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Regional independent grocer The Markets (www.themarketsllc.com), based in Bellingham, Wash., has installed an electric car charging station in an effort to serve the more than 1,000 electric vehicles in the state, as well as encourage electric-car ownership among consumers.
The ChargePoint Networked charging station, developed by Campbell, Calif.-based Coulomb Technologies, is the first to be installed in a U.S. supermarket, according to the vendor. The station at the grocer’s newly remodeled Fairhaven location features free charging.
“We decided to offer the charging station because of the greater Bellingham community’s interest in green technology and the large number of people who already drive hybrids,” explained Kevin Weatherill, president and CEO of The Markets. “Many of our customers shop several times a week, so it is easy to plug in while they are stopping. Having a free community charging station, whether it’s for our local customers, or people traveling the I-5 corridor who need a place to ‘refuel,’ is important.”
The networked charging station is part of the ChargePoint Network, which is open to all drivers of plug-in vehicles and provides authentication, management, and real-time control for the networked electric vehicle charging stations through multiple Web-based portals for hosts, fleet managers, drivers and utilities.
“Installing networked charging stations in places such as supermarkets brings the reality of electric vehicles one step closer,” said Weatherill. “As people begin to see this necessary infrastructure for EV emerge in their daily routines, this will bring the idea that electric vehicles are here to stay.”
ChargePoint Network features include:
—Charging status by SMS text or email notification
—Location of unoccupied charging stations via smart phones
—Authenticated access to eliminate energy theft
—Authorized energizing for safety
—Smart Grid integration for utility load management with future V2G capabilities
The network of electric vehicle charging stations is accessible to all plug-in drivers by making a toll-free call to the 24/7 number on each charging station, or signing up for a ChargePoint Network monthly access plan and obtaining a Smart Card. Other future payment options include using any smart (RFID) credit/debit card to authorize a session or using a standard credit or debit card at a remote payment station (RPS) to pay for charging sessions. To locate available charging stations, drivers can visit www.mychargepoint.net and click on “Find Stations.”