Retail stores are banking on the electric car industry picking up steam. According to USA Today, big box stores, malls and markets across the country are installing electric vehicle charging stations in the hopes of attracting greener drivers. The Market, a grocery chain out of Bellingham, Washington, was the first retailer in the country to install a charging station, and now, other stores, big and small, are doing the same thing. Steve Reimer installed the first charging station in Reno, Nevada at his bagel shop there. He says it was right thing to do from an environmental standpoint. Health food giant, Whole Foods, is installing charging stations in Texas, Connecticut and Colorado, while the huge electronics retailer, Best Buy, is adding them to 12 stores, including Los Angeles, Seattle and Phoenix. The Meijer shopping chain is planning EV chargers for ten to twenty stores across the Midwest, and the biggest mall in the US, the Mall of America, is about to install three new stations.
The EV charging stations cost anywhere around $4,000, and some of that cost is offset by tax breaks. Micheal Farkas is the CEO of The Car Charging Group, a company that built and maintains the stations at the Mall of America. He says retailers are key to the success of electric vehicles. The big fear for early adopters is that they’ll get stranded on the street without a charge. Knowing they can head to their local grocery store or mall and juice up will make more people comfortable buying electric. Plus, while they’re charging – they may charge some items on their credit card too. Time will tell if this gamble will pay off. Major forecasters say electric cars will have less than five-percent of the market even ten YEARS from now, but car makers - and apparently retailers - hope to blow those expectations out of the water.