Gas Station EV Charging Stations!

by Ben N on March 22, 2011

This just in…

Flying COMPLETELY under the radar, the Kwik-Trip gas station and convenience store chain now has between 40 and 70 EV Charging Stations in place!

How did they do this? Well, it’s not part of any fancy “Brand-Name” charging station, such as ChargePoint, which has a mapping system, iPhone Apps, or other sophisticated mapping/advertising system. Instead, the company simply started adding electric outlets and a sign every time they built a new store or remodeled an old one.

A couple months ago, a friend e-mailed me a photo of one of these charging station signs at a new gas station in a city about 20 miles away. While I was excited to know that there was ONE gas station doing a little to support clean transportation, I’m seldom in that area, and frankly, never followed up on it.

This past Saturday, I was at the Milwaukee Hybrid Group meeting, in Oak Creek, just south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Our special guest speaker was a Chevy Volt owner. He was kind enough to bring out his beautiful new Volt and present to the group about his real-world experiences with it.

Chevy Volt showing off under its hood

As part of his presentation, he mentioned that he saw an EV Charging Station at a GAS STATION that morning. (I can only assume that he stopped there for a carwash – his car was still wet when he showed up!)

TWO different gas stations with EV charging stations in the same corner of my state? Once the meeting was done, you bet my next stop was out to that gas station. Sure enough – right there was a parking space with a metal sign, simply stating ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGE STATION. In fact, it was the EXACT same sign as the photo I had from the other gas station. Are you thinking what I am thinking? If somebody bothered to manufacture TWO of a nice metal sign, they probably had a LOT more than that made!

20-amp GFI Outlet

Simple Charging

Sign lets drivers know where to plug in.

A place to park your electric vehicle

I stopped inside the store and found a manager I could talk to.

Through him, I was able to find contact information for somebody at the corporate offices (based in-state! A local company!)

Today, I gave that number a call and had a great little conversation. My contact wasn’t the “technical” person to talk to, but DID CONFIRM that there are MANY of these EV Charge Stations already in place! I was told the total number of Kwik Trip stations in the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa – I should have taken more notes though! I believe it is 210 stores. And then I was told it was between 40 AND 70 charging stations already out there! (As I said, this wasn’t the tech guy. He did promise to gather some additional information for me, including the EXACT number of Charging Stations.)

This already was the gas station that I used for my gasoline pickup truck. I like the coffee at the place, and it’s one of the few chains where I can find E-85 fuel as well.

Now I’ve got one more reason to like the place!

I’ll keep you updated as I can find more information. As it it right now, you WON’T FIND ANY INFORMATION about this on Kwik-Trips web page. I was told that they are in the middle of a considerable amount of redesigning of the web page, and would like to include in the future and map and search feature showing where EV Charging stations are. I was also told that they have plans to upgrade from the 20 amp 120V outlets to something more powerful in the near future. Will this mean Level 2 Charging from a J1772 connector?

Only time will tell, but I will do my best to keep you updated on one of the largest private roll-out of Charging Stations that I’ve ever heard of!

Keep leading the charge!

-Ben Nelson

Click the link below for a very brief video showing the charging station.

EV Charging Station at GAS STATION Video Link.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bob Moffitt March 23, 2011 at 2:49 pm

I did a piece on this some time ago, for the KSTP “News Where You Live” feature:

Robert Moffitt
Communications Director
Clean Fuel & Vehicle Technologies program
American Lung Association in Minnesota

2 Ben Nelson March 23, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Thanks for that, Bob!
I find that things like this seldom seem to get the attention that they should. I hadn’t heard anything about Kwik-Trip doing charging stations through any of my typical channels, so it was a real pleasant surprise when I found out about this!


3 Ken April 1, 2011 at 9:53 am

Hey Ben,

Found you through ecorenovator forum. As for the “fancy “Brand-Name” charging station”, I’ve worked with Coulomb and their distributors… great product, but a little unnecessary and way overpriced. I met an Israeli guy maybe a year ago who said he could copy the station and produce it for less than $800… think coulomb is selling their’s for $3,000 plus… Curious if there’s a dumbed down level 2 unit on the market yet?


4 admin April 1, 2011 at 10:18 am

I’m friends with out local Coulomb distributor and have a ChargePoint card. It’s a great charging station, but I just can’t imagine anyone selling enough electricity to pay for the thing. Some people do think that anytime electricity isn’t being directly paid for, it’s “Stealing”. We literally give away many other commodities – how often do you get charged for a glass of water? I guess I think of electric outlets as glasses of water and Charging Stations like ChargePoint as “Bottled Water”. There’s room in the market for both, but I always ask for tap water.

5 Ken April 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I agree. The Coulomb concept and pay-per-charge does have it’s place. But for the vast majority of drivers, we’ll just need a “top up”. Our Coulomb rep said payback to station owners is in 3 to 4 years – obviously, there aren’t enough plug-ins on the road yet and frankly, the high cost of the charging units is a tough one to sell to businesses – even with credits and depreciation.

If anyone finds a low cost level 2 version please feel free to let me know, would be very interested in checking it out and possibly recommending it to clients. I have a contact form on our website that goes right to my personal email.



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