Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Plugging In At Work

I work for a large international telecommunications company and on January 12 2009, I decided to inquire about the possibility of plugging in my EV at work this coming Spring/Summer when my project will be completed. I was not sure what kind of a response I would get but was hopeful especially since the company already had a well developed green program within the organization and always seemed to be receptive to employees. To ensure that enough of an advance notice was given should work be required to provide an electrical outlet, I sent the following email to the department of Facilities.

Dear Colleague(s),

I own an electric vehicle that runs on batteries and is solely and fully electric. I plan on commuting to work with it starting this coming spring/summer (2009). The commute from my home to the office is 23 km. Traveling this distance is expected to drain approximately 60-70% of the charge. In order to replenish the batteries for the commute back home, I will need to recharge during working time while my car is parked, hence the need to Plug-In.

I would like to know if it is possible to arrange for a designated parking spot that is next to or near a 120 volt AC power outlet?

My batteries are charged using a 120 volt AC circuit (15-20 amps). Preferably, the power outlet should handle a 20 amp load. Charging is expected to consume very little electricity. If the cost of electricity is of concern, I am willing to pay for whatever is consumed. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope that you can accommodate me in the near future and encourage yet another green initiative.

Jim Karamalis

On January 19 2009, I received a reply from the local Facilities Manager with the following response.

Hello Jim,

I am responding to your request made via the Facilities helpdesk where you were inquiring about the use of an electrical outlet for your new electric vehicle.

Your initiative in acquiring this vehicle is to be commended, however at this point in time ******** will be unable to support your request.

First and foremost, we do not have readily available outlets to be used for this purpose, nor is there any immediate plan to invest in their installation.

More importantly, we would prefer to see what commercial infrastructure solutions will be made available, both to the public and for businesses like ourselves to support the introduction of vehicles like this. At this point in time we are not prepared to embark in a single instance solution without taking the time to understand what long term direction we should be taking as a company. Rest assured this is a subject of interest, and we will monitor developments in the future.

Best regards,

Director, Sourcing, Real Estate & Facilities Management.

Reading the response was disappointing. I was really looking forward to commuting to and from work in my EV. Many ideas are running through my mind right now like better batteries to extend my range or another location nearby to plug-in. New frustrations are setting in. Maybe a positive development between now and this spring/summer will permit me to plug-in at work........who knows.

Today is day one of the Barack Obama era (Inauguration Day for the 44th US President). Are better times ahead for us?

Inauguration Speech (Part 1)

Inauguration Speech (Part 2)

Inaugural speech (in text)



Anonymous said...

I can't believe they will not accomodate you. They are quick to reject you, however when you do succeed and make headlines; they will be quick to say they fully supported you.


Vincent Chiarelli said...

This is very disappointing, considering that many people are beginning to look for alternate energy source powered vehicles.

It may be an opportunity in disguise, though. I find that most companies are resistant to being caught with the logistics of implementing a solution on their own, but would likely be open to a solution if it was offered to them. They may even be willing to reward such initiatives.

Besides, I'm certain other drivers with combustion engine vehicles would not be unhappy to have access to outdoor outlets for their block heaters. ;o)

Dimitri said...


for what its worth, I got exact same response from my employer, also a large and supposedly "green" company. Bastards will only be "green" when it pays them, not you.
Don't give up, this might be blessing in disguise, try to spring for LiFePo4 batteries and get a more powerful charger, so you don't need opportunity charging, while doing a faster charge at home. That is what I am doing with my upcoming 2nd EV.

Nick Drouin said...


This was my successful experience. Don't give up.

You can always mention that when you will get asked by the media about plugging in at work, you will regretfully have to answer that company X was not able to accomadate you. Don't go for the helpdesk, talk/email the director of facilities, copy the director of PR and the environment commitee.

From: Nicolas Drouin
Sent: 11 juin 2008 11:15
To: Paul ---
Subject: Accommodations for an electric vehicle

Hi Paul,

I'm not too sure if I'm addressing myself to the right person, if not, perhaps you can steer me in the right direction?

I am considering building/purchasing an electric vehicle for my commute to work. I plan on using a vehicle that has the range to go back and forth to work without charging. However, given today's technological limitations, the longevity of the batteries will be increased three-fold if I can recharge at work. As replacing batteries prematurely is both wasteful and expensive ($3000), I was hoping that it can be arranged to plug-in my vehicle at ---.

I would be happy to cover any expenses incurred in installing a suitable outdoor plug (say, on a light pole in the back lot capable of providing 120VAC at 10A, or 240VAC if these are high-voltage poles) and the electricity consumption (estimated at 6kWh/day, assuming an industrial rate of 0.05$/kWh, this is 1.50$/wk).

I'd be happy to drop by your desk to discuss this.



Bonjour Nicolas

Il nous fera plaisir de te supporter dans ton projet, dit nous quand tu aura besoin de la branchement et on te trouvera une solution.