Are Enterprises the Key to an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure?

As a car fanatic and green fleet representative, I recently attended the Detroit and Washington Auto shows. As you can imagine, there was a very large increase in the amount of electric vehicles (EVs) on display this year, enough to make you wonder why we don’t see more of these on the road.

At a recent NJ Green ICT Summit, Seth Cutler, GE’s EV Infrastructure lead product manager, discussed a few barriers to nationwide adoption of electric vehicles.

"The major barriers to electric vehicle adoption and building out a charging station infrastructure include range anxiety, cost and payback, as well as awareness and education."

In my view, "awareness and education" has risen steadily over the past years. EV marketing, media coverage and new companies have helped build the buzz, while natural events that cause fuel supply shortages have also provided critical lessons to vehicle owners' dependency on fossil fuels.

Seth noted that, "It doesn’t just start with building and selling electric vehicles… it also includes building a robust infrastructure for the owners of the vehicles."

"Range anxiety" is a key problem for owners, and even though battery prices are dropping and overall price (even with federal government EV tax credits) remains a large barrier for many gasoline-only vehicle owners who are seeking to make the switch.

So how can large enterprises such as Verizon provide powerful solutions to these problems?

At the Washington Auto Show, the Department of Energy announced the "Workplace Charging Challenge," of which Verizon is one of 13 partners. You can see the videos of keynotes by U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Verizon Chief Sustainability Officer James Gowen below.

What does the program help accomplish? Large corporations have building locations across the country, and if they install EV charging stations at various locations, they can connect the dots for an EV infrastructure across America. Imagine corporations replacing gas stations and mini marts with their own EV charging stations and retail stores.

In other words, if all of your favorite stores and your workplace had EV charging stations, would you worry about EV range?

As for costs, would this appeal to you? Enterprises could reward employees and customers for making ecofriendly EV purchases by providing them with free charging at these retail and workplace locations. So you could find free and convenient paces to charge up at no cost to you while at work or shopping.

And that provides shared value for all involved –- from free charging to customer support and loyalty, all for a greener tomorrow.