EV charging isn’t just for your garage anymore. To meet increased demand from electric-vehicle drivers for convenient places to charge up, national retailers are partnering with companies like ECOtality and ChargePoint to install charging stations in key markets across the United States.
According to figures published by the US Department of Energy, the number of publicly accessible EV stations had increased by 9% in the first quarter of 2013. This brings the current total of public charging stations to 5,678. At this rate, the U.S. should add about 1,900 stations by the end of 2013, bringing the total number of public stations to approximately 7,100. Broader availability of public charging stations will help alleviate concerns potential EV buyers have about range anxiety.
One-fifth of all charging stations are concentrated in five states. California leads by far with 1,207 stations as of the March data. Rounding out the tops five are Texas with 432 stations, Florida with 352, Washington with 326, and Oregon with 310 stations.
National retailers in these states, and plenty of others, are rewarding EV drivers with the ability to charge up when they are on the go. They’re hoping these drivers will spend more time in their stores and make return visits knowing they can plug-in and charge up while shopping.
Here’s our list of the top 9 EV-friendly retailers ranked according to the number of existing and planned charging stations.
1. Walgreens: With EV charging stations already at 365 stores and plans to bring that total to 800, Walgreens is the nation’s largest retail host of EV charging stations. Charging is currently offered at stores in Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Orlando, Portland, San Francisco, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Seattle, and Washington DC.
2. Kroger: The grocery story chain recently invested 1.5 million dollars to install over 200 Blink charging stations in 125 locations in key markets including Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles. Kroger has already installed 94 stations across 43 locations, including umbrella brands Ralphs and Fred Meyer. Plans to install 250 more are in the works which could bring the total to 344 stations.
3. Kohl’s: With 101 charging stations at 60 Kohl’s locations across the U.S., each store has one to four spaces designated for charging at no cost while consumers shop. The stations can be found in Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Texas, Florida, Virginia, Illinois, Washington, Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
4. Ikea: Partnering with ECOtality, Ikea currently has 30 charging stations installed across nine locations with 23 more stations in the works across eight new locations for a grand total of 53 stations.
5. Sears: The venerable department store recently partnered with ECOtality to offer Blink® Direct Current (DC) Fast Charger stations, which can charge up to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes, at five locations in Arizona and Tennessee. Charging is now available at 15 locations with 35 stations. Plans to install three additional ports in the near future will bring Sears up to 38 public charging stations.
6. Walmart: Partnering with ECOTality, Walmart has installed 34 charging stations across 18 stores in California, Oregon, and Washington. The Walmart locations were selected based on the “EV Micro-Climate process” taking into account traffic patterns, regional attractions, transportation hubs, as well as guidance from Walmart and input from regional partners.
7. Macy’s: Pilot project has installed 18 stations across six locations.
8. Meijer: With six charging stations across Michigan, this mega-store offers charging at no cost to customers.
9. Whole Foods: Partnering with ChargePoint, Whole Foods’ first EV-charging station was installed at their flagship store in Austin, Texas, in 2010. Whole Foods has chargers at three locations, with a total of seven stations across the U.S.
Sustainable America is working to help the United States reduce dependence on oil for transportation. Our goal is to reduce oil usage by 50% by 2035, and electric vehicles will help us get there. With national and regional retailers now recognizing the benefit in installing publicly accessible stations, we are thrilled to see EV drivers being rewarded for their fuel-efficient lifestyle choices.