MetLife is one of the 19 new partners in the Energy Department's Workplace Charging Challenge. As part of its Challenge commitment, the company installed electric vehicle charging stations for employee use at 14 of its locations across the country. | Photo courtesy of MetLife.

The market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) is rapidly expanding -- sales in the United States have tripled as Americans purchased more than 50,000 PEVs in 2012 alone. To accommodate this surge in PEV ownership, many leading employers are joining the Energy Department’s Workplace Charging Challenge -- a collaborative initiative to increase the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging by tenfold in the next five years. Since we launched the Workplace Charging Challenge in January as part of the Energy Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, 48 employers have committed to providing PEV charging access to at least one of their worksites -- increasing the convenience of owning a PEV and providing employees with more options for charging their vehicles.

Today, I am proud to announce that 19 new partners have joined the Challenge, including: ABB, Inc., BookFactory, CFV Solar Test Laboratory, Inc., Cisco Systems, City of Auburn Hills, Dominion Resources, Inc., DTE Energy, Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, JLA Public Involvement, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,, MetLife, NetApp, Pepco Holdings, Inc., Samsung Electronics, Schneider Electric, The Venetian and The Palazzo, WESCO and Zappos. These new partners join an elite group of U.S. employers who are successfully implementing and expanding their workplace charging programs. For many of these employers, workplace charging is also a perfect fit into their larger sustainability programs as a tangible benefit for employees while also reducing the organization’s greenhouse gas emissions.

We have also added two new Workplace Charging Challenge ambassadors -- Drive Oregon and Advanced Energy. As ambassadors, Drive Oregon and Advanced Energy will work to support and promote workplace charging to employers across the country through activities like hosting workshops focused on educating employers about workplace charging and amplifying the success of workplace charging programs.

Many Workplace Charging Challenge partners aren’t stopping at charging station installation when it comes to promoting PEV adoption among their employees and others in their community. As part of our ambassador organization Plug In America’s “Plug In @ Work” program, Google recently held a campus PEV showcase and test drive where around 500 of their employees got to experience the thrill of driving electric.

Our new Workplace Charging Challenge Partner Map shows the progress we are making in building America’s charging infrastructure and demonstrates the availability of workplace charging across the country. This map includes partners’ charging station locations as well as a snapshot of what each employer is doing to implement a workplace charging program, including the installation of charging stations, employee education and other community-wide promotional efforts.

Here at the Energy Department, we are proud of the progress being made by the Workplace Charging Challenge partners and ambassadors in the four months since its launch, and we look forward to working with new partners and ambassadors to promote PEVs and further develop national charging infrastructure in the months ahead. This is just one part of a broad effort to help advance the development and deployment of electric vehicles. In case you missed it, be sure to check out the Department's announcement today of the eGallon, which gives consumers an easy way to compare the costs of driving on gasoline vs fueling with electricity.