- Walmart plans to build out an electric vehicle charging network across the U.S., adding chargers to thousands of sites by 2030, according to a Thursday press release.
- The company, which already has nearly 1,300 EV charging stations at 280 locations, plans to bring chargers to Walmart Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, as well as Sam’s Clubs.
- Walmart noted in the release that there’s “a store or club located within 10 miles of approximately 90% of Americans,” putting these chargers in easy reach of most EV drivers.
Walmart’s expansive EV charging network could provide a significant competitor for c-stores looking to add the capability. In addition to its large footprint, Walmart is also positioning EV charging as complementary to its in-store shopping experience.
“We can offer customers and members the convenience of being able to pick up essentials for their families or grab a bite to eat while they charge,” Vishal Kapadia, senior vice president, Energy Transformation for Walmart, said in the press release, noting that the company will extend its everyday low price strategy to EV charging.
The ubiquity of Walmarts could also help the company address one of EV drivers’ major concerns: range anxiety.
“Easy access to on-the-go charging is a game-changer for drivers who have been hesitant to purchase an EV for concerns they won’t be able to find a charger in a clean, bright and safe location when needed,” Kapadia said in the announcement.
The move is also part of Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart’s goal of reaching zero emissions by 2030.
The convenience store industry is ramping up its EV charging network as more drivers and vehicle makers transition to electric. Some companies have laid out ambitious expansion programs. For instance, Pilot is aiming to install 2,000 chargers at 500 locations while 7-Eleven just unveiled a proprietary charging network and app. Other companies, like Phillips 66, are piloting smaller programs.
Grocers, mall operators, restaurants and other retailers are also adding EV charging to their parking lots and other facilities, which promises to challenge convenience stores and fuel centers after decades of reliance on liquid fuels.
According to the International Energy Agency, EV sales doubled in 2021 over the previous year. S&P Global Mobility’s forecast, meanwhile, estimates EVs will comprise 40% of new vehicles by 2030.