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Could Starbucks Become the Future of EV Charging Stations?

Electric vehicle owners will soon be able to charge their vehicles while sipping a latte

Starbucks and Volvo C40. Credit: Volvo Car USA

Starbucks and Volvo Cars are partnering on a pilot project to install electric vehicle (EV) chargers at Starbucks parking lots along a 1,350-mile route that cuts through five states from Denver to Seattle.

Sixty Volvo-branded ChargePoint DC fast chargers will be installed at 15 Starbucks — roughly 100 miles apart. The installation will commence this summer and be ready by the end of 2022.

“It’s one of those charging deserts, so to speak,” says Michael Kobori, Chief Sustainability Officer at Starbucks.

Charging an EV is an entirely different experience from pumping gas. It’s not a five-minute endeavor; it usually takes hours. EV owners rely on their home chargers and often worry about accessibility to charging stations when on long road trips, but this partnership just made it a lot tastier.

Illustrative map of the route. CREDIT: Volvo Car USA

Volvo will use a range of fast chargers from ChargePoint, including the Express Plus, which can recharge a Volvo C40 Recharge from 20% to 90% in just 40 minutes — just the right amount of time to enjoy a coffee.

Volvo EV owners will get special treatment as they will be able to charge their EVs for free, at least for the time being. And the companies will closely monitor the usage of the chargers as the expansion of this project will depend on this pilot’s success and demand for the chargers.

This Starbucks and Volvo partnership may just be the perfect partnership at the perfect time. According to Bauer et al., 2021, the demand for chargers is only growing. The United States will have 26 million electric vehicles by 2030 — more than 14 times the number of EVs in 2020 (1.8 million). This will require public and workspace chargers to grow tenfold, reaching 2.4 million chargers in 2030.

This partnership is part of both companies’ plans to invest in the future.

By 2030…

  • Starbucks will lead the retail industry in decarbonization solutions and EV charging availability at their stores,

  • And Volvo will become a leading fully electric premium carmaker.

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