Biogen Idec purchased the charging stations with support from the Carolina Blue Skies Initiative, a project led by Triangle J Council of Governments (TJCOG), with $12 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The charging stations at the Biogen Idec campus will supplement the company's goal of reducing its environmental impact by encouraging employees to adopt an environmentally-friendly form of transportation. The charging stations will allow employees to completely charge their cars while at work. The ability to charge an electric car at work has been recognized as a critical factor in an individual's decision to purchase an electric vehicle and is expected to encourage early adopters. Employees are able to charge their cars at no cost to them as a company-provided benefit.
"Biogen Idec is proud to be on the leading edge of encouraging adoption of environmentally-friendly forms of transportation for our employees. By providing these charging stations at no cost to employees, we're pleased to be part of the larger effort to build out the necessary infrastructure for electric vehicles," said Hector Rodriguez, Director of Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability for Biogen Idec.
The benefits of using electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles are:
- Electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are less expensive to operate than a conventional vehicle. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, EVs usually cost $.02 to $0.04 per mile to fuel, compared to conventional vehicles, which cost $0.10 to $0.15 to operate. HEVs also cost significantly less (about $0.05 to $0.07 per mile) to operate.
- Both hybrid and electric vehicles reduce U.S. reliance on imported petroleum. According to the Energy Information Agency, the U.S. imports more than 60% of its petroleum, two-thirds of which is used in the transportation sector. Light-duty vehicles (typical passenger vehicles) consume 76% of the energy used by the on-road transportation sector.
- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an HEV will generally see a 30-50% increase in fuel economy, a significant increase versus a standard gasoline vehicle.
- Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions and potentially zero lifecycle emissions if renewable energy such as biomass, wind or solar is used for electricity generation. (U.S. DOE)
The Carolina Blue Skies initiative will expand alternative fuel infrastructure in North and South Carolina and improve air quality. Currently, 24 counties in North Carolina are in non attainment or maintenance for National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The initiative will benefit both states by lowering harmful emissions while creating local jobs.