Microsoft’s Electric Vehicle Charging Program Sees Sustained Growth

| Josh Henretig

ecar1In 2011, Microsoft launched its pilot program to install Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) around the Redmond Campus. The move was an effort to create an environment that welcomed increased usage of electric vehicles in the Puget Sound region. Two years later there are now a total of 11 EVSE locations on the Redmond Campus with 18 stations, and adoption has progressed consistently. In the past three months we’ve seen the greatest number of increases per month since the program began. The stations can accommodate both electric cars and scooters, so there are a variety of vehicles that utilize the service.

The Microsoft Commute team reports that overall charging sessions drop in the summer due to warmer weather positively impacting driving range, but they expect to see a record setting number of sessions this winter as charging usage increases.

More than 30 new electric vehicles are registered by Microsoft employees each month, however the exact number of EV drivers is difficult to determine as some drivers choose not to register their vehicle and use the charging facilities available. Due to growing demand and greater use, there is a plan to add more stations in the next 12 months.

ecar2On a national scale, adoption of electric vehicles in the United States has seen little growth with one of most widespread hesitations about electric vehicles being the range of battery life., Recently, we’ve also seen an increased attention on the lack of consistent standards when it comes to charging stations. This year, the U.S. Department of Energy launched the EV-Smart Grid Interoperability Center at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, in an effort to address the challenge and develop standards for equipment and policy. In addition to the standardization efforts, there have also been moves to support research and development of electric vehicle batteries, charging infrastructure as well as tax breaks for consumers. The Alternative Fuels Data Center reports that during 2012 the number of publicly available charging stations in the United States surpassed 7,000. As Microsoft and other electric vehicle charging programs expand, we look forward to monitoring their progress over time.

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