Any driver who has charged their electric vehicle at an out-of-the-way charging station in a questionable location understands how uncomfortable and frustrating that situation can be. Besides grocery and other retail stores, single chargers in ideal places are sometimes hard to come by, and can be well off the beaten path—adding time to an already time-consuming charging process. Volvo is implementing a strategy to bring chargers closer to your daily routine with a more creative approach, and it builds on an emerging trend in the EV space of pairing up charging providers and popular retailers.
Volvo and Starbucks have struck a partnership to establish the first public electric vehicle charging network at the coffee company’s U.S. stores. EV owners traveling within the Western States can soon enjoy a cup of coffee—or tea, or whatever you want—while fast charging their electric cars at Starbucks.
Starting this summer, the Swedish automaker plans to install up to 60 Volvo-branded DC fast chargers powered by ChargePoint in at least 15 Starbucks locations. The charging network will cover a 1,350-mile route from the Denver area to Starbucks headquarters in Seattle, Washington. That means a fast-charging station for roughly every 100 miles, which is reasonably within the driving range of most electric vehicles.
Volvo says this effort could make charging Volvo pure electric models as convenient as walking into a Starbucks and ordering a drink. For example, a ChargePoint DC fast charger can increase the Volvo C40 Recharge battery capacity from 20 percent to 90 percent in around 40 minutes. In other words, as the battery adds juice for the next leg of the trip, drivers and passengers can relax inside a climate-controlled Starbucks while sipping their preferred beverages, juicing themselves up for the next leg of the journey. And, hey, we all know Starbucks is a go-to bathroom stop—whether you’re on a road trip or not, so add another point for convenience there.
Looking up a charging station at participating Starbucks locations is no sweat. Those who drive Volvo Recharge models with Google integration can use the ChargePoint in-vehicle app, while other drivers can search using the ChargePoint smartphone app. Furthermore, Volvo is making these fast chargers available to all EV owners for a fee. Volvo customers, however, receive the added benefit of having access to them free of charge or at preferential rates.
As the Swedish brand works toward becoming a fully electric car company by 2030, this collaboration with Starbucks supports its vision. The popular coffee chain aims to lead the retail industry in net-zero solutions, including electric vehicle charging and onsite solar availability. This year Starbucks will be expanding its solar pilot locations to 55 new stores.
In the bigger picture, Volvo wants EV drivers traveling between the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest to have clean, reliable, and safe places to recharge their battery-powered vehicles and themselves. The installations should be complete by the end of 2022.
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