Charging stations for electric vehicles are expected to sprout up at 800 Walgreens stores by the end year -- the most EV stations hosted by any retailer.
The announcement today by the nation's largest drugstore chain coincides with the final day of the Plug-In 2011 conference and expo in Raleigh, N.C., and a week of developments involving EV charger technology. That includes, as GreenBiz Senior Writer Adam Aston reported, GM's upgrading of OnStar to beta test a smart grid application for EVs; and General Electric, Siemens and Schneider Electric releasing the latest addition to their EV charger suites.
EV drivers who want to recharge their cars at a Walgreens will find one of two types of devices: a high-speed direct current charger, which can add 30 miles of range in roughly 10 minutes, or a Level 2 device that adds as much as 25 miles of range per hour of charge.
The first batch of EV chargers for Walgreens were installed in spring, beginning in Dallas, with NRG Energy as part of NRG's launch of its eVgo charging network, the first privately funded comprehensive setup of its kind. Some Walgreens in the Chicago area also were the sites of early installations. In addition to NRG Energy, Walgreen's vendor partners for the EV chargers are 350Green and the Car Charging Group, according to Tiffani Washington, Walgreens' media relations manager.
EV charger installations are in progress at about 60 sites in Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago. Other installations are expected in Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C, as well as Florida, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington state.
Ikea and Best Buy are among the chains installing EV chargers. However, Walgreens' plans to provide chargers at more than 10 percent of its stores place the company at the top of the list for retail hosts. The chain's 800 sites will represent about 40 percent of the publicly available EV charging locations, based on a tally by the U.S. Department of Energy, Washington said.
Efforts to build EV infrastructure are accelerating. The EV Project, managed by ECOtality and funded with a $99.8 million DOE grant, has a goal of installing more than 14,000 EV chargers in the U.S. by late next year.
Walgreens' other environmental efforts include:
• A solar initiative. By the close of 2011, more than 100 stores will host installations as part of power purchase agreements.
• Use of geothermal energy. Walgreens installed a geothermal energy system, a first for the drugstore industry, at a store in Oak Park, Ill., last fall.
• Automated resource monitoring. An energy management system tracks electricity, water, heating and cooling and waste management at more than 1,100 stores.
Image from Walgreens via Business Wire.
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