The electric car industry has attracted a very powerful ally in the shape of Swedish retailer IKEA, which already has nine sites with EV charging stations attach in the U.S. The company has announced plans for a further eight locations where it will install 24 Blink EV charging stations in the short term with the number set to rise to 55 charging stations at 17 locations by the end of summer 2013.
While this does not necessarily attract major attention across the EV industry there is no doubt that powerful allies, such as IKEA, will play a major role in bringing EVs to the attention of the general public. It will be interesting to see which other major retailers follow suit as IKEA has a reputation for implementing "green technology" where possible.
Is this just a PR stunt?
While they will be many companies across the U.S., and indeed across the world, that will use the electric vehicle charging industry as something of a public relations stunt, this is not the case with IKEA. While the company is generally looking to offer charging facilities for EV motorists it is perhaps the fact that the company is also willing and able to promote the concept of electric vehicles to the wider public.
If this was purely and simply a means of offering recharging facilities to EV motorists then these charging points could be hidden away from the general public. As it happens the company has made these charging points as visible as possible at the front of their stores which is certainly prompting a number of conversation starters for passing customers.
Reduction in gasoline stations
One other subject which has gone relatively unmentioned across the general media is the fact that the number of gasoline stations in the U.S. has been plummeting for over a decade now. This comes at a time and renewed interest in the electric vehicle market is starting to gather momentum and we now have more EV charging stations than ever before. It will be interesting to see which companies join the media bandwagon in relation to EV charging points and whether we are now seeing a shift of power in the motoring arena.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Bosch has released a new wireless charging system for EVs which is so far compatible with two vehicles - Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt - is this the way forward?"
The U.S. government will be well aware of the reduction in gasoline stations and the pressure this is putting upon gasoline taxes. This is almost certainly the reason why more politicians across the U.S. are now looking to introduce specific EV taxes even though the electric used to recharge these vehicles already attracts tax.
Onwards and upwards
Each day now seems to bring more positive news in the EV industry and the fact that IKEA is not only ingratiating itself with the industry but also willing to publicise the sector to those currently driving non-EV vehicles is a major plus point. We will likely see an array of major retailers across the U.S., and across the world, jumping aboard this bandwagon because it is certainly rolling forward at record speeds.
Are we really at a turning point for the EV industry?