Retail chains like Starbucks are now gathering points for EV owners.
Many of us are trying to figure out what to do with ourselves when we charge an EV. Sometimes, it means sitting on your phone in a Wally World parking lot. Sometimes it means hanging at Starbucks in your Volvo XC40 Recharge. Other times, you might be lucky enough to chill in Audi's lounge as your e-tron GT charges out front.
Regardless, EV owners spend more time waiting for charging than we used to spend getting gas. So, rather than put a 150kW charger at the back of some sketchy 7Eleven, some brands are looking to cash in on charging and increased foot traffic in one fell swoop.
Starbucks is gungho about adding chargers to its locations because it knows that means customers inside getting coffee. As Michael Kobori, Starbucks' chief sustainability officer put it to Automotive News, the idea is to make charging your car as "easy as getting a great cup of coffee."
Starbucks announced that it will build 60 fast chargers at 15 stores, spanning from the company's Seattle home to Denver, CO, by the end of this year. Each of these locations will be no farther than 100 miles apart (which tells you how many Starbucks there really are out there), with ChargePoint providing DC fast chargers.
Starbucks and Volvo aren't the only ones. Ikea has recently partnered with Electrify America with the same goal in mind: increased foot traffic for its locations by way of charging options. Here in Denver, the local Ikea has already begun implementing it. Ikea says it'll install fast chargers across 18 states and 25 stores.
On top of that, Electrify America has a presence across America in many parking lots already. That's doubly true at Target locations. We snapped the below photo for another story, and it was taken at a Target. It might have been about as far from the door as one can get, but it was still there. On top of that, there are more than 100 locations spread across both Target and Walmart that offer charging via Electrify America.
Of course, these different brands all have their own reasons beyond economic gain. "This collaboration with Electrify America will not only bring ultrafast public chargers to our stores for the first time, but it will also help us take a big leap as we work toward our targets to become circular and climate positive," Ikea CEO Javier Quiñones.
Frankly, all this is part of a singular, larger issue. There is not enough convenient, reliable public charging in America. At least, not enough to encourage the kind of widespread adoption the industry wants to see. Even the EA charger we took a photo of left us stranded in our Mercedes EQS when it failed to release the car from its charging cable. Until businesses provide that on a larger, more widespread scale, EVs will continue to be something that only wealthier Americans can afford.