Solar panels have recently been popping up at IKEA stores all around the United States, and now the Swedish furniture giant is about to up its green credentials by installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at 10 stores in the Western US. The charging stations are the result of an IKEA partnership with ECOtality, Inc., a company responsible for installing the stations as early as this fall. Each participating store will host at least two stations, and the pilot program is planned to last through 2012.
Charging stations will be available at select stores in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. These charging stations are a small part of ECOtality‘s current mission overseeing the installation of approximately 14,000 commercial and residential charging stations with financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The company has been charged with helping the DOE to ready the country for deployment of electric vehicles, and they are equipping 18 major metropolitan areas in six states and the District of Columbia with the appropriate infrastructure to accomodate EV adoption.
“We are excited this partnership will make charging stations more accessible to the many people choosing to drive electric vehicles,” said Mike Ward, IKEA U.S. president. “Hosting charging stations at IKEA locations known for regional draws furthers our commitment to a smaller carbon footprint and technological opportunities that help protect the environment.”
The charging stations will be installed at specific locations known to draw customers from a wide catchment area. By strategically choosing these locations involving long commutes, IKEA could potentially increase their customer base — all while decreasing range anxiety. The measure also bodes well in limiting the overall carbon footprint of their products by accounting for energy spent on transport from their store to the consumer’s home.