HolyCoast: Costco Dumps Electric Car Charging Stations

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Costco Dumps Electric Car Charging Stations

Why?  Nobody uses them:
Costco, the membership warehouse-club chain, was an early leader in offering electric-vehicle charging to its customers, setting an example followed by other retailers, including Best Buy and Walgreen. By 2006, Costco had installed 90 chargers at 64 stores, mostly in California but also some in Arizona, New York and Georgia. Even after General Motors crushed its EV1 battery cars, the Costco chargers stayed in place.

Yet just as plug-in cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt enter the market, Costco is reversing course and pulling its chargers out of the ground, explaining that customers do not use them.

“We were early supporters of electric cars, going back as far as 15 years. But nobody ever uses them,” said Dennis Hoover, the general manager for Costco in northern California, in a telephone interview. “At our Folsom store, the manager said he hadn’t seen anybody using the E.V. charging in a full year. At our store in Vacaville, where we had six chargers, one person plugged in once a week.”

Mr. Hoover said that E.V. charging was “very inefficient and not productive” for the retailer. “The bottom line is that there are a lot of other ways to be green,” he said. “We have five million members in the region, and just a handful of people are using these devices.”
The picture with the NY Times article is from the store in Rohnert Park where I've shopped with my daughter a few times, and I've seen the chargers at the store in Irvine but in all the years I've gone there I've never seen a car using the devices. I'm sure they were trying to be good neighbors and "green" citizens, but there just aren't enough of those cars running around. And why should they get free power for their vehicles? If Costco wants to be a good citizen to me they can start giving away their gas.

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