You may already know that pharmaceuticals giant Walgreens is installing as many as 800 electric car charging stations at its branches throughout New York City, Houston, Dallas Fort-Worth and Chicago.
While we all reeled in horror to the news that it could cost Walgreens customers as much as $4 for a 90 minute recharge -- we assumed that the majority of the 800 charging stations would be level 2 charging stations capable of providing cars like the 2011 NIssan Leaf around 20 miles of range in 90 minutes.
Now Walgreens has clarified that where possible, its electric car charging stations will be ultra-fast rapid DC charging stations -- capable of charging compatible cars like the 2011/12 Nissan Leaf and 2012 Mitsubishi i from empty to 80 percent full in just 30 minutes.
“We realized the value from a competitive standpoint to be the first mover,” Menno Enters, director of energy and sustainability at Walgreens told GreenTechMedia earlier this week. “We wanted to maximize DC charging, but our power infrastructure is not set up to have DC charging.”
In other words -- wherever Walgreens have access to a suitable high-power electrical feed capable of powering the 50 kilowatt chargers in the vicinity of a suitable parking space -- it will support the installation of a rapid DC charger.
For Walgreens parking lots where such power isn’t available -- Walgreens’ various charging partners will install 240-volt, level 2 fast charging stations.
In reality, this means only 150 of the 800 charging stations due to be installed at Walgreens will be capable of rapid charging compatible cars, with the remaining 650 charging stations only realistically able to provide a top-up charge.
Admittedly, the 150 DC rapid-charging stations won’t be compatible with all the electric cars on the market -- only the 2011/12 Nissan Leaf and 2012 Mitsubishi i will be able to use them for now -- but with 5,000 Nissan Leafs now in private ownership in the U.S., the rapid chargers are undoubtedly going to be welcomed.
And with just a handful of publicly-available rapid charging stations currently installed nationwide, we estimate Walgreens’ efforts to support rapid charging will increase the number of rapid charging stations nationwide by a factor of around 30.
As for paying $4 to recharge? We’d gladly pay for the convenience of a 30-minute recharge, Wouldn't you?