Walmart late last week announced plans "to make electric vehicle (EV) ownership more accessible, reliable, convenient and affordable for them across the country."
Vishal Kapadia, the company's senior vice president or Energy Transformation, said that "by 2030, we intend to build our own EV fast-charging network at thousands of Walmart and Sam’s Club locations coast-to-coast. This would be in addition to the almost 1,300 EV fast-charging stations we already have available at more than 280 U.S. facilities … At the same time, as more drivers transition to EVs, our network growth will help expand domestic EV charging capacity across states."
Kapadia noted that "with a store or club located within 10 miles of approximately 90% of Americans, we are uniquely positioned to deliver a convenient charging option that will help make EV ownership possible whether people live in rural, suburban or urban areas."
The Washington Post writes that "electric car sales are rising sharply from a small base. Fully electric vehicles made up 7 percent of new vehicle registrations in the United States in January, compared with 4.1 percent a year earlier, according to S&P Global Mobility. But consumer worries about high prices, sparse charging infrastructure and the risks of road-testing new technology are still obstacles to mainstream acceptance."
- KC's View:
Walmart is making a bet that we're reaching a tipping point when it comes to EV ownership, and it would seem to be a smart bet.
Indeed, the US government is doing its best to push the country in that direction; the Detroit News wrote late last week that "the Biden administration is on track to propose the toughest-ever U.S. curbs on car pollution, while stopping short of an electric-vehicle mandate or ban on gas-powered models. The proposed standards on cars and light trucks, set to be announced Wednesday in Detroit, are expected to govern tailpipe emissions of carbon dioxide, smog-forming nitrogen oxide and other pollution from vehicles manufactured for model years 2027 through 2032."
At the same time, the Washington Post writes, "Making electric cars an easier reach for the masses remains a major pillar of the Biden administration’s green energy policy. The White House aims to address the charging gap with funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law, which provides $7.5 billion to subsidize construction of EV charging stations. The federal government has begun distributing that funding to states."
And, we've already seen companies like 7-Eleven commit to creating substantial charging station networks. So while Walmart is out in front, it is not entirely alone there.
One expert tells the Post that EV growth has been inhibited by a "chicken and egg" problem, with not enough chargers available. Now, it appears, companies like Walmart have decided that they want to own the chicken.