ECOtality Blink charging stations for electric & plug-in carsEnlarge Photo
In the past few years we’ve seen electric charge stations pop up everywhere from gas stations to electronics stores and banks. But now electric car owners in the Pacific Northwest have a new place to charge: the grocery store.
Enter Fred Meyer Store. Based in Portland Oregon, the firm has around 130 department stores throughout Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho.
In a joint venture with charging point manufacturer Ecotality Inc., commercial level 2 charging stations will be installed at key Fred Meyer store locations in Oregon and Washington.
Part of the wider $230 million EV Project, which aims to install over 15,000 charging stations in six states, the Fred Meyer charging stations will be connected to the project’s Blink network of charging stations.
ECOtality Blink DC fast charger plugged in
To pay for charging, the chargers will offer a range of options, including key-fob access, smart phone applications, mobile phone payment and credit card payment.
While customers will not be required to be part of the Ecotality-run EV Project, it is hoped that those who use the Fred Meyer Stores regularly will consider signing up. In exchange, Ecotality promises reduced rates for charging, pre-reservation of charging points and various monthly billing options.
Like so many level 2 charging stations however, the Fred Meyer units are not intended to provide a full recharge. Instead, it is hoped that electric car owners will be able to use the facility to add a few extra miles to their car’s battery pack while they shop.
Ultimately, that’s the unwritten goal of the EV Project: to have charging points in so many locations that charging up becomes as normal as winding up your windows when you lock the car.
Of course, the more often ad-hoc charging occurs, the less likely it is that any one car will run out of power, meaning less range anxiety and more electric car adoption.
And that can only be a good thing.