Walmart plans to build its own EV fast-charging network, in what reads as an aspiration to create something much larger than what it currently has with Electrify America.
The company on Thursday announced plans to install “thousands” of chargers at its Walmart and Sam’s Club stores nationwide by 2030. That’s in addition to almost 1,300 fast chargers already in place at more than 280 U.S. locations, a company press release said.
A timeline for installation of the first chargers wasn’t discussed, but the release said Walmart plans to emphasize low prices. That almost sounds like a direct jab against Electrify America’s recent price hikes, which saw frequent users hit with a 15% rate increase. When it announced the increases in February, Electrify America attributed them to “rising operational and energy costs.”
Walmart and Electrify America have partnered on EV fast charging in the past, but both companies now seem to be going in different directions. Electrify America announced its Walmart installations back in 2018, and since then it seems to have branched out into other kinds of locations.
Since partnering with Walmart, Electrify America has added corporate partners like Ikea, Bank of America, Meijer grocery stores, and Love’s Travel Stops to host its fast chargers. It’s also begun looking at city charging and locations at national parks in an effort to expand beyond road-trip routes.
Walmart’s interest in electrifying transport, meanwhile, goes back many years. In 2014 it produced a concept range-extended electric semi. Walmart has also placed a large order with Canoo for 4,500 electric vans—effectively breathing new life into that startup last year.
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