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Walgreens to host EV charging stations

The eVgo Network’s initial launch in 2011 includes EV charging stations in the Houston area along highways and in high-traffic shopping and business districts.
(Credit: eVgo)

The Walgreens pharmacy chain will offer rapid-charging EV stations at 18 Houston-area stores next year, through a partnership with power utility NRG Energy.

NRG’s eVgo Network(pronounced ee-vee-go), one of the first commercial electric-vehicle-charging networks to launch in the U.S., will initially consist of over 100 charging stations and cost NRG about $10 million in infrastructure investment.

The eVgo Network will be rolled out in early 2011 throughout Houston and Harris County, Texas, and include two types of facilities, as well as two types of EV charging stations.

The eVgo network will be an integration of both Level 2 chargers, which generally take four hours to recharge an EV to full capacity, and DC rapid chargers, which can charge an EV in about 30 minutes.

NRG plans to install 50 eVgo “Freedom Stations,” which will be open 24/7 and located in areas like shopping and business parking lots, as well as stops along major highways. They will have either Level 2 or DC rapid chargers.

The eVgo Network will also include “convenience stations,” which will be hosted by retailers in their parking lots and remain open for the duration of the retailers’ business hours. Those stations will consist of DC rapid chargers and offer an option to recharge for 30 miles of range in 10 minutes. In addition to the Walgreens launch, some Best Buy, HEB grocery stores, and Spec’s liquor stores will also offer the DC rapid chargers.

NRG will also offer a “home-and-away” subscription service that will give customers unlimited access to any of the network’s public stations, in addition to having a Level 2 fast-charging station installed at their home.

The network charging stations will be supplied by AeroVironment, which will also manage the integrated communications, data analysis, and maintenance. AeroVironment is known for its rapid-charging stations and already has a deal in place with Think in the U.S. Using AeroVironment’s rapid-charging staions, a Think City EV can recharge from zero to 80 percent capacity in 15 minutes, according to the company.

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