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Walgreens to Host 800 EV Charge Points; GM to Launch Smart Grid Pilot

Pharmacy chain Walgreens plans to offer electric vehicle charging stations at about 800 locations across the country by the end of the year, making it the nation’s largest charging station retail host.

The charging stations will feature either a high-speed direct current charger that can add 30 miles of range in as little as 10 minutes of charging time, or a Level 2 charger that can add up to 25 miles of range per hour of charge.

Major markets expected to host these sites include Boston, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Select locations in Florida, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington state will also receive charging stations, Walgreens says. Installation in these locations begins later this month.

Walgreens already has installations under way for electric vehicle charging stations at more than 60 stores across Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago.

Earlier this month, Swedish furniture giant Ikea announced it is to host Blink electric vehicle charging stations at 10 stores across the American West and a McDonald’s restaurant in Cary, N.C., said it will host a NovaPoint electric vehicle charging station.

In other electric vehicle news, General Motors and OnStar will this year launch what they say is the first real-world pilot of smart grid solutions for electric vehicles.

In the pilot, employees of regional utilities nationwide will be leased Chevrolet Volts to use as their everyday vehicle. Through the OnStar Advanced Telematics Operations Management System, the utilities will be able to monitor and manage the energy used by the vehicles.

The data will give the utilities insight into where and when electric vehicles are charged, and will enable demand response, which allows the utility to reduce peak demand by shifting electric vehicle charging to non-peak hours.

With ABB Group, GM is also building a prototype that could lead to used Chevy Volt battery packs storing energy and feeding it back to the grid.

The system could store electricity from the grid during times of low usage, to be used during periods of peak demand, saving customers and utilities money. The battery packs could also be used as back-up power sources during outages and brownouts, GM says.

Similarly, Nissan is currently working on a project to bring used batteries from its Leaf electric vehicle back into use – by using them to charge existing batteries in Nissan Leafs. The carmaker and research partner 4R Energy Corporation are aiming the charging product at commercial and public facilities.

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