As all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars become more popular, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of public charging stations being installed in grocery store lots, shopping malls and corporate parking garages.
Locations like these are undoubtedly the most common places you’ll find a place to plug in, because you’ll likely spend a significant amount of time there.
But what of those locations where charging stations exist against all expectations? Where are the most unusual places you’ll find an electric car recharging?
Here are just five of our favorites.
Fast food restaurant
Think of McDonalds, or any other fast food restaurant, and you’ll likely conjure up the classic image of a fast-food restaurant: a place you visit when you need something to eat quickly, but have no time for anything else.
So the idea of spending several hours at a McDonalds while your electric car recharges isn’t something we’d necessarily think of as a good time.
However, earlier this week, Czech power company CEZ opened the first public charging station located at a fast food restaurant in the Czech Republic.
McDonalds' Charging Station
Located in Prague, the McDonalds charging station consists of two, regular household outlets, providing 240-volts of power.
If you’re lucky, it will recharge a car like the 2012 Mitsubishi i in around six hours.
But could you really cope with staying at any fast-food joint that long?
A whiskey distillery
In the past, we’ve found electric cars in literally every corner of the world, but at a certain whiskey distillery on the Scottish island of Islay, you’ll find a Nissan Leaf being powered by whiskey.
Enter Bruichladdich distillery, producer of a smokey, peaty, organic whiskey.
When he owner Mark Reynier reopened it last year, he decided to use anaerobic digesters to turn the thousands of tons of waste by-product made during the distillation process into methane.
The methane then powers a biofuel generator that produces electricity to charge his Leaf, as well as power the distillery’s electrical systems.
A whiskey-powered charging station has to be one of the coolest charging stations we’ve ever seen, but if you visit the Bruichladdich distillery you’ll have to remember one thing.
Don’t drink and drive.
A mountain pass
Stevens Pass Electric Car Charging Point Launch
“The hills are alive with the sound of electricity...”
Okay, it might not have the same ring to it as the original, but last year Stevens Pass Ski Resort in Washington state proudly opened not one, but two public charging stations.
At 4,061 feet high, the charging stations may be some of the highest places to charge in the U.S., but on a good day you’re guaranteed great views of the surrounding mountains.
And as long as U.S. route 2 isn’t closed by bad weather, visitors in the winter could even enjoy a little bit of on, or off-piste action while their car charges.
Rapid Charging Station Tennessee Gas Station
A gas station
They’re smelly, noisy and if you frequent them it’s probably only to fill up with regular.
But if you’ve made the switch to an electric car you most likely avoid gas stations as if they have cooties.
Yet in certain parts of the world, gas stations and electric car charging stations have learned to coexist.
Last year, it became one of the first places in the U.S. to offer electric car drivers free, rapid charging of cars like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i.
With its 30-minutes to 80 percent charge time, you won’t have to spend hours at the gas station, but you will end up sitting there a little longer than normal.
If the gas station has a convenience store and cafe attached, that may not be so bad.
But we’re not convinced we’d want to make it a regular trip.
By now, you’ve probably got the idea that electric car charging stations work best in locations where people spend a significant amount of time, like the parking lot of a movie theatre.
For most Americans, banks are not places you’ll spend a large amount of time, but if you happen to live in California, you may find that your local brand of Rabobank has an electric car charging station in its parking lot.
Rabobank EV charging
Rabobank EV charging
Part of a joint project between Solar City and Rabobank, participating branches offer customers free electricity while they conduct their banking business.
But unless you’re opening a new account, or applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to find something else to keep yourself amused while your car charges.
Have you found a public charging station in a strange place, or do you regularly patronize a charging station that is a little unusual?
We’d love to hear your nominations, and tales, of unconventional charging in strange places in the Comments below.