In Canada, a new curbside charging network is rolling out with chargers that can serve two cars at once. The system is targeted at apartment-dwelling drivers who don’t have a home charging option.
BP Ventures has invested $5 million in FreeWire Technologies, a U.S. company that specializes in mobile electric vehicle rapid charging systems. BP plans to use the units at a selection of BP retail sites in the U.K. and Europe this year. Germany is installing 350 charging stations across the country this year. Walmart is teaming up with Volkwagen’s Electrify America project to bring fast-charging stations to 100 Walmart parking lots by June 2019.
“The expansion of Walmart’s electric vehicle charging facilities with our ultra-fast-charging systems will provide consumers with a quick and convenient way to charge their vehicles in the time it takes to make their Walmart purchases,” said Mark McNabb, president and CEO of Electrify America.
Not to be outdone by Walmart, Target has also partnered to Electrify America to add 100 charging stations to its stores. The company plans to add 600 chargers within the next two years.
Electrify America was formed as part of VW’s reparations efforts after news reports revealed that VW falsified emissions information. As part of its settlement for the “Dieselgate” scandal, Volkswagen must invest $2 billion over the next ten years into electric vehicles. The company says 2,000 stations will be operational or under construction at 484 sites in 17 metropolitan areas and on highways in 39 states by the end of 2019 as part of its Cycle One infrastructure investment.
And then there is Tesla. The company’s “Supercharger” network of fast-charging stations serve only Teslas, which have a proprietary charging plug. With 400 stations in the US and 1,200 around the world, Tesla serves its customers in style; some of these stations include a coffee bar and a play area for kids.
The idea behind all of these charging options is that getting a fill of energy can be time spent more pleasantly and productively than just standing around watching the tank fill up. We could be driving, playing, eating, or catching up on some reading while we get a recharge. In other words, EVs are not just changing the way our driving habits impact the environment, they are changing the way we behave when the “tank” gets low.