Walmart to Expand EV Charging Network to Thousands of Stores

'Charge While You Shop' Effort to Accelerate by 2030
Signage outside a Walmart store in Albany, N.Y.
Signage outside a Walmart store in Albany, N.Y. (Angus Mordant/Bloomberg News)

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Walmart Inc. plans to add thousands of electric vehicle charging stations by 2030, joining a broader push to make it easier for motorists to pivot away from cars powered by fossil fuels.

The expansion will add to the retailer’s existing network of 1,300 fast-charging stations at 280 locations, Vishal Kapadia, Walmart’s senior vice president of energy transformation, said in a statement April 6. Walmart didn’t say how many charging stations it would build, but the company has about 4,700 stores plus 600 Sam’s Club locations. About 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart location, according to the company.

Kapadia said Walmart is “uniquely positioned” to offer charging stations across rural, suburban and urban areas and the retailer’s goal “is to meet the needs of customers and members where they live and open the road to those driving across the country.”

The move comes as President Joe Biden is pushing to build a nationwide charging network to encourage car buyers to go electric. Walmart’s plan gives the company a chance to burnish its environmental credentials while enticing EV owners to shop at its stores during charging.

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The Biden administration aims to deploy 500,000 charging stations over the next five years, and the Transportation Department began accepting applications last month for $2.5 billion in grants to run public charging sites. But there’s disagreement about where public stations should be installed and which business models will work best for deploying and maintaining them.

Retailers including Kroger Co. are also installing chargers, hoping to encourage shoppers to linger in stores as their cars charge outside. Pilot and Flying J, meanwhile, are adding chargers to their freeway travel centers for long-distance travelers.

Walmart Inc. ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

— With assistance from David R. Baker.

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