by co-workers, and these are just the stories we’re hearing about. I wouldn’t be surprised if EV or plug-in hybrid owners have come to blows over charging port privileges, leading to the creation of spreadsheets, smartphone apps, and EV charging etiquette videos designed to maximize charging access and minimize confrontation. Still, EV chargers costs aren’t exactly cheap, and companies are going to have some difficult decisions to make.
Installing EV chargers at the workplace become a question of commitment, as more employees drive electrified vehicles, free at-work charging could become seen as another part of the benefits package. People are going to want access to that benefit, and it may come to the point where some companies decide the benefit isn’t worth the cost.
Are companies going to make that commitment to a small-but-growing number of tech-savvy employees? Or will this experiment with workplace charging fizzle and die?
Source: The Mercury News