Parking lots are crowded, so electric car owners have real perks when it comes to parking in prime spots reserved for electric vehicles to plug in. Now IKEA has installed four electric vehicle charging stations in its Atlanta store, the 11th at which it has added charging stations.
IKEA is not alone by any means. A New York Times feature reports that high voltage car chargers, often dressed up to mimic a gas pump, can charge an electric vehicle in less than an hour. However, the Times reports that the price—49 cents a kilowatt hour—is roughly four times what people for electricity in their homes. Not every vendor charges for plugging in an electric car; some use the chargers as a tool to attract shoppers.
The IKEA in Atlanta features four Blink electric vehicle charging stations as part of a partnership with Car Charging Group, which has more than 13,430 charging points in 35 states and three countries.
Using a an RFID Blink InCard to tap the charger, the customer plugs the car in. In case the customer is not already a Blink member, a customer support number is posted at each station, making it easy to join, and, of course, there is a Web site. Blink, for example, shows 240+ charging stations in Phoenix and has a national map showing the location of its charging stations.
Local utilities, such as Tucson Electric Power in Tucson and Georgia Power in Atlanta are also helping merchants install the charging facilities.
IKEA views the car charging as just another of its sustainable business practices. These include recycling waste material, incorporating energy-efficient HVAC and lighting, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas and water-conserving restrooms. It also does not sell incandescent bulbs and offers a recycling service for customers used CFLs.