More places than you think. Here are a few less-than-intuitive places where EV owners can charge up in the United States:
Cracker Barrel. That’s right: Cracker Barrel. According to the Huffington Post, the company has launched a pilot program which will install Blink electric vehicle chargers, provided by ECOtality Inc., at 24 restaurants across Tennessee. The country kitchen
chain is well-suited to offer EV chargers, since most of its locations are located along highways. And the Blink chargers can refuel a sputtering EV battery in just 30 minutes – plenty of time to enjoy some biscuits ‘n’ gravy.
McDonald’s. Alright, so this option isn’t quite as reliable, given there’s currently only one McDonald’s location in the U.S. with a charging port for EVs. But if you’re cruising through West Virginia and need to make a fast food stop, you could also charge up your car. As one blogger points out: ”Imagine if all of the more than 12,000 McDonald’s restaurants in America had charging stations? You’d have a hard time arguing that the infrastructure for electric vehicles aren’t in place.” Hopefully that’s where these pilot programs are heading.
At the mall. A promising proposal for expanding the EV network goes something like this: put charging stations at popular shopping destinations, so people can recharge their cars while they go about their routine errands. A book store in Dallas took this theory to heart last fall, installing a charging station at its flagship location along a busy highway. The charger takes an hour to do its work – but the store thinks of that as a plus. “We’re thinking lunch hour, when they come and shop anyway,” said Becky Gomez, promotions manager for Half Price Books. “We’ll give them a basket, too.”
Want to locate a charging station near you? Check out a handy state-by-state map from the Department of Energy.