About 170 publicly accessible electric-vehicle charging stations were installed in the US last month. If this trend continues, the number of EV stations could grow at about 40 percent a year, according to US Department of Energy figures.

As of January 17, US drivers of Nissan Leafs, Chevrolet Volts and other plug-in vehicles could "fill up" at 5,365 out-of-home stations, up from 5,199 stations on December 18. About a fifth of those stations are in California, where 20 stations were added last month.

Additionally, the electric superhighway is alive and well on the West Coast, as Washington and Oregon had 307 and 290 stations, respectively. That means that about a third of the publicly accessible stations in the US are on the West Coast. Texas and Florida were the states with the second- and third-most stations, with 400 and 351, respectively.

Walgreens remains by far the retailer with the most charging stations in the US, with 362 stores boasting charging stations. Kohl's came in at No. 2, with 55 charge-ready stores. Whole Foods, Kwik Trip and Cracker Barrel rounded out the top five, proving that providing retail customers with charging stations is coming to a variety of establishments.


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  • 24 Comments
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm fine with paying 0.20 cents a kWh or 0.30-0.40/kWh if it is solar or wind powered. We need to help install more chargers, and put them on the highways at rest areas. That would be a good place for DC fast charging with a big bank of solar panels and a wind turbine tied to the grid. And don't get me started on how Tesla, Nissan and SAE should be working together to have DC fast chargers that work with any type of car that pulls up. I would be pissed if I got to a charger and the plug wouldn't fit in a J1772...
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      I dunno. EVs are taking off like a rocket around me and public chargers don't seem to play much of a part at all. Who is going to begin a trip in an EV knowing they have to get power at a public charge point or else they can't get home? What if the charger is broken? Full? ICEd? And on top of that, many of them cost money and they all overcharge at least 7x for the power you get. You do better to just go home, which you can do because you knew you'd have enough juice to get home when you left the house. Public chargers really seem more for emergencies to me than anything else. At least with the current situation. Perhaps paradoxically, they don't seem to be a big part of the EV ownership experience.
        solas
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        "I dunno. EVs are taking off like a rocket around me and public chargers don't seem to play much of a part at all." 100% agree. "Who is going to begin a trip in an EV knowing they have to get power at a public charge point or else they can't get home. What if the charger is broken?" Plenty of folk. The question is moot if there are plenty of chargers available. Anyone planning a trip where there is only one charger, that must be used ... is as much as a fool as an ICE owner who plans to need a fill up at the one and only gas station within range. Are these trips common? Absolutely not. Is it a nice to have? Absolutely. One of the magical benefits of EVs are that they can charge at home -- for those common trips, a "station" (gas or electric) is a moot point ... this convenience, while it may not sound exciting to those who haven't tried, is actually a major selling point.
      Andrew
      • 2 Years Ago
      Too bad Walgreen chargers are pay chargers - I never ever see anyone use them. Same with all the Blink chargers, no ones uses the paid ones anymore. Only the free ones ever see any use.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Andrew
        I have never once seen a charger used, anywhere. I live near the University of Central Florida. They have a big solar area, chargers....in a parking area. Those spots are always open. Other cars jammed everywhere...and this entire structure and parking spots....empty.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Did you get your BSEE at UCF? I was all set to go there, got my AA from Valencia (back when it was just a CC)... but then got the hell out of Florida. Is there still not enough parking? They were building new parking structures.
          MTN RANGER
          • 2 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          I'm going to Orlando for spring break and will be using the local charging stations (mostly around downtown and Disney). I'll have to check out UCF (I haven't been over there since some post graduate classes in the 90s.) http://www.flickr.com/photos/formerwmdriver/5058367350/
      Naturenut99
      • 2 Years Ago
      Plus,if you do need a full charge (you are paying for the service)you can go to a nearby restaurant, which I have done.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't imagine why someone would think charging would be free. I use Blink charges all over the Phoenix area nearly daily and have no problem paying the 1.00 an hour fee. Doesn't electricity cost money? Compared to gas it's minuscule and well worth it to me to support the build out of the vitality needed EV charging infrastructure. By the way, according the Blink Map on-line they are showing 477 chargers in Arizona. I wonder why California, Washington and Oregon always get this great press about their charging infrastructure when Arizona is second in size among the four states.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        Dummy. That's what camo cords and hidden outlets are for. ;-)
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        Free chargers would be good for restaurants on frequently traveled routes. The EVers will go there and eat. The electricity they use will end up costing less than a dollar.
          Dave D
          • 4 Months Ago
          @Spec
          I've actually seen some people do this at the Cracker Barrels where they have the chargers installed in their restaurants along the interstate in Tennessee. Why not stop and eat and get topped off if you were going to eat anyway.
        Naturenut99
        • 2 Years Ago
        Re: cost of charging... Here in Illinois, they tend to be more like $2. That's where people start complaining. For me, I just pay it, since it is that important to me. But I do think they should be able to have them be free and then have it as a write off for them. I also think the pay structure should be based on how much energy is used. Right now whether your driving ( charging)a Volt, Focus, or Model S, you pay the same amount based on time, yet those three examples have three different maximum charging speeds. Granted the Focus and Model S would both max out the30amps which is standard at L2 stations. But the Leaf and Volt can only take 1/2 of that and yet pay the same amount.
          dreadcthulhu01
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Naturenut99
          Digging around, quite a few states only allow public utility companies to charge for electricity by the the kw-hr; so everybody else has to find a different pricing structure.. Hopefully those silly, archaic laws can be changed once electric cars get more common.
          dreadcthulhu01
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Naturenut99
          Here is a cite to my earlier post - http://www.chargedevs.com/content/features-inside/proceed-caution-charging-ev-charging ; apparently 41 states ban reselling electricity by the kw-hr.
      Andrew
      • 2 Years Ago
      Too bad Walgreen chargers are pay chargers - I never ever see anyone use them. Same with all the Blink chargers, no ones uses the paid ones anymore. Only the free ones ever see any use. But a good thing is that you'll always be able to get a charger if you need if you are willing to pay =)
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm not speculating when I say this. I know many people with electric cars. "Plenty of folk" are not beginning trips they cannot complete without charging at a public charger right now. Chargers are frequently full, broken or ICEd. You can't count on being able to charge on the go right now. Sure, if chargers were as common as gas stations and located properly, then maybe it would be different. Then again, as long as you can get back home on the charger you have, who is going to pay $1.50/hour (going around here) for charging when if you have a 3.3kW charger you could charge at home for an hour for $0.35 (night) or $0.50 (evening)? I went to a mall with charging and as my friend pulled out of the EV space with his Volt, a women with a (not plug-in) Prius pulled right into his spot and ICEd it. The other spot was in use by a LEAF. I love the charge at home aspect. Everyone I know who has an EV loves it too except for one. That one guy uses so much electricity at home already and has a 100mile commute (round trip), so if he charges his Tesla at home he ends up paying about $20 for electricity to go that 100 miles because of the PG&E penalty rates! This means he is paying a huge premium to drive that nice Model S instead of a Prius. Heck, he could drive an ActiveHybrid 3 roundtrip for barely over half this! He charges at work as much as possible to avoid this. And he's looking at putting in solar panels.
      MTN RANGER
      • 2 Years Ago
      I shake my head at the Walgreens EVSEs. Who stays 2 or more hours at a drug store? Shopping centers, malls, movie theaters, office buildings, hotels, municipal parking garages are the best places for charging stations.
        Naturenut99
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        1. You don't have to stay at Walgreens for 2 hrs. for it to be usable. I use Walgreens stations in Chicago. Half an hour at 3.3 kWh, gives 1650 watts, which in the Volt gives about an additional 5 miles. They also prorate the cost, so your not paying for an hour at a time. I am though, someone who already uses Walgreens a lot, so this isn't a change in my behavior.
      Electron
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wonder if there is real vision behind the charging infrastructure that's currently installed. Who are these charging opportunities created for and does it suit their needs? PHEV owners will only charge outside the home if a charger is available exactly where they need to be and without substantial extra cost. There is really no good way to cater for that category. Maybe owners would go through more trouble if they could fastcharge, but that's usually not a feature of PHEVs. BEVs would get more versatile if they could charge on the road, but again level 2 charging in most situations wouldn't add much to their range and will rarely be worth any extra trouble. The only system that would really benefit the current crop of small battery BEVs is a very dense matrix of fastcharge opportunities. People should be able to venture comfortably beyond the the range of their vehicle if they know they are never more than say 10 miles away from the closest charging opportunity. So the way I see it public level2 charging is mostly a waste of effort. Level 3 charging could gain traction if motorists could be made feel safe in a very dense grid of quick charge opportunities, the sort of thing Better Place might have gone into rather than battery swapping.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Where are the local power companies in all of this? Why can't PG&E, DTE, Duke or a host of other electric companies put out chargers that you have to pay for just like ATMs? They have built the power grid, they have the power generating capability, they know how to charge people for power, why haven't they installed a bunch of chargers in their areas?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        Agreed, the power companies are missing the market and these companies charging the high rates could spoil it. I went back and fourth with Southern Company about this very subject and got nowhere. They are proud of their 'EV Infrastructure' and defended paying 10x the home rate. Public charging is a missed opportunity to accelerate adoption but instead I feel like it's a scam for government money.
        Dave D
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Ryan
        Bill, That is definitely a problem with the Southern Company. Don Francis ran their program for 17 years before he finally moved on. He is now running the SE Region for Clipper Creek and is also on the Clean Cities Board. He loved what he did over there, but they kept blowing hot and then cold and never sustained all the work they had put into the charging infrastructure. To be fair to Southern Company, this was through all the ups and downs of the EV1 and things back in the late 90's but now I don't see what their hold up is. Why wouldn't they take pride in being out in front on something like this now when it's so much broader of an effort with mass market cars coming online???
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        I assume they haven't yet because of low demand. But I'd sure think they'd start to do this in areas like San Fran and partner with local companies to split profits by putting them in. Seems like a good business model to get started on today. If you're already wiring a shopping center with enough power to support the stores, why not drop in a charger at the same time.
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