NIH debuts charging station pilot program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recently installed eight charging stations at its Bethesda, MD campus, as part of a pilot program to encourage use of electric vehicles. This program was just described in the biweekly employee newsletter, the NIH Record. Kudos to NIH for being one of the first federal facilities to provide electric vehicle charging stations at the workplace!


Each station is a standard 120V duplex outlet in front of a special parking space. The stations are installed in pairs – two spots next to each other, each with a dedicated 120V outlet. Each outlet is on a separate dedicated 20A circuit. The outlets are wired through an electronic meter to measure usage. There are four pairs of stations in employee parking garages around campus, eight spots total.  An electric vehicle should be able to gain about 32 miles of range while charging at 120V over the course of an eight hour workday.

The signage is very good at these spaces, to clearly indicate that they are reserved for EVs until 9:30 AM (this works well for NIH, where parking is at a premium).  There are four signs / indicators at each spot:

  1. A sign of a stylized EV with a plug and an outlet
  2. A sign indicating “ELECTRIC VEHICLES ONLY”  in large lettering.  This sign is a recent, great addition which makes the intended use of these spaces more obvious.
  3. A sign indicating detailed procedures in small lettering
  4. The spot is specially painted with “EV-xx” numbering

The stations are currently free to use during the pilot, sponsored by the NIH Federal Credit Union. Hopefully a mechanism will be developed to allow employees to pay for their own energy usage, so that the program can continue after the pilot period. EV owners are happy to pay for their own energy usage!

EVA/DC provided some guidance for this program in the type, location and usage of these charging stations. Thanks to Robert Winfield for coordinating the EVADC guidance, and for setting up an NIH Electric Vehicle mailing list!