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Kohls plugs in electric vehicle charging stations

Retailer will pilot technologies from Coulomb and ECOtality in 33 different locations nationwide.

Retailer Kohl's Department Stores plans to test electric vehicle charging technologies from ECOtality and Coulomb Technologies at 33 stores nationwide. It actually has published a list of those stores, which are in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Kohl's said it doesn't plan to charge shoppers for the charging services, and there will be anywhere from one to four parking spots reserved for electric vehicle drivers. (It should be interesting to see if people honor those spot when the parking lot is full.) Drivers will need to activate the charging mechanism with either a radio frequency identification (RFID) card that they get at the Kohl's customer service desk or via a phone number that is on the charging station itself.

Kohl's will split up the installations between ECOtality, which is part of The EV Project, and Coulomb, which has created the ChargePoint Network.

ECOtality's Blink Pedestal EV charging stations will be installed at 14 locations in Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington. The Coulomb ChargePoint technologies will in 19 other locations in California, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Both sets of installations are being made possible (at least in part) by grant money made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

"Not only are these stations an added shopped convenience, they also encourage environmental responsibility among our shoppers," said John Worthington, Kohl's chief administrative officer. "We will continue to explore additional locations to pilot charging stations at our stores nationwide."

Kohl's plans to give the technology installed under The EV Project initiative about a year in the field; it will decide whether to continue or expand the effort by Dec. 31, 2012. The Coulomb trial phase will last a little longer, through October 2013.