Five Cities Get Free Electric-Car Charging Stations At 'Socially Responsible' Businesses


Fiat 500e at Volta Industries charging station

Fiat 500e at Volta Industries charging station

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There are a variety of organizations working to increase public electric-car charging infrastructure, and they're primarily motivated by the merits of electric cars themselves.

But what if charging infrastructure was viewed from the perspective of social responsibility?

What if locations for charging stations were chosen based on the values of the businesses that will host them?

DON'T MISS: Electric-Car Fast-Charging Networks: Competition Heats Up

That's the operating principle for Volta Industries, which has built a network of 100 public charging stations underwritten by "socially responsible brands."

Partnering with these brands allows Volta to offer charging for free. The also announced today that's secured an additional $7.5 million in funding to expand its operations.

Tesla Model S at Volta Industries charging station

Tesla Model S at Volta Industries charging station

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Volta attempts to partner with companies that it believes are interested in sustainability. That's important when they're being asked to pay for consumers' electric-car charging.

So far it's had success working with Macy's, Whole Foods, and solar-energy company Sungevity, said co-founder and CEO Scott Mercer in a statement.

ALSO SEE: Public Electric-Car Charging: Business Models, Profits Still In Debate

Volta was founded in 2010 and began offering free public charging in Honolulu. It has since expanded to San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Phoenix.

Its charging stations are typically situated in retail locations--an approach similar to that of other charging-network operators.

Volta Industries CTO Michael Menendez and CEO Scott Mercer

Volta Industries CTO Michael Menendez and CEO Scott Mercer

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Putting charging stations sited at a mall or shopping center offer drivers something to do while their cars charge, after all.

Volta will use its newly-acquired $7.5 million in funding to expand the network, and recruit more brands as charging supporters.

MORE: Can Electric-Car Fast Charging Be Profitable? Answer: Unclear

But any company--even if it doesn't prioritize sustainable practices or a green image--stands to benefit from underwriting electric-car charging.

Charging can be used as a free perk, like Wi-Fi, to get customers in the door, and to get them to stay longer.

Because there's more than one green, and that second kind--cash--can often be the most persuasive.

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