Ubiquitous convenience-store chain 7-Eleven is getting serious about EV fast charging. The company plans to install 500 DC fast-charging stations at 250 United States and Canada locations by the end of 2022.
That’s a big increase over the 22 charging stations—located at 14 stores in four states—that 7-Eleven currently operates. The company hasn’t yet disclosed a vendor for the new charging stations, but there appears to be ChargePoint branding on the connector of a unit in a company-provided photo.
This could provide an EV-only rival for gas stations, many of which have started installing charging stations alongside gas pumps. Since many 7-Eleven stores are built separate from gas stations, adding charging could provide a similar setup, combining “refueling” of a vehicle with a convenience store..
7-Eleven DC fast-charging station
Other businesses, including Bank of America and Meijer, have also begun adding charging stations recently. Co-locating charging stations with existing businesses has been commonplace from the start, as those businesses get captive customers waiting for cars to charge.
It’s also a matter of real estate. As Electrify America (which has a deal with Walmart, among others) has pointed out, finding physical locations can definitely be harder in urban locations, and it takes some special skills to make sure all the pieces are in place. The extra power needs and larger footprint of DC fast-charging stations adds complexity over Level 2 AC stations.
Where the grid isn’t quite robust enough, battery-buffered solutions such as those from FreeWire help make up for it, providing more flexibility in locating fast-charging stations. By adding a battery, FreeWire claims its Boost Charger allows for similar output to a conventional DC fast-charging station, but with a more straightforward installation process.