LA CROSSE, Wis. - Kwik Trip has started to install electric charging stations at all new stores, the Midwest Energy News reports. Thus far, 25 locations in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin have the 110-volt charging stations.
Some have criticized the chain for such a low-power charger that will not fully recharge vehicles, but Kwik Trip says the stations provide the foundation for updating to higher voltage chargers in the future.
Thus far, Kwik Trip has not seen much use on its Level 1 charging stations, said spokesman Dave Ring. "We want to be ahead of the curve instead of reacting to it."
The chain received no tax incentives or government money for installing the chargers, but Ring indicated Kwik Trip would not rule out those avenues later on if higher-level stations are needed.
Across the country, gasoline stations and cities are considering the viability of offering electric charging stations. St. Paul, Madison, Kansas City and Chicago have, or will soon have, charging venues in public and private locations. On the West Coast, a coalition of private and public groups is working to construct a "green highway" of such stations from Vancouver to San Diego.
"Most gas stations don't make money on gasoline, they make it on soda and coffee and potato chips," said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center. "So it may well be that certain service stations or toll plazas will offer car charging to get people in the store to buy those things. It's a rapidly emerging market€¦We expect most people will tend to charge cars at home overnight when [electricity] market prices are lowest. But many will want the convenience of charging during the day."