Starbucks, Ikea are the new ‘gas stations’ for electric car drivers

Drivers of electric vehicles who need to recharge their cars as well as their bodies during long trips can do so at an Ikea or a Starbucks.

Ikea is partnering with EV infrastructure firm Electrify America while Starbucks is teaming up with Volvo as part of an effort to make charging stations more accessible to America’s growing fleet of battery-powered cars.

Michael Kobori, Starbucks’ chief sustainability officer, told Crain’s Detroit Business that the Seattle-based coffee giant’s partnership with Volvo is geared toward making EV charging “as easy as getting a great cup of coffee.”

Starbucks will outfit 15 of its restaurants with 60 fast chargers along a 1,350-mile route connecting Denver to Seattle by the end of the year, according to Crain’s.

Ikea, the Swedish do-it-yourself furniture retailer, will collaborate with the Electrify America charging network to build faster chargers at 25 locations scattered across 18 states.

Tesla, Elon Musk’s electric car maker, sprinted ahead of the field by positioning its Supercharger network near chain restaurants and retail centers. But non-Tesla drivers need a solution of their own.

Ikea is partnering with an electric charging infrastructure company to allow drivers to charge their cars at the retailer’s stores.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

Electrify America already has more than 100 locations nationally — having installed fast chargers in parking lots of various Target and Walmart stores.

“This collaboration with Electrify America will not only bring ultrafast public chargers to our stores for the first time, but it will also help us take a big leap as we work toward our targets to become circular and climate positive,” Ikea CEO Javier Quiñones said.

Brent Gruber, the executive director of global automotive for consumer research firm J.D. Power, told Crain’s he thinks this will boost interest in electric cars since drivers will now be able to occupy themselves while waiting for their vehicles to charge.

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He said that “EV owners still indicate they need more options for things to do during each charging session to enhance convenience and fill the downtime.”

Tesla raced ahead of the competition and build charging stations near chain restaurants and retailers nationwide.
Tesla raced ahead of the competition and build charging stations near chain restaurants and retailers nationwide.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

“Get a little coffee, hang out, listen to music,” said Gary Silberg, KPMG’s global automotive sector leader.

“If you can charge your car at the same time, why not?”

But Silberg doubts whether the charging terminals will be a big draw for Starbucks and Ikea given that electric vehicle ownership hasn’t reached critical mass.

“I’m not sure it’s a moneymaker,” Silberg said.

It takes between 30 minutes and 12 hours to charge an electric car — depending on variables such as the speed of the charging point as well as the size of the battery.

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A typical electric car with a 60kWh battery would need nearly 8 hours to go from empty to full with a 7kW charging point.

The lack of charging stations for non-Tesla drivers is considered a significant factor in dissuading a large number of consumers from owning electric vehicles.
The lack of charging stations for non-Tesla drivers is considered a significant factor in dissuading a large number of consumers from owning electric vehicles.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Many electric cars can gain up to 100 miles of range by using a 50kW rapid charger for around 35 minutes.

In July, the website USwitch published a study cited by Electrek which found that the Porsche Taycan Plus had the fastest charging rate of all EVs currently available on the market.

In one hour of being charged with a DC fast charger, the Porsche Taycan Plus has a range of 650 miles.

Coming in at a close second is the Kia EV6 while the Mercedes EQS 580 4MATIC had the third fastest charging time for the most mileage.

Rounding out the top ten are the Tesla Model Y Long Range Dual Motor; the Hyundai IONIQ 5 Long Range 2WD; the Audi e-tron GT quatro; the Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor; the BMW i4 M50; the Volkswagen ID.3 Pro Performance; and the CUPRA Born.

The Volkswagen and the CUPRA Born are not currently sold in the US.

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