Electronics and Semiconductors

New Starbucks menu item: Electric charging

16 March 2022
The locations of the Starbucks that will have EV charging stations in in the initial public pilot project from the coffee giant and Volvo Car. Source: Volvo

Volvo Car USA and Starbucks will bring the first public electric vehicle (EV) charging station network to as many as 15 of the coffee giant's locations.

The stations, which will be provided by ChargePoint, will be installed this summer with 60 Volvo-branded DC fast chargers located along a 1,350-mile route from the Denver area to Seattle, which is the headquarters of Starbucks.

The charging stations will be slotted at about every 100 miles, which is typically within the battery range of most EVs.

The fast chargers can recharge a Volvo C40 from about 20% to about 90% in roughly 40 minutes, Volvo said. The ChargePoint app, which is integrated into the Volvo Recharge in-dash system, can be used to recharge or drivers can use the ChargePoint smartphone app. Volvo drivers can use the stations for free.

Volvo Cars has plans to convert its entire platform to electrified models by 2030 and Starbucks wants to help in the decarbonization of the retail industry. This includes installing EV chargers as well as onsite solar at certain locations. Starbucks plans to expand its solar pilot locations to 55 new stores this year.

Critical role

The automotive industry is in the midst of what is considered to be the largest transition in its history as automakers switch to primarily manufacturing EVs by 2040. To make this transition and adoption of vehicles as easy as possible, more charging stations and infrastructure will be desperately needed to meet demand.

The move to include EV charging at Starbucks, which is a ubiquitous staple in many parts of the U.S., shows the growing importance of expanding the charging infrastructure to include as many locations as possible.

However, this won’t just ease the burden of finding available recharging points, but will work to curb existing range anxiety among consumers that feel they may run out of power between charging points. The more charging places available, the less likely this will enter into consumer’s state of mind.

Quick charge

The biggest challenge for the expansion of charging stations is to enable fast charging to bring the process as close as possible to refilling an internal combustion engine (ICE).

Outside of initial cost and range anxiety, charging times is a major concern among consumers. The longer it takes to recharge an EV, the more time is wasted on a long trip or during a commute. While many owners charge their vehicles overnight at home, on the road, it is a different story.

That’s why most experts agree that fast charging is essential to encourage adoption and Volvo’s installation of fast charging is a good step along with other measures being taken to either build more fast charging ports or convert current ports to fast charging technology.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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