Electric vehicle owners plug into charging at work

Electric vehicle owners plug into charging at work

Wells Fargo continues to expand its network of electric vehicle charging stations as more team members drive electric vehicles to work.

April 21, 2016

Jeremy Johnson’s morning routine in downtown Phoenix begins with a tap of his access card and a jolt — a 240-volt charge as he plugs his electric vehicle into a charging station inside the Wells Fargo Plaza parking garage.

The Business Banking relationship manager says, “Since my commute is 56 miles roundtrip, I couldn’t make it on electricity alone, without charging at work. Having a charging station at our building is good for the environment and my wallet.”

He’s not alone: 21 other teammates in his building now drive electric vehicles, too, and charge them at Wells Fargo.

Three years after launching the effort as a pilot for team members at its Home Mortgage campus in Des Moines, Iowa, Wells Fargo now operates 42 electric vehicle charging stations at 30 buildings in 11 states (Arizona, California, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin).

Rebecca Bechtold says the installation of a charging station at her building in Beaverton, Oregon, was just the nudge she needed to go electric.

“I have always made an effort to make our planet cleaner and healthier whenever I can and had considered the switch to electric for a few years,” says Rebecca, a supervisor for Wells Fargo’s Consumer Credit Solutions team. “When Wells Fargo announced they would be installing charging stations at our site, I knew it was time to make the change so I traded in my Honda CRV to lease a Ford Fusion EV. In addition to the electric battery, my vehicle has a 12-gallon gas tank. I’ve only had to fill my tank once in over six months even with several long-distance trips.

“I’m grateful to Wells Fargo for helping me reach my electric-only goal and encouraged to see several new EV users at our site in recent weeks. I hope to see even more charging stations installed.”

Rebecca charges up at the office
Rebecca charges up at the office.

Because of the new charging station at her workplace in Minneapolis, Lending Manager Leah Steahl says she and her husband, Phil, don’t have to carpool anymore.

“The purchase of the EV made it more reasonable for my husband and I to drive separately each day, which gives us flexibility in our schedules,” Leah says of her EV purchase in fall 2015. “We were considering fuel-efficient vehicles to replace our pickup truck, and Phil and I saw a few EVs on the lot. I knew Wells Fargo had installed EV chargers at our site and it swayed our buying decision.”

A 2014 U.S. Department of Energy study indicates that sales of electric vehicles are up 32 percent from 2013, and more than 250,000 are now on the road. In another sign of EV growth, Wells Fargo Dealer Services financed 40 percent more electric cars for its automobile dealer customers through their dealership relationships in first quarter 2016 versus the same period in 2015.

Ted Narveson, manager of Wells Fargo’s electric vehicle charging program, says the company is expanding its network to meet that demand – allowing team members to further share the company’s commitment to environmental stewardship.

That commitment includes reducing the environmental impact of Wells Fargo’s operations, volunteerism, giving to green nonprofits, and accelerating the nation’s transition to a “green” economy through investments in new technologies.

Leah and Phil say they love the flexibility her new EV has brought to their lives.
Leah and Phil say they love the flexibility her new EV has brought to their lives.

“With the market for plug-in electric vehicles growing every month, we’re seeing more and more employees with electric cars who need places to charge at work, and we’re preparing accordingly,” Ted says. “With 60 volunteer Green Teams and thousands of members across Wells Fargo already helping conserve resources, reduce waste, and promote environmental awareness, I’m not surprised the program has been well-received.”

Michael DiNucci, head of worldwide sales for ChargePoint, which supplies the hardware and software for Wells Fargo’s workplace charging program, says Wells Fargo’s footprint of charging stations is among the broadest nationally of its more than 4,000 corporate customers because of the company’s U.S.-wide presence.

Michael says about half of ChargePoint’s more than 28,000 charging ports for electric vehicles in the U.S. — the nation’s largest network — are owned by companies that offer employee-only use.

Grassroots effort

Ted says Wells Fargo’s program began in 2013 with a request from team members at its Home Mortgage headquarters in Des Moines. The bank started with two charging stations in Des Moines; two in Phoenix; four in Charlotte, North Carolina; and one in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

“Within the first three months, we had 36 team members saying, ‘I am driving an electric vehicle or electric vehicle/hybrid and want to connect,’” Ted says. “We’re now up to more than 200 drivers, and adding more daily as the cars get cheaper and more automakers add models.”

It costs Wells Fargo 55 cents to charge a car, which takes a little under two hours. Each 240-volt charging station can charge two cars at a time.

Ted says about 75 percent of Wells Fargo’s access requests come from team members who say they’re inspired by the free charging stations, tax credits, encouragement from other drivers, or a benefit that Jeremy in Phoenix puts atop the list: time.

“Being able to drive in the HOV lane cuts 40 minutes each day off my commute,” Jeremy says. “That’s more time I can spend with my son and family instead of being stuck in traffic.”

Wells Fargo electric car charging stations infographic
Contributors: Marcus Owens
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