OREANDA-NEWS. October 23, 2015. With news that Ford plans on installing additional charging stations for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, @Ford spoke with several employees who drive electric vehicle and plug-in hybrids about their use of the Employee Charging Network.

Doug Oliver, senior researcher, EESE Advanced NetComm Connectivity, has been involved in work related to previous electric vehicle projects, including industry standardization of charge cable interfaces for plug-ins.

Not surprisingly, he is a daily user of Ford’s electric charge station network, with a Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid as his daily driver. He originally leased a Focus Electric.

“The installation of these charge stations show that Ford is interested in showing its environmental credentials,” Oliver said. “We see this as a technology we can use going forward to reduce emissions and make a fleet that consumes less fossil fuel in the end.”

Oliver was one of the pilot users of the smartphone apps that provide access to the stations, shows session pricing and station availability. Employees can charge at no cost for the first four hours, and then pay \\$1 per hour afterward as the network is being rolled out at different locations.

He added that driving his Fusion Energi in electric mode while bouncing between home and work means he’s only had to visit a gas station to fuel up twice in the past two months. He said that when he went from driving a regular gas-powered vehicle daily to driving an electric vehicle, and utilizing the charging stations provided by Ford to augment his plug-in, he started saving almost \\$90 per month in fuel costs.

Kerri Stoakley, Internal Communications manager, Ford of Canada, said the Employee Charging Network helps make an otherwise long commute more efficient.

Stoakley said she based her choice of a C-MAX Energi on how she could make the most of her hefty commute — nearly 200 km (125 miles) round trip per day.

“I love the fact that I’m able to come to work and charge my car while I’m here,” she said. “I charge at home overnight, so that gets me almost halfway through my commute on full electric power alone, and charging at work means I’m able to get the same on the way back.”

Stoakley added that while the savings are nice, an added benefit is the feeling that she’s reducing her carbon footprint.

“For me, it’s about saving money and time,” she said, “and it’s really nice to be able to say you’re doing your part to help the environment.”

Ben Brown, who works on the Smart Mobility Experimentation team, drives a C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and uses the Employee Charging Network daily.

“I’m within distance to and from work to drive here on a charge, but I can’t make it home on full electric power without plugging in,” he said, “So it’s been great; I’ve been able to take advantage of the charging stations throughout the different properties and make it all the way home on a charge.”

Since installing the first workplace charging station in 2014, Ford and its employees have saved more than 6,000 gallons of gas, enough to fill a Ford Fusion Energi 428 times. 

The savings are quite significant, Brown said; according to the app, using charge stations at home and at work saves him about \\$1,200 per year in fuel costs.

 “I think the overall savings have helped me put more money toward further enriching my family life,” he said. “It helps me invest more into my son’s learning opportunities and experiences.”

Brown said he’s thankful that Ford provides these charging stations for employees, not just for cost savings, but for environmental reasons as well.

“It’s a welcome benefit,” he said. “It saves me money, but it also helps me reduce my reliance on traditional gasoline. The green aspect is definitely a benefit in my mind.”

Ford’s employee charge system is capable of diverting 70 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually when using green energy sources. More than 349 Ford employees are registered for the Ford Employee Charging Network, which has delivered nearly 92,000 kilowatt-hours of energy, enough to power up to 10 homes annually.

The Ford Employee Charging Network currently has 145 units available for employee use at 43 Ford offices and manufacturing facilities in six states and Canada. There are plans to install 20 more in the near future, with ongoing discussions to increase the number in the long term.