Walgreens Plans EV Charging at 800 Stores

By David Thomas  on July 21, 2011

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Today, Walgreens announced plans to install 800 electric-vehicle charging stations at its drugstores by the end of 2011.

We have not heard of any other retail chain making this kind of commitment on this timetable. (Please correct us in the comments.) The company said the charging stations will either be a high-speed DC Level 3 charger that will add 30 miles of range in 10 minutes or a Level 2 charger that can add up to 25 miles of range in an hour.

The stations will be built and serviced by 350Green, and they will roll out in New York first. The city will have 50 Level 2 stations and 10 Level 3 stations.

Keith Jajko, a 350Green spokesman, told us these will not be free for Walgreens customers. The charging stations will have a different brand name and website to be launched at a later date. They will feature two types of pay options: Customers will either pay for a single-charge visit, or they can sign up for a subscription plan like a cell phone for repeated visits.

Sixty other stations are planned in the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas and Chicago. Walgreens is based in Deerfield, Ill.

This concept, especially the short charger, is a bit brilliant.

It follows the same sales success that gas station convenience stores have discovered. While folks are waiting for gas, they’ll buy a lot of stuff they probably don’t need. At least at Walgreens you could pick up a prescription, diapers or a greeting card instead of Slim Jims and Red Bull.

While the quick-charge ports’ ability to finish its job in a typical drugstore visit makes the most sense, vehicles like our long-term Nissan Leaf come standard with a Level 2 charge port, not a quick-charge port, which is optional. However, cars like the Chevy Volt and upcoming Ford Focus EV don’t have the quick-charge port option at all.

Most Level 3 chargers will be installed alongside Level 2 stations at the same location, and if not they will be within a half-mile of each other, Jajko said.

Last week, Ikea announced a pilot program to test charging stations at its furniture stores in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington. The program will start this fall and run through the end of 2012. Ikea did not release information on the type of charging stations or the cost. However, a trip to Ikea could take long enough to recharge a Leaf completely. We just don’t know how you’d get any large purchases home.

We list the markets for the Walgreens stations below:

  • Boston
  • Denver
  • Los Angeles
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Washington, D.C.

Select locations in:

  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Washington

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Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David