As consumers demand more sustainable forms of retail, charging stations promise to spread even more.
The availability of an electrical vehicle charging infrastructure is gradually changing the face of the automotive industry and creating new opportunities for retailers to engage customers.
Giant Food has begun a major installation of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at store locations in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, the EV charging infrastructure gained new capacity with the addition of Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores.
“Working with Volta, the industry leader in electric vehicle charging networks, installation of 60 EV charging stations will be completed by the end of 2020, and 200 are expected to be installed by mid 2021 as part of Giant's sustainability initiative,” the food retailer said.
Each of the selected locations will have two Volta charging stations — and each of those stations include “high-resolution, two-sided 55-inch high-definition displays,” Giant Food said. “Screens will serve as a point of shopper engagement, sharing featured in-store specials and promotions for Giant loyalty shoppers.”
Giant Food joins the trend of retailers offering charging stations as consumer adoption of electric vehicles grows. Whole Foods and Walmart are among the leaders of this trend. Walmart’s effort started about two years ago and has resulted in most charging stations being deployedat Walmart stores off major highways and in major metro areas. That retail chain has worked with Electrify America on those efforts.
More recently, Choice Market said its newest store, scheduled to open July 1 in Denver’s City Park neighborhood will have supercharging stations for customers with electric cars (along with fuel pumps for other automobiles). But that’s not all. Choice Market also said the new store in Denver will have a fleet of electric vehicles to fulfill orders from a mobile app and e-commerce website — a reflection of how two trends are coming together in the food retail world.
Meanwhile on the West coast, more than 150 miles of California's Central Valley are now supported by fast-charging stations for electric vehicles (EV) at three Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores locations. A partnership between Trillium, Love's alternative fuel business unit, and EV Connect made the expansion possible.
The Love’s locations are part of the California Electric Highway, a network of charging stations along Interstate 5, Highway 99 and other primary roads throughout the state. The California Electric Highway is part of the nearly 4,000-mile West Coast Electric Highway, which seeks to provide charging stations every 25 to 50 miles, thereby removing the angst some EV drivers experience when traveling outside the radius of their home. The initiative is funded through incentives and grants from the California Energy Commission.
The new Love's charging sites, which are located in in Ripon, Madera and Tulare, Calif., feature rates of 50 or 150 kilowatts and can charge up to four vehicles at a time. The charging stations, which include DC fast chargers and level-2 chargers, use EV Connect's EV Cloud, a software platform for managing EV charging infrastructure.
EV Connect provides the industry's largest open-standards EV charging cloud platform for managing networks of charging stations.
As for Giant Food, its new charging stations meet growing demands from consumers for a new type of commerce.
"Providing our shoppers and communities free electric charging services is part of Giant's larger sustainability efforts," said Ira Kress, President of Giant Food. "We are excited to offer our customers who opt for electric cars the satisfaction of quick and free charging while they shop. It's a value for our shoppers that also benefits the environment."