Glancing at a map of electric car charging stations in America reveals a majority of them are located on either side of the country. Volkswagen-owned Electrify America has teamed up with retail giant Walmart to bring more charging stations to America’s heartland in order to give motorists who live far away from California or New York the opportunity to conveniently drive an electric car.
Electrify America has already worked with Walmart. Since April 2018, the firm has installed more than 120 charging stations at Walmart locations in 34 U.S, states, and the pace has recently picked up. Neither firm revealed how many additional charging stations they plan to connect to the electric grid, or precisely where they will be located, but sources familiar with the company’s plans told Reuters that about 180 chargers are planned to go live in the coming months. If that’s accurate, the investment will play a significant role in achieving a balance in the charging infrastructure.
Motorists who have driven across America will immediately understand why Electrify America chose Walmart as one of its partners. Many of the retailer’s stores are strategically located off of major highways, and they’re found in even the most rural parts of the United States, where other stores like Target, for example, haven’t gained as big of a foothold. Installing high-speed charging stations in Walmart parking lots gives motorists traveling long distances more places to stop and charge, which allows them go on a road trip without suffering from range anxiety.
Officially, Walmart agreed to the deal in the name of sustainability. The prospect of electric car owners venturing into its stores to buy drinks and snacks while their car takes a charge was undoubtedly an appealing part of the deal, too. EV drivers may not have time to tick every box on their grocery list, however. Electrify America is placing a focus on fast chargers capable of zapping about 20 miles of range into a car’s battery pack every minute.
Electrify America isn’t forgetting about EV owners who live in crowded urban centers. As it expands its partnership with Walmart, it’s also planning to place dozens of chargers in metro areas. When the expansion is complete, Walmart will stand proud as one of the largest retail hosts of charging stations in America.
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