Stories & Features

Tesla owners get a charge out of working for Electronic Arts

Image of Daryl Gates and Kevin Perry of Electronics Arts Canada with two Telsa Model S electric vehicles
Electronic Arts employees and Tesla S owners Daryl Gates (in front of his black Tesla, left) and Kevin Perry (in front of the white Tesla on the right), get their cars charged while they work at EA's Burnaby headquarters.

EA employees charge their electric vehicles at work, at home, around town

Two days before last Christmas, Daryl Gates was doing some last-minute shopping at Burnaby's Metrotown shopping centre. The underground parkade was, as you'd expect, a madhouse. But Gates was able to park right beside a door, in one of the spaces reserved for electric vehicles (EVs).

He charged his Tesla Model S while he was picking up the last items on his gift list.

Prime parking spaces, for EVs only

Gates and colleague Kevin Perry are both owners of a Model S. In addition to parking at Metrotown, they've taken advantage of priority parking — and charging — spaces on Granville Island (right beside Edible Canada, across from the market) and outside the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. And in the heart of Yaletown, they use meter-free parking spots.

They also have the best parking spots at the office.

The two senior software engineers work at the Electronic Arts Canada (EAC) campus in Burnaby. The two vehicles are often parked side-by-side just outside the entrance to the main lobby.

Gates' Tesla is black, Perry's is white. "We kind of set them up like Spy vs. Spy," joked Perry during a phone conversation.

There are four parking spaces for EVs at EAC and each is also a charging station. They were installed at the end of January.

The low cost of installing charging stations

Putting in the 40-amp chargers was something the EA facilities team had wanted to do for a while, said company spokesperson Colin Macrae. The tipping point was when employees like Gates and Perry asked if the company was going to support EVs.

"Along with the other impact-reducing and green initiatives we've had, this was an important one for us to do," said Macrae. "We work with world-class employees who do world-class work. We need to have a world-class employment proposition for these folks.

"This is another way that we're trying to get ahead of the curve and deliver a really innovative service for employees."

Macrae discovered there are lots of incentive programs available to companies wanting to install EV charging stations for employees. In particular, a program offered by the Building Owners and Managers Association meant that for EAC, the four charging stations were cost neutral.

Charging at work, at home, and on the road

At home, Gates had an electrician install a stove plug in his garage where he plugs in his black Model S. Perry, though, has a Tesla charger, which is an 80 amp device that can charge his white Model S to full in a couple of hours.

But Perry says that the 40-amp chargers at EAC are more than sufficient. "You don't need to have a particularly fast charging solution at home or at work," he reasoned. "You spend 12 hours a day at home, you spend eight or nine hours a day at work," he said. "That's plenty of time to get a car charged, even at the slower rates."

At the public charging stations Tesla has been setting up — there's one about to open in Squamish and another planned for Hope — an EV can charge to full in about 30 minutes in one of the eight stalls. Perry does the math for me: "You figure a car would be coming and going every three minutes. Which isn't terrible relative to gas stations."

The range of the Model S is something around 400 km, and neither Gates nor Perry have made trips where they've had to worry about running the battery down. "The real test will be road trips," agreed Gates, who is planning a drive to Calgary in July. "That will be a test."

One that planning will help with, said Gates. The maps at PlugShare, for example, show the locations of most EV charging stations in North America.

Perry is looking forward to the day when coffee chains and restaurants are putting DC fast chargers in their parking lots. "That's what people really need," he said.