The electric revolution is coming, and it will be live streamed. This week electric charger infrastructure company Electrify America announced a partnership with Love’s truck stops to install 28 new stations in six states. The company recently installed its 2000th charging station installation in just two years of operation, and the growth shows no sign of stopping. One way to assuage the truly American sense of range anxiety is to provide easy access to charging points along routes that people want to travel.
While this expansion won’t be instantaneous, and there’s no guarantee that every Love’s will one day have a charging station in place, it’s a great step in the right direction. With over 500 truck stops in 41 U.S. states, Love’s is one of the biggest chains for gas and convenience when you’re travelling the interstate system. When I do lots of miles in the car, I frequently find myself stopping at Love’s because the bathrooms are usually clean and the selection of road trip snacks are pretty much second to none. Add in that these stops have showers and lounges and hot food restaurants on site most of the time, and you’ve got the perfect place to spend an hour or so while your EV charges back up.
“As we continue building charging stations at accessible sites, Love’s Travel Stops was a perfect fit because of its convenient locations near major highways,” said Rachel Moses, senior manager for site acquisition, development and strategy at Electrify America. “Providing EV drivers with the opportunity to charge their vehicles at Love’s locations will help instill confidence for longer interstate trips, and can encourage more consumers to consider making the switch to electric.”
While Electrify America got its start as a $2 billion penalty for the Volkswagen group as a way of offsetting emissions in the wake of its famed emissions scandal, the result seems to be paying off for everyday Americans who want access to charging infrastructure. I’ve used one of EA’s 350 kW chargers recently, and it was both incredibly easy to use and very quick. While the Porsche Taycan I was driving at the time wasn’t completely empty of battery charge, I barely had enough time to run in to a WalMart to get a beverage before the thing was topped up.
The Love’s chargers will be capable of delivering 150 kW or 350 kW, depending on what your vehicle can handle. If your car can accept the full 350 kW (there are currently no cars on the market which can) it would add about 20 miles of range per minute. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Adding the charging capability to fuel stations is a no-brainer, especially for large ones on the interstate. People already know to go there for filling up and humans are nothing if not creatures of habit. As topping up an electric car continues to get faster and range continues to increase, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen more often. In fact Electrify America already has deals in place with Sheetz, Wawa, and Quick Chek fuel stations around the country. These kind of large chain strategic partnerships are what the electric charging network really needs right now, and could pay off big for Electrify America in the long term.
In a similar move, Tesla has already installed four Supercharger sites at Love’s locations in Texas and Alabama. If Tesla really gave a shit about saving the environment, it would open up its charging infrastructure to every electric car. (for the record, back in 2014 Tesla did propose opening its charging standards to the industry. —Ed.)