Automotive

Volvo’s Starbucks EV Chargers Are Genius


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A few months ago, I pitched an idea that I thought could change the way we organize public electric vehicle charging infrastructure: By having charging networks pop up alongside hotels or fast-food chains. Now, Volvo is doing just that by partnering with ChargePoint to install public EV chargers at 15 Starbucks cafés between Denver, CO and Seattle, WA.

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And these aren’t just any old chargers — they’re DC fast chargers, which means you can get a pretty decent charge in the time it takes for you to drink your coffee… so long as you savor it. Volvo’s press release notes that the C40 Recharge can go from a 20 percent charge to a 90 percent charge in 40 minutes. A full battery should get you an estimated 225 miles range, so you could theoretically go from 45 miles of remaining range to 202. And those are ideal numbers that may not actually be reflected in real life.

While 40 minutes is still a pretty long time to spend at a Starbucks, I guess you could kick up your feet and relax with a coffee or two and get some work done while you charge up. It could be worse — but it could also be a lot better.

Volvo is planning to install 60 Volvo-branded ChargePoint chargers at 15 locations in roughly 100-mile intervals along the 1,350-mile route between Denver and Seattle. That clocks out to about four chargers per Starbucks that anyone can use — although Volvo drivers will have charging fees waived at their ‘bucks of choice.

The project should be completed by the end of 2022, essentially carving a path through the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest. And if everything goes well, it sounds like Volvo will continue to expand the Starbucks and ChargePoint partnership around the country.

Perhaps most important, though, is the fact that this could signal a growth in this kind of business model — where like-minded parties come together to provide expanded access to a charging network along certain highway routes. At least, we can only hope.

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