Kroger, whose supermarket chains include Ralph's and Food 4 Less, will add more than 225 Ecotality charging stations at stores throughout the western US to bring its total to almost 300. Ecotality makes plug-in vehicle charging stations under the Blink brand name, which some EV drivers have had problems with.

Kroger will fund $1.5-million worth of installations at Kroger stores in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. Of the 225 stations, 25 will be fast-charging stations while the other 200 will be Level 2 units. Kroger already has 60 stations installed in Oregon and Washington, and 14 in Texas.

The Cincinnati-based grocer is looking to lure what it hopes is a broadening number of plug-in vehicle drivers to its stores. Among retailers, according to US Department of Energy figures, Walgreens is by far the most active with station deployment, boasting 365 stores with stations nationally. 55 Kohl's stores had public stations as of March 22, while Whole Foods was home to 39 stations. Overall, the number of publicly accessible charging stations rose about 9 percent during the first quarter to almost 5,700 stations, the DOE says.

Check out the Kroger/Ecotality press release below.

*UPDATE: This post has been updated with corrected station types.
Show full PR text
ECOtality and Kroger Announce Expansion of EV Partnership

Expanded partnership brings charging stations to the Kroger Family of Stores in several key markets across the country

SAN FRANCISCO and CINCINNATI, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ECOtality, Inc., a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies (NASDAQ:ECTY), and The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today announced an expanded partnership including over 200 level 2 (quick charge) charging stations, and 25 DC Fast Chargers, to be installed across key markets through the EV Project. This multimillion dollar expansion will bring the total number of Blink chargers at the Kroger Family of Stores to almost 300.

"As plug-in electric and hybrid cars are becoming more popular with our customers, we are pleased to offer the convenience of electric vehicle charging stations at more of our stores in markets with the highest demand," said Keith Dailey, Kroger spokesperson. "Kroger is excited to contribute to the growth of this national network."

"Retailers across the country are quickly realizing the benefits of installing our Blink chargers. Independent research shows that Blink card holders routinely reward these establishments with more time in their stores and repeat business," stated Ravi Brar, CEO of ECOtality Inc. "Kroger not only recognizes this value, but continues to show its commitment to be a leader in sustainability for the food retail industry. We are thrilled that the nation's largest supermarket chain, Kroger, chose to expand its EV charging station roll-out with Blink."

Details of the agreement include a $1.5 million investment by Kroger to install over 200 Blink charging stations, including 25 DC Fast Chargers, at 125 locations in several key markets including Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles. These stations are in addition to 60 already installed in Oregon and Washington, and 14 in Texas.

About Kroger
Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs 343,000 associates who serve customers in 2,424 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 786 convenience stores, 328 fine jewelry stores, 1,169 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 160 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club.

About ECOtality, Inc.
ECOtality, Inc. is a leader in clean, electric transportation technologies. The Company operates three complementary lines of business: Blink, Minit-Charger and eTec Labs. ECOtality offers electric vehicle charging stations under the Blink brand and provides a turnkey network operating system for EV drivers, commercial businesses and utilities. Minit-Charger manufactures and distributes fast-charging systems for material handling and airport ground support vehicles. eTec Labs is a trusted research and testing resource for governments, automotive OEMs and utilities. For more information about ECOtality, Inc., please visit www.ecotality.com.

About The EV Project
ECOtality is the project manager of The EV Project, a research initiative to help build America's future EV infrastructure. To date, The EV Project has gathered more than 70 million miles of EV driver data that will serve to support the deployment of EVs in key markets. The project is a public-private partnership, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy through a federal stimulus grant and made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). For more information about The EV Project, please visit www.theevproject.com

SOURCE The Kroger Co.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      VL00
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hope they work better than the junky Ecotality charger in my garage.
      Louis MacKenzie
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just saw a Nissan Leaf in my town. Not electric blue for once. More chargers will be better. But they should really start towing non-electric cars parked on those charging spots.
      aatheus
      • 2 Years Ago
      To use bad grammar: more chargers is more better! Even L2 chargers are good, especially in underserved states (the Midwest comes to mind).
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aatheus
        Even L2 chargers are good? With ECOtality 30 minute restrictions on DC fast charging parking, L2 chargers are often better than DC fast charging. DC fast charging always adds 20-30 minutes to my trip. With L2, sometimes I can charge while I am doing something else and thus add no time to my trip. DC fast charging is like going to the gas station in this way, while L2 charging can be like charging in your garage at night, slower but taking less of your own time.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          The parking spots in front of Blink DCFCs all say "30 minute time limit" on them. And although Blink doesn't know if you remain in the spot for too long with charge probe not attached, they do know if you remain there with it attached to your car. So if you leave your car to charge while go do something else, they will know and they will take action if you do it too often (at least they say they will).
          canuckinaz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          What do you mean by restrictions? I am not aware of parking restrictions at Blink DCFCs...
          canuckinaz
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          It's a bit late... But any signs on a DCFC about parking are put on by the individual DCFC host. I have charged at several Blink DCFCs without any parking restrictions. So they don't "all say" that there is some 30-minute time limit. You should talk to the host about that. And Blink won't take action if you stay there too long, although the host might.
      howam00
      • 2 Years Ago
      Add some in Boise please. We are in the "West" too you know :)
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Alright, I'll do all my grocery shopping at either of the nearby two chains that provide me with chargers. You hear that Safeway and Lucky's?
      Dave D
      • 2 Years Ago
      One of my peers at work bought a Ford Focus EV and everyone started getting rides in it and realizing it was viable. Within two weeks, one of my employees bought a Leaf and suddenly two more Leafs popped up in the parking lot within another couple of weeks. We have a good clear area close to the loading dock in our building and we just let people run extension cords into the area and charge up when they need it during the day. Now that we have 4 EVs in the parking lot and more people looking, we may have to put in a real charging station or two. And considering we've only got about 350 employees at this location and we've had 4 EVs pop up here in the last two months...that's pretty impressive. I think we're going to find that word of mouth and seeing friends/family driving EVs will start to get things moving faster. I know this is a small sample, but we may have been underestimating the demand once people realizes they fit for a lot of your daily commuting. Oh, and in ALL cases, it is the 2nd car in the household. Also, of note...3 of the 4 here are leases as they wanted to try them for 2 years and then buy the next generation. I wonder if leasing really will be a stronger trend for EVs in general. Two of them said they leased the Leaf now and they would buy the mid level Model S when their lease was up. So...where are the charging stations for Atlanta??? I'm seeing Leafs, Karmas and Model S's all over the place here. I know that the Whole Foods in our area just put in a charger, and there are some down in the Atlantic Station area...but we need more.
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave D
        And Kroger is all over Atlanta too! Hey Kroger...where's ours??? :-)
          Thereminator
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave D
          Kroger is a competitive ,pervasive off-brand with many outets...so thats a good thing!
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      The more charging points the better ! Not only do they provide more confidence and convenience for EV owners, but also advertise to ordinary motorist that EV's are becoming far more viable and mainstream.
      JakeY
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's actually 200 level 2 stations, 25 DC quick charge stations. The title and reporting makes it seems like 225 quick charge stations, which is very inexpensive for just $1.5 million.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JakeY
        Leave it to Danny King to completely blunder this.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @JakeY
        Ah, that explains it. I wondered why Walgreens was mentioned when they don't install DC QC stations, only L2.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Would be great if they could partner up with renewable power companies, or shopping malls with solar instsllations.
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