Conduit for Success: Feds and Auburn Hills Collaborate on EVs

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Jan Waun - Chevy Volt driver and visitor to Auburn Hills City Hall yesterday

Jan Waun – Chevy Volt driver and visitor to Auburn Hills City Hall yesterday

It’s great to hear others tell the Auburn Hills Story.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the City of Auburn Hills was named a partner in the prestigious Workplace Charging Challenge.

The announcement was made by DOE’s Assistant Secretary, David Danielson, during his keynote speech at the Electric Drive Transportation Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

DOE staff told us that Mr. Danielson specifically highlighted Auburn Hills as success story in his speech to the industry leaders gathered for the event.  As you can imagine, it’s very rewarding for us to be recognized by ‘the’ experts in the field that we’re on the right track.

What is the Workplace Charging Challenge?  It’s a collaboration between the federal government and leading American organizations to accelerate the development and commercialization of the next generation of plug-in electric vehicles and its associated charging infrastructure.  What’s the goal?  Increase the number of American employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years.  This plan of action has now been become a key national strategy to provide a linked network of charging stations throughout the country for these unique vehicles.

Why do this?  Workplace charging provides visible access to fueling opportunities, so that potential car buyers can become more comfortable with the product.   These cars will fuel differently than people are used to seeing.  However, in the decades to come, it will become common place for drivers to charge their electric cars at night in their garage (while their sleeping) or at work while idle; similar to charging a cell phone.

In addition, employer-provided charging stations serve as an attractive employee benefit, enhance corporate sustainability efforts, and signal corporate leadership in adopting advanced technology.  This helps a business’s image and ability to attract good talent.

The City of Auburn Hills was invited by the DOE to become a partner based on its strong leadership on the topic.  When we started the project in 2011, many Auburn Hills’ businesses were unaware of how easy it was to plan for charging stations and how they were needed to support this new market not only locally, but nationally.  Today, it has become a routine and accepted part of our site plan review process.  It’s a pretty simple concept and smart urban planning.

EV charging stations added at Henniges Automotive

EV charging stations added at Henniges Automotive

Now, the next step for us as a City is to continue to be leaders and facilitators in the technology’s adoption nationwide.  It’s an awesome opportunity.