Bank of America and Electrify America announced their intention Tuesday to nearly double the number electric-vehicle charging stations at its banks by the end of 2023.
Currently, Electrify America has installed 172 EV chargers at 46 Bank of America locations. By the end of next year, that’s expected to grow to 350 chargers at more than 90 banks.
“Electrify America is expediting the electric future by providing ultra-fast charging to customers in convenient locations,” said Anthony Lambkin, senior director of operations at Electrify America.
“Collaborating with companies such as Bank of America — who share our goals for a more sustainable future — helps to accelerate the transition to electric transportation and meet customers’ needs.”
Expanding an existing program
This is in addition to the EV chargers installed at more than 100 locations for employee use, an initiative started by Bank of America in 2017.
“At Bank of America, our commitment to a more sustainable future is woven into our culture,” said Aron Levine, President of Preferred Banking at Bank of America.
Bank of America’s partnership with Electrify America started in 2019, and is expanding rapidly. Through May of this year, 192 EV chargers have been installed at 51 branches in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia and Washington. The company plans to add new chargers at locations in Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, North Carolina, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
It should help expand America’s uneven charging network. There are about 41,000 public charging stations in the United States, with more than 100,000 outlets. But finding one that works can be challenging unless you’re a Tesla owner. Tesla has its own exclusive recharging network.
Becoming more common
While charging companies such as Electrify America initially set up stand-alone stations, EV chargers are increasingly being installed where people do things, as a typical battery recharge takes far longer than the few minutes it takes to top off a tank with gasoline.
So it makes sense chargers would be installed at Walmart, allowing your car’s battery to recharge while you’re shopping. The company has been working with Electrify America to make the retailer one of the largest hosts of electric vehicle charging stations nationwide.
Volkswagen, which owns the EV charging company Electrify America, installs many of its chargers in big box store parking lots, such as Target and Walmart with charging speeds of 150 kW and 350 kW, enough to fill your EV’s battery to 80% in 15-30 minutes depending on the vehicle’s battery.
Where there’s food, there are chargers
Similarly, Buc-ee’s Inc., a Texas-based chain of gas-station convenience stores known for their massive 53,000 square foot fueling stations with 120 gas pumps and 1,000 parking spaces, announced plans in November 2021 to install Tesla Superchargers at 26 different Buc-ee’s locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Other convenience stores are installing EV chargers as well, including 7-Eleven, which is installing 500 DC fast chargers at 250 locations across North America by the end of 2022. And Wawa announced in March it is partnering with EVgo to supply EV chargers starting in its hometown of Philadelphia.
Supermarkets are also picking up the slack. with Giant Food, Albertsons and Stop & Shop working with Volta Industries to install EV charging stations at their stores and EVgo partnering with Safeway, Whole Foods and Kroger.
Similarly, in March, Volvo announced its partnership with ChargePoint to build a network of 15 DC fast charging stations at Starbucks locations along a 1,350-mile route from Seattle to Denver, with each station having four plugs. The chargers will wear the Volvo name. Delivering as much as 350 kW, that should be enough to recharge the Volvo C40 Recharge crossover to 90% in 40 minutes.
Dealers up the ante
Of course other retailers are installing chargers as well, most notably car dealers.
In October 2021, General Motors unveiled its Dealer Community Charging Program, a $750 million effort that works with their dealer body to install up to 40,000 Level 2 chargers in their communities starting in 2022. But GM already has a start, requiring in 2020 that its Cadillac dealers install charging stations, a move that caused some dealer principals to sell their stores.
By comparison, Ford assembled a conglomeration of third-party charging vendors under its FordPass network, with more than 12,000 charger locations, including fast charging, and more than 35,000 charge plugs. Mercedes-Benz is doing something similar, partnering with ChargePoint to provide access to as part of its Mercedes me Charge program, with more than 60,000 chargers.
Yet there are others, such as Porsche, which is following GM’s lead, installing 500 fast charging stations at its dealerships and highway locations nationwide in an effort to match Tesla’s network.
While you would expect dealers to have EV chargers for their service vehicles, stopping at a car dealer to recharge your car doesn’t seem like it would be your first choice. Most consumers rank visiting a car dealer down there with going to the dentist.
“Why would you have a charging station at a dealership, asked Rita Case, CEO of Florida-based Rick Case Automotive. “Are they thinking customers are going to say, ‘oh, I need to charge my car, so I might let me go over to Rick Case Hyundai, sit in their parking lot and charge my car.’ I don’t get it.”
To counter that, dealers are upgrading their stores, giving EV owners a place to relax while their car recharges. Many top showrooms already have lounges and workspaces for its customers, while a few even offer dining, salon and movie options.
Meanwhile, Electrify America is introducing stand-alone charging stations with work space and lounges in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Diego, and Beverley Hills, California, as well as in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York.
What does it all mean?
If you need to recharge your EV, you’ll soon be able to do it while eating, shopping in addition to while at home.