This seems like an odd place to put EV chargers.
After the federal government said it would spend billions on EV charging stations, the Electrify America charging network has committed $2 billion over ten years to improve Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education, and access. That means more chargers at more convenient locations, making it easier to own an electric vehicle. EA just announced new plans to more than double the number of charging stations at Bank of America locations by the end of 2023. BOA currently operates 172 EA chargers at 46 financial centers, which will balloon to over 350 chargers at over 90 locations.
"Electrify America is expediting the electric future by providing ultra-fast charging to customers in convenient locations," said Anthony Lambkin, senior director of operations at Electrify America. "Collaborating with companies such as Bank of America - who share our goals for a more sustainable future - helps to accelerate the transition to electric transportation and meet customers' needs."
While we are all for adding more charging stations, is a bank really the ideal location?
Seriously, when is the last time you went into your bank, let alone spent any significant time there? Approximately 65% of Americans use some form of digital banking (according to Statista), meaning there's little reason to visit a physical branch other than to take out cash. A trip to the bank takes what, 15-20 minutes tops?
That's fine if you own a 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 and can charge at up to 235 kW. Oh, and that's if the bank happens to have a 350 kW capable charger, which it might not, and if that charger is open when you arrive. That's a lot of ifs. And here's one more; If you own an EV that can't charge as quickly, you better hope that bank is conveniently located next to a restaurant or coffee shop.
In fairness to EA, the announcement with BOA came with an accompanying video detailing how the company is carefully analyzing where it builds new charging stations. "There's a lot of factors that go into choosing the locations for the chargers specifically," says Shelly, Schembre, Senior Vice President of the Westfield shopping center group. "We want it be easy for the customer to find and access the center."
Building chargers next to malls, shopping centers, and restaurants makes sense because it gives EV owners a place to spend time while their vehicle charges. Oddly, no one in the video brings up movie theaters, which we believe would be the ideal location to put chargers, even if they are only level 2. Drivers could park and charge their vehicles for two to three hours and exit the movie with plenty of juice. That's just our idea, but where else would you like to see more charging stations?