How to Charge EV at Work?

May 24, 2023

Efficient EV Charging at the Workplace

One of the first questions you ask yourself when getting an electric car is probably HOW YOU WILL CHARGE it. Have you considered EV charging at the workplace?

Compared to a gas-powered car, where going to a gas station is the only option, EV owners have more choices depending on their lifestyle and living situation. One underrated option that is sometimes overlooked is charging your EV at the workplace. This can be a viable complementary solution, especially for people who can’t charge their EVs at home, instead of relying solely on public charging stations.

Around 9 months ago, we had the idea to install a charger at my husband’s workplace.

In this article, we will share how we accomplished that.

  • Benefits of EV charging at the workplace for employers and employees
  • Choosing the right EV charger
  • Installation and performance considerations

 

Why EV charging at the workplace?

Charging EVs at the workplace provides numerous benefits for both employers and employees, ranging from convenience and extended range to cost savings and environmental advantages.

In our case, we have the possibility to conveniently charge our EVs at home from our solar system. Read about the full experience of owning a Ford F-150 Lightning here in the Midwest including all the different options HOW and WHEN we charge it.

Additionally to home charging, we also charge the truck at the workplace whenever we can.

Here are some benefits to consider for EV charging at the workplace:

  • ConvenienceCharging your EV at the workplace provides convenience, especially for those who have limited charging options at home or live in apartments or condos without dedicated charging infrastructure. Employees can simply plug in their vehicles during work hours and have them fully charged by the end of the day.
  • Extended RangeBy having access to workplace charging, employees can extend the range of their EVs. They can start their commute with a fully charged battery, reducing range anxiety and allowing for longer trips without the need for additional charging stops. The availability of workplace charging can influence the choice of EV and battery size.
  • Cost SavingsWorkplace charging can offer cost savings for both employers and employees. Some workplaces provide free or subsidized charging as an employee benefit, reducing the cost of charging for EV owners. Additionally, charging at the workplace during off-peak hours may take advantage of lower electricity rates, potentially reducing the overall cost of charging.
  • Employee Attraction and RetentionOffering workplace charging as an employee perk can enhance job satisfaction and attract environmentally-conscious talent. It demonstrates the employer’s commitment to sustainability and provides an added incentive for employees considering the switch to electric vehicles
  • Infrastructure DevelopmentInstalling charging infrastructure at workplaces contributes to the growth of the overall EV charging network. It helps expand the charging infrastructure map, making EV ownership more viable and accessible for a larger number of people.
  • Environmental AspectsIf the employer combines offering EV charging with a renewable energy source such as solar, it provides the added benefit of charging when the sun is shining. This approach is of course preferred over relying solely on the conventional grid, particularly in Wisconsin.

 

Choosing the right EV charger

When choosing the right EV charger for the workplace, there are several factors to consider.

1. Charging Speed

EV chargers come in different power levels, commonly measured in kilowatts (kW). Higher power chargers can charge your EV faster. The available power at your workplace and the desired charging time will determine the suitable charging speed for your needs. Options range from

  • Slower Level 1 chargers (120V, 1.4-2.4 kW)
  • Level 2 chargers (240V, 3.6-19.2 kW)
  • Faster DC fast chargers (typically 50 kW and above)

I think for most cases a level 2 charger is the best option and this is what we went for. We picked the CSE1 EV charging station from Cyber Switching. In our case, we have a commute of 40 miles every day. With this level 2 charger this means we can recharge those miles within about 1-2 hours.

 

2. Connectivity and Smart Features

As soon as there is more than one user of the workspace charging station, it makes sense to look into charging options with advanced connectivity and smart features.

Smart chargers can offer benefits like remote monitoringscheduling, and energy management. They may also provide connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity, allowing for control and monitoring via smartphone apps or web portals. All of that has benefits for employers and employees.

The system from Cyber Switching can be connected to the the mobile app AmpUp.

This allows control of the following smart features:

  • Letting employees reserve and schedule charging sessions
  • Setting up charging rates
  • Accepting payments
  • Limiting the station to a specific group of people

 

3. Compatibility amongst different EVs

Make sure the EV charger you select is compatible with the charging capabilities of most vehicles. The majority of EVs, including our F150 Lightning, utilize the standard SAE J1772 connector for Level 2 charging. However, it’s worth noting that Tesla vehicles can still work with the appropriate adapter. This is especially relevant when considering Ford’s recent announcements that all upcoming Ford EVs will transition to Tesla connectors.

4. Installation Requirements

Consider the electrical infrastructure at your workplace. Assess whether the existing electrical capacity can support the desired charger’s power level or if any upgrades are needed. Determine if the charger requires hardwired installation or can be plugged into an existing outlet. Additionally, consider the availability of parking spaces near electrical panels or the need for additional infrastructure modifications.

5. Scalability

If you anticipate an increase in EV adoption or expansion of charging infrastructure in the future, consider chargers that allow for scalability and easy installation of multiple units.

The Cyber Switching solution can be scaled up easily once the EV adoption increases at the workplace.