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ChargePoint is Helping Electrify America’s Transportation

This is part three of a four-post series celebrating National Drive Electric Week (September 15-21, 2014). The Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Office supports plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) development and deployment efforts through the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, a 10-year vision to enable the U.S. to be the first nation in the world to produce PEVs that are as affordable for the average American family as today’s gasoline powered vehicles by 2022.

Americans rely on their cars to get them to work, school, and community events, racking up more than 12,000 miles per vehicle annually. As the average trip is less than 10 miles long, plug-in electric vehicles could easily fit into most people’s lifestyles. To set the stage for the introduction of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), the Energy Department supported the ChargePoint America project in 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. At the time, there were fewer than 500 public chargers. Now, between the investments made by the Energy Department, municipalities, and private businesses, there are nearly 20,000 chargers across the country!

Since then, ChargePoint, which headed the Chargepoint America project, has grown drastically as a company. Building off of the 4,600 public and private chargers installed in America through the Recovery Act, they’ve expanded to more than 18,500 public charging locations worldwide. ChargePoint estimates that with more than 6 million charging sessions, ChargePoint drivers have, driven 126 million miles on electricity, saved more than 5 million gallons of gasoline, and avoided 39 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. These savings are equivalent to taking more than 9,000 cars off the road for a year.

Much of this growth is due to customers installing their own charging stations with private funding after being pleased with the stations they installed through the ChargePoint America project. For example, Facebook installed 12 stations through the project for their campus in Menlo Park, CA. The stations have been so popular that Facebook has installed 47 additional chargers since then. Expanding beyond installations, Facebook has collaborated with the Energy Department’s Idaho National Laboratory to analyze PEV drivers’ charging behavior, helping the company maximize the use of the stations and share its lessons learned with other employers. Facebook is also one of the founding members of the EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge, an Energy Department initiative to achieve a tenfold increase in the number of employers offering charging at work in the next five years.

Across the nation, companies are working with ChargePoint to expand their PEV charging stations beyond the initial scope of the project. After receiving three chargers, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) purchased eight more. San Francisco Airport used its own funding to double its initial installation of 20 chargers. Other organizations and companies that independently installed chargers include Kohl’s, National Grid, Austin Energy, Coppola Winery, and the City of San Jose.   

From parking lots to city streets, public and workplace charging for PEVs has expanded drastically over the last few years, meeting the needs of employees, visitors, residents and customers. Although PEV drivers do most of their charging at home, ChargePoint and other charging companies are helping insure that they can maximize their “electric only” miles. 

Distribution channels: Energy Industry

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