The New York Times is outraged:
“Just as plug-in cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt enter the market, Costco is reversing course and pulling its chargers out of the ground, explaining that customers do not use them.”
Why in the world?
Costco was an early leader in setting up charging station, also in setting an example for other retailers, such as Best Buys and Walgreen. By 2006, Costco had 90 chargers at 64 stores. It didn’t matter that next to nobody had an EV. Even after GM ditched the EV1, Costco kept the chargers.
Now as EVs are finally showing up in (small) numbers, Costco is pulling the plug-in poles.
“Nobody ever uses them,” said Dennis Hoover, the general manager for Costco in northern California, to the Times. “At our Folsom store, the manager said he hadn’t seen anybody using the E.V. charging in a full year.”
“Costco’s charging stations have supported the pioneering owners who purchased electric vehicles in the 1990s and early 2000s. As documented in Who Killed the Electric Car, most of these cars were taken back by the automakers and crushed. Fortunately, hundreds of these vehicles were saved by the electric vehicle activists who founded Plug In America. The owners still depend on these cars, many of which still perform just as well today as when new. These cars are a testament to the longevity and reliability of electric vehicles.”
Hoover is aware of the state-funded upgrade program, but does not want to use it: “Why should we have anybody spend money on a program that nobody’s thought through?”
Or maybe Costco is afraid of the electric bill, now that EVs possibly will show up en-masse?
You never know.