Boycott Costco! Save The Chargers!

boycott costco save the chargers

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.”

Plug In America, a California-based E.V. advocacy group, is mounting a spirited save-the-chargers campaign:

“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.”

The Costco outlets are outdated by current standards and most likely only fit those pioneering cars from the last millennium. A state-supported program would let Costco upgrade them at no cost.

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.

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3 of 44 comments
  • MarkD MarkD on Aug 22, 2011

    Would that article be written by Tom Friedman? The Times columnist with the Al Gore sized mansion and matching ego? I'm sure he rides the subway to work. Sarcasm aside, I just wish Costco would build some stores upstate. They don't even need chargers.

  • Amca Amca on Aug 26, 2011

    It's unconscionable that they would remove charges no one was using. They have offended the gods of the electric car. Cosmic reprisal will meet Costco's blasphemy.

    • Eldard Eldard on Aug 27, 2011

      People who worship NY Times probably won't be able to even afford incense sticks soon. Rejoice!!!

  • Daniel J I believe anyone, at any level, should get paid as much as the market will bear. Why should CEOs have capped salaries or compensation but middle management shouldn't? If companies support poor CEOs and poor CEOs keep getting rewarded, it's up to the consumer and investors to force that company to either get a better CEO or to reduce the salary of that CEO. What I find hilarious is that consumers will continue to support companies where the pay for the CEOs is very high. And the same people complain. I stopped buying from Amazon during the pandemic. Everyone happily buys from them but the CEO makes bank. Same way with Walmart and many other retailers. Tim Cook got 100m in compensation last year yet people line up to buy Iphones. People who complain and still buy the products must not really care that much.
  • TDIGuy Glad to see this discussion come up just as my Facebook is being flooded with ads for a race track event coming up near Toronto. Seems to be billed as a chance to see a lot of exotic cars, but also watch various categories of cars on the race track. This is the kind of event that might generate some interest in getting on the track.Sorry for lack of detail, but I'm not doing this in attempt to spam, but more to show there are attempts being made to increase interest. That said, someone made the point that there are less and less people out there with something that could be driven on a race track (i.e. a car), so it does leave it to the grass roots type of racers to keep this going.
  • DedBull The more opportunities you present people with legal means to enjoy their hobbies, the less they are tempted to do those activities illegally. The challenge becomes making a business case out of the resulting facility. We have to be vigilant in preserving the facilities we have, as well as exploring options to expand when available.
  • Johnster Not feelin' it. The traditional unreliability of turbo engines is a big turn-off, especially in a work truck that (I hope) you'd want to keep on the road for 200,000 miles or more without having major repairs.
  • ToolGuy Car audio is way overpriced.