Talks Business
November 2019

Ready to Add Electric Vehicle Workplace Charging?

image of ev at charging station

Want to add workplace charging? Ask MGE to help you meet employee and infrastructure needs.

Over the past few years, there's been an uptick in the number of companies contacting MGE to learn more about workplace charging for electric vehicles (EV). We help local companies of all sizes investigate, choose and install workplace chargers.

What's behind the growing interest in workplace charging?

  • More EV models are available, including crossovers and SUVs.

  • EV sales were higher in 2019. They were up nearly 81% from 2018 to 2019.

  • Consumer interest in EVs continued to grow. In a 2018 AAA survey, 20% of Americans—roughly 50 million people—said they'd likely go electric for their next vehicle. 

Throw in a competitive labor market that has employers jockeying to attract and retain the best employees, the interest in workplace charging is no surprise.

Reasons to consider workplace charging

  • They position you as a forward-thinking employer who prioritizes sustainability.

  • They can help differentiate you in a competitive labor market.

  • Employees are asking for chargers today—and even more likely to ask tomorrow.

  • Chargers are affordable.

  • Electricity costs are low.

 

Want to learn more about workplace charging? Here are some insights from our customers who shared their thoughts on EV chargers:

  • Sara Northouse, sustainability coordinator for Sub-Zero Group, Inc., has overseen two rounds of charger installations at the company.  

  • Tom Marmet, senior systems engineer and a member of the Green Team at GE Healthcare Madison, and Keith Hrobsky, facility manager at GE.  

  • Jay Sandvick, senior automation controls engineer at Madison Kipp, who's an EV owner and headed their charger installation.  







 

Four steps get you from "what if?" to "charging."


Step 1: Gauge employee interest.

MGE strongly recommends conducting employee surveys before installation and afterward; customers agree it's important. Surveys provide insights into employee needs and concerns, help determine charger location and make it easier to implement and manage a charging program.  

There is one caveat. "Employees are often more positive once the charger is in, so don't let initial concerns stop you," recommended Debbie Branson, manager electrification at MGE.

Northouse agreed. "If you're committed and passionate, communicate the benefits and show you're there to help, you tend to win people over."
 
It's not uncommon to see an uptick in EV purchases once chargers are installed. Range anxiety remains a worry for many and knowing they can charge at work is often the final piece in the puzzle.
 
GE Healthcare relied on MGE to help put together a quick user guide to address employee concerns about EV charging.

Want help with your survey? MGE has a free electronic survey, and we'll be happy to compile data and share it with you.
 

Step 2: Determine costs.

There are two elements to consider—the initial installation and ongoing expenses. The initial costs include charging equipment, installation costs and signage. Ongoing costs include energy, maintenance and investments to make future parking facilities EV-ready.

What will this do to my electricity bill?
This is a common question and will depend on what kinds of cars employees drive, how many employees charge their EVs and if the charger will affect your company's demand charges. Additional energy use associated with EV charging tends to be fairly low for most employers. Your MGE account manager can help estimate the cost.
 
The following costs are based on:

  • Charging at a Level 2 station (up to 6x faster than a Level 1)
  • Electricity cost of $0.101/kWh
  • 15-mile work commute
Vehicle Battery Charging Level Annual Energy Use Annual Energy Cost
Prius Prime 8.8 kWh 3.6 kWh 1378 kWh $139
Nissan Leaf 40 kWh 6.6 kWh 1040 kWh $105
Chevy Bolt 60 kWh 6.6 kWh 936 kWh $95


Step 3: Decide where to install the charger.

Count on MGE to help you navigate smart location choices that consider infrastructure, employee needs and meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. Northouse stressed thinking about the distance employees have to walk to access the chargers. Subzero underestimated the hassle factor of that walk in its first installation and kept it in mind for its second. GE Healthcare, which has union employees, ensured those with scheduled break times would be able to get to and use the chargers when they needed to.
 
Recognize EV chargers can be important to customers, too. "They want partners who share their concerns about health and sustainability," Marmet said. "These chargers send a powerful message."
 
Plus, customers who own EVs appreciate being able to charge while they're on-site.
 

Step 4: Develop policies and procedures.

Should employees have to pay for their "fill-ups"? To date, most MGE customers have opted to cover the cost, though that could change as more employees make the switch to EVs.You'll also need policies and procedures about who can use the chargers. The best way to do all that is to get affected employees involved. "It's better to get those policies taken care of ahead of time rather than trying to change behavior later," Sandvick stressed.
 
Some MGE customers use an online tool, Facebook, email, etc., to allow EV owners to connect and work out charging details. Non-EV owners like the forums, too. "It's created a great sense of community and I know of at least two EVs that were purchased because they could reach out to current owners to learn more," shared Northouse.
 
Is on-site charging right for your company? MGE customers with chargers all report a boost to their sustainability positioning and employee morale. Plus, they're an affordable way to make a difference.

Ready to learn more? Please contact MGE's Business Energy Line at 608-252-7007.