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Infrastructure | Workplace | business

Why EVs should be part of your sustainable business strategy

March 11, 2022 | Wesley van Barlingen

As climate change becomes a reality, many countries around the world are working to limit its effects on our planet and its inhabitants. While sustainability becomes a focus for governments and society as a whole, many workplaces are, in turn, starting to think about their environmental impact and looking for new ways to reduce their carbon footprints. 

Transport is one of the main sources of emissions (next to buildings), both for individuals and businesses. Today, driving a combustion engine vehicle contributes 70 percent to emissions from transport. As such, one of the key solutions for addressing these emissions is electric mobility.

Consumers are already embracing electric vehicles (EV) and many businesses are electrifying their fleets as well. In response to this trend, more and more workplaces are installing EV chargers at their facilities. 

Beyond meeting an increasingly urgent need for charging infrastructure, boosting employee satisfaction, and being a potential revenue source, installing EV chargers is also an effective way to help reduce an organization’s carbon footprint.

Of course, electric mobility is not a silver bullet for eliminating emissions, however, when implemented along with other actions, it can be a helpful tool in any company's sustainability toolkit.

A corporate employee on a cognac-colored coach in front of a green wall, looking at a contract.

Carbon footprint and the role of businesses

Before exploring the benefits of electric mobility, let’s first take a wider look at a business’s carbon footprint.

To understand the impact any given action can have on an organization’s emissions, it is essential to assess where they are located and how they are measured.

What is a company's carbon footprint?

A carbon footprint is a commonly used tool to calculate the amount of greenhouse gases generated by an activity. Greenhouse gases are a key contributor to climate change, which has a multitude of negative environmental and social consequences, for example rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and more frequent and unstable extreme weather events. 

Calculating an organization’s carbon footprint enables it to identify and quantify where its emissions are located, giving actionable insights for reducing them. Beyond social and ethical considerations, reducing emissions can generate direct economic benefits for businesses. For example, quantifying CO2 emissions can help identify and eliminate inefficient or wasteful processes, reducing energy bills.

The exterior of an office building breaking the sunlight and showing the reflection of lush trees in the windows.

Obviously, reducing emissions is not a one-size-fits-all process. Different industries and companies have vastly different sources of emissions, which can be eliminated to different extents.

Regardless of the setting, however, a good emissions reduction strategy is holistic and addresses different aspects of the organization: for example, sourcing, resource use, waste management, and transportation. For the latter, electrification is an important asset in reducing the emissions from vehicle use.

How electric mobility can help reduce the carbon footprint of your workplace

Reduce CO2 emission of employees

Today, the majority of the global workforce commutes to work by car. Even in environmentally-conscious countries like the Netherlands, more than 60 percent of the workforce drives to their workplaces. In fact, daily commutes in the EU average 10 km (6 miles) and up to 64 km (40 miles) in the US, making them a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. 

At the same time, many businesses own fleets of vehicles, ranging from cars for business travel to vans and trucks for distribution. The use of these vehicles by employees significantly adds to the organization’s carbon footprint and can be a visible source of emissions that is easy to tie back to the company.

an aerial shot of cars driving on a busy intersection in a city surrounded by patches of green.

Already, governments are targeting emissions from fleets. The Netherlands, for example, has announced a new law mandating companies with over 100 employees to report CO2 emissions from business travel. Companies that exceed a certain threshold must reduce their emissions within a four-year period—making decarbonization an urgent focus. 

While other modes of transport can offer low-emission alternatives, where road transport is necessary, EVs are the most efficient way of reducing carbon footprints. Indeed, most EVs have more than enough range for the daily commute and emit considerably fewer greenhouse gases, or even none at all, depending on how the electricity was generated.

Help optimize the energy efficiency of your facility

Another important source of emissions for businesses is their facilities. In Germany, for example, 30 percent of carbon emissions are generated from buildings, mainly caused by heating and electricity use. An essential—and perhaps the easiest—step in reducing an organization’s carbon footprint is to increase its facilities’ energy efficiency.

the exterior of a large office building with greenish windows.

Using resources as efficiently as possible and minimizing waste can not only reduce costs but also limit the emissions from a company. For example, using renewable energy sources or generating it yourself, such as by installing solar panels, can create long-term savings and reduce the carbon footprint as a whole.

When integrated with electric mobility, renewable energy generation can be an even more powerful tool. By using some of the electricity to charge vehicles used by the business or its employees, a company can leverage cheap and emissions-free transport.

EV chargers and energy efficiency

Whether you generate your own electricity or rely on the power grid, installing EV chargers can be a catalyst for electric mobility, helping to reduce your carbon footprint. Today, most modern chargers are equipped with software enabling a number of smart features, ensuring charging can be as efficient as possible. 

How does EV smart charging work?

Smart charging unlocks a range of tools helping intelligently manage the energy used by EV chargers. For example:

  • Peak shaving ensures chargers maximize the available energy, while never exceeding a set current from the grid.
  • Dynamic load balancing can easily distribute the available capacity between different vehicles, depending on the needs and priorities of the business. 

Looking ahead, developments in technology are enabling EV charging to also provide redundancy in case of a power outage.

  • Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology will be able to intelligently charge or discharge an EV’s battery based on the capacity of the grid and the electricity needs of the business. Essentially, this will allow EVs to act as external batteries that can temporarily store green energy and supply power back to the grid.

Introduction to DC charging-Jul-29-2021-07-50-55-96-AM copy

Addressing climate change is unquestionably one of the greatest challenges society has faced, and all businesses must do their part. One solution for cutting emissions is the electrification of transport, which, when combined with energy generation and leveraging EV chargers’ smart functionalities, can be a simple, yet effective, tool for moving towards a sustainable future.

Read more about EV charging for workplaces

Offering EV charging at your workplace is not only a way to reduce your company’s environmental impact, but it could be an essential step to strengthen the relationship with your employees or customers. But understanding how EV charging can benefit your organization can be challenging. Our complete guide aims to answer all questions you might have about EV workplace charging.

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