Newsletter: Forget La Croix, this is the employee perk of the future

Want your employees to drive your corporate electric vehicles? Give them a free home EV charger.

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I don’t own an electric vehicle, so the best I could hope for from a workplace is a robust supply of flavored sparkling water.

An increasing number of employers go beyond that to offer workplace charging for those who do drive electric. But some companies are hiring Enel X to push even further and install electric chargers at employees’ homes as a perk.

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Enel X, by the way, is the electric innovations arm of the Italian energy giant Enel. This division got into battery storage, EV charging and other such growth areas, with a specialty in supplying them to commercial or corporate customers. 

Under the new program, companies that are switching their fleets to electric pay Enel X to install chargers at the residences of workers who bring their electric vehicles home at night. 

  • The first publicly announced participant is Biogen, a neuroscience company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts that is electrifying its 1,000-vehicle fleet. 
  • But Enel X hinted that other clients are investing in home charging as well.

This is a logical next step in the evolution of corporations to a carbon-free way of life. But it did make me wonder if this just ends up with workers paying more on their utility bills to cover company car charging. 

It certainly could end up that way. But Enel X tracks the energy flowing into the cars, which means that employers can compensate workers for it. Enel X also offers to obtain clean energy to match the fueling needs, reducing corporate carbon emissions.

A better way to cool

The Pacific Northwest is feeling the tail end of a bonkers, record-breaking heatwave. The way climate change is heading, whole regions that used to get by without air conditioning are going to need it just to stay alive through extreme weather events.

Contributors Justin Guay and Nate Adams argue that this is an opportunity to install heat pumps that both cool and heat. Those dual-use units cost a few hundred dollars more than versions that only cool, but they eliminate the need for natural-gas heating, which is a boon for climate policy.

The status quo doesn’t really work for encouraging the uptake of two-way heat pumps. It’s even harder to think through the implications in the midst of a heat wave. Guay and Adams propose policy interventions to equalize the price of cooling-only and heating/​cooling heat pumps so the market can shift to providing the latter.

Stay cool out there, Canary readers!

Julian Spector is an editor at Canary Media and reports on the rise of clean energy. He worked at Greentech Media for nearly five years, and before that he reported for CityLab at The Atlantic.