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Walmart opens new electric charging stations for electric vehicles in Arkansas

Walmart announced Tuesday (Aug. 7) that it has opened two new electric chargers for electric vehicles (EV) at 2 two Supercenter locations in Arkansas.

It is all thanks to a partnership with Electrify America. Walmart stores in Hope and Forrest City join sites where EV owners can charge their electric cars as part of the retailer’s effort to grow the plug and charge national network which fits with Walmart’s sustainability initiative. The plan is part of a broader Electrify America project to install 2,000 chargers at nearly 500 charging stations across the country by June 2019. Electrify America said in April 80% of the Walmart charging stations would be at store locations alongside highways, while the remaining 20% would be in metro areas. The locations were chosen because their proximity to major interstate highways that criss-cross the country. The two new locations in Arkansas are near Interstates 40 and 30. The older station at the Sam’s Club in Fayetteville is located off Interstate 49.

Walmart has had charging bases in select Walmart and Sam’s Club locations (Bentonville and Fayetteville) with a project run from partner EVGo from 2011 to 2017. Together they put in more than 300 EV charging stations through January 2017.

However, a more recent partnership with Electrify America (announced in April) has Walmart adding several hundred more EV chargers over the next few years. The new stations will span 36 states and bring Walmart’s total number of chargers over 1,000. That will make Walmart one of the nation’s leading EV charger hosts and create a national grid of availability at hundreds of Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations.

Along with providing our customers with an enhanced shopping experience through added convenience, this initiative also allows us to contribute to the expansion of our nation’s EV charging station infrastructure… Many of our Walmart associates and customers are EV drivers so providing access to these stations is the right thing to do for our customers, our business and the environment. – Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of energy for Walmart.

Customers follow a simple “plug-pay-charge-go” sequence and users are guided through it by a 15-inch touchscreen on each charger. After plugging in their vehicles, customers start a charging session by simply inserting or swiping their credit or debit card. Users are given the option for a text to provide in-session monitoring and the delivery of an electric receipt.

Walmart said the new EV charging stations allow for quicker charges, ranging from 10 to 30 minutes. Electrify America provided more specifics, stating that the Walmart installations include DC fast chargers with up to 350 kilowatts of power that can charge the battery for 20 miles of range per minute, allowing customers to shop while their car charges.

The stations will also serve CHAdeMo and CCS Combo plugs to allow the widest variety of electric cars on the road. Also standard Level 2, 240-volt chargers will be available for electric cars and plug-in hybrids that do not have DC fast-charge capability.

The cost for using electric chargers is 12 cents per kWh — the national average. The cost to go about 100 miles is roughly $3.48, according to Edmunds.com.

The Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research 2018 survey found the U.S. is second to China in registration of electric cars. The report found there were 752,520 electric cars, including last year’s 195,140 newly registered vehicles operating in the U.S. While the number is growing, it remains only a fraction of the total estimated 253 million cars and trucks on the roads today.

We recognize that electric vehicles are going to grow and become more relevant… We are trying to get out in front of that. – Vanderhelm.

Other Walmart Supercenter locations slated to get the Electrify America charging stations in the coming months include:

Morgan Colo., Chipley, Fla., Bushnell, Fla., Commerce, Ga., Colby, Kan., Hays, Kan., Topeka, Kan., Sulphur, La., Lebanon, Mo., Mount Vernon, Mo., Missoula, Mont., Albany, N.Y., Grants Pass, Ore., and Spring, Texas.

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