NEW YORK – Walmart plans to have its own network of electric vehicle charging stations for public use by 2030, to tap into growing adoption of EVs in the United States.
The new fast charging stations will be placed at thousands of Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, alongside nearly 1,300 it already operates as part of a deal with Electrify America, one of the country’s largest open public EV networks.
Walmart’s more than 5,000 stores and Sam’s Club warehouses are located within 10 miles of about 90 percent of Americans.
“We have the ability to address range and charging anxiety in a way that no one else can in this country,” Vishal Kapadia, Walmart’s recently-appointed senior vice president of Energy Transformation told Reuters, adding that the new stations will also address issues around reliability and cost.
Kapadia said the strategy entails less risk and will allow Walmart to offer an experience and price “in a way that is not possible when a third party is involved in the equation”.
While there are not yet many EVs in the U.S. as a proportion of the total number of cars on the roads, this is beginning to change as high gas prices, increasing state subsidies and new more affordable models have quickly accelerated adoption.
A $5 billion investment by the Biden administration to launch a national charging network is also expected to drive EV sales. By 2029, EVs could account for a third of the North American market, consultancy AutoForecast Solutions forecasts.
With about 240 million customer visits to its stores each week, the new stations could provide Walmart with data on how shoppers pay for them or the time spent at a particular store.
Kapadia said he expects the new charge points to be DC fast chargers, with about 4 chargers on average installed per store.
Walmart declined to comment on details of the investment and said it is in the process of identifying a supplier.