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What a Sad Sight: Electric Car Charging Station at my Local Costco Warehouse.

By • Dec 2nd, 2008 • Category: Clean Car Talk Posts

I ran into a really sad sight on my recent trip to the local Costco Warehouse. It forced me to think a little bit more than usual. It’s not the first time I noticed this. I’ve seen it many times before. But it wasn’t until yesterday that it dawned on me with a huge mega-watt light bulb. I wonder who else noticed it. Maybe everyone is immune to it.

ev costco charging station What a Sad Sight: Electric Car Charging Station at my Local Costco Warehouse.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about those electric car charging stations sitting idling and unused at Costco locations. Here’s what Costco wrote about these charging stations back in its December 2006 Costco Connection issue:

“Costco offers 90 charging stations at 64 locations. Most of the stations are in California, with a handful in Arizona, New York and Georgia…The process couldn’t be simpler. Members park in reserved spaces, attach special paddles and head into the warehouse. By the time their shopping is done, their car should be, too.”

The article had this photo showing a Toyota RAV-4 EV parking right next to it, although I don’t think it’s charging. As far as I know all those charging stations are still where they’re originally installed. The one near my home in Carmel Mountain Ranch has 2 charging stations and 2 spaces. The sad fact is there’s no one using them.

Well back to the present, November 2008. I couldn’t help but whip out my iPhone to take a few snapshots. What a sad scene, I must admit. One can look at this from different angles, including:

  1. It’s such a big waste of space. Many cars can utilize this space every day. Oh wait, people are parking in those spaces. In fact there’s an SUV parking right there!
  2. Actually it’s not a bad storage area. Or a temporary shopping cart roundup area. Or a place to recycle cardboard boxes.
  3. There must not be enough electric car drivers who need a recharge while shopping, else there would be some serious complaints logged.

I guess we’re still not ready for clean electric or plug-in cars yet. These charging stations are still way ahead of their times.

costco charging stations1 300x225 What a Sad Sight: Electric Car Charging Station at my Local Costco Warehouse. costco charging stations2 300x225 What a Sad Sight: Electric Car Charging Station at my Local Costco Warehouse.
costco charging stations3 300x225 What a Sad Sight: Electric Car Charging Station at my Local Costco Warehouse. costco charging stations4 300x225 What a Sad Sight: Electric Car Charging Station at my Local Costco Warehouse.
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Tagged as: charging station, costco, electric car, plug-in, toyota rav 4

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5 Responses »

  1. Not any more… there are scores of EVs on the road and the real sad sight is that Costco has not been pro-active in replacing the old paddle style inductive chargers with the new standard chargers — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAE_J1772.

  2. Okay, so I am a Nissan Leaf owner and I can tell you the problem with these stations is that they were installed 9 years ago, when there were less than 1,000 EV’s on the road and there was no U.S. standard for chargers. 99% of the EV’s out there today, The Volt, Leaf, Plug-in Prius, and Mini-Cooper cannot use them. I was also really disappointed when I first saw how old these were at the Carmel Mountain Costco. I think they are are great idea, but they need to update the Chargers to the new standard and most of the cars they were made to charge are no longer on the road.

    I do agree to a point, either replace them with the new standard L2 or Quick chargers, or get rid of them.

  3. Even sadder sight: today when I went to my local Costco and parked in the charging station space (where our “old paddle style” Rav4 charged happily only last week) and the charger was just GONE.

    A message relayed from a manager claimed that Costco Corporate ordered all electric car charging stations removed but the guys in the Costco auto shop right next to the charging station said it was sent out for repairs. The unit was working perfectly last week, so that seems unlikely. Perhaps Costco is updating and I’ll now be obsolete. Perhaps they really are removing all of them.

    Wonderfully ironic note: we are located in Fremont, California, home of the Tesla Motors factory…

  4. Hey that is an electric car. Says EV right on it. Could be my car. I’ve charged at many Costcos as I shop. Costco should keep the chargers used by RAV4EVs and utilize the California Energy Commission grant to upgrade the others.

  5. Many ev owners who go to a Costco usually go to one that is nearby their home. So there is no need to charge at Costco and pay a premium fee when they can charge their vehicle cheaper at home. The Costco stations are for travelers who come from a different city. As such, we shouldn’t expect to see many of those at Costco stations, or any charging stations, unless there are lots of travelers who are also ev drivers.

    It’s just a convenience that most ev drivers will appreciate having (especially when they travel long distances), though they rarely use the stations. It’s good advertising for Costco also, because it shows Costco is conscientious towards green energy.

So what's your view? Write a comment below.