Some retailers aren’t doing much to support EV charging



Big-box stores and fast-foot chains offer large parking lots perfect for EV charging, but most lag in offering charging to customers, according to a new Consumer Reports study.

Consumer Reports surveyed 270,000 retail locations controlled by 75 major retail and fast-food chains—brands like Costco, Ikea, Walmart, and Target—and found that only 1% offered EV charging. Only one out of every 14 big-box stores, one out of every 15 grocery stores, and one out of every 40 department stores had a charger.

EV charging at big box stores (from 2024 Consumer Reports study)

EV charging at big box stores (from 2024 Consumer Reports study)

Analysts also found that locations that did offer charging often didn’t have many chargers, averaging just two to five. And EV drivers are unlikely to find chargers at any major fast-food location, according to Consumer Reports; none of the companies in that group offers charging at more than 1% of its locations.

Consumer Reports also pointed out that discount stores like Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Five Below “have effectively made no investments in EV charging.” These chains have nearly 40,000 locations, and tend to serve the rural communities that have largely been bypassed by previous EV charging-infrastructure projects.

Walmart announces plans for EV fast-charging network

Walmart announces plans for EV fast-charging network

Some efforts have been made to change that, however. Walmart has announced plans to build its own charging network, which would be a big step up for a company that currently averages EV chargers at just 1%-10% of its locations, according to the study.

An association representing convenience stores has also rallied to bring charging to rural America. That could lead to more settings, as 7-Eleven is in the process of establishing, where there’s fast-charging but not gas dispensers. Kentucky lawmakers have introduced a bill opposing that, however.



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