First U.S. Gas Station Transitions to EV Charging

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
first u s gas station transitions to ev charging

A gas station in Takoma Park, Maryland, has become the first in America to abandon fuel pumps for EV chargers. Established in 1958, RS Automotives was your typical, small town oil change place. There were three service bays, a convenience store, some light parking, and what used to be a trio of fueling pumps. On Thursday, the station reopened — having replaced gas pumps with 200 kilowatt electric charging stations.

While there are other devoted EV charging locations dotted around this great nation, this is the first mom-and-pop fuel store we’re aware of that’s made the switch.

In an interview with CNBC, the station’s owner (since 1997), Depeswar Doley, said he was displeased with the way oil and gasoline companies structured their contracts and had been hoping to make changes. His daughter encouraged him to turn away from gasoline and install EV charging points after he told her he had scheduled a meeting with the Electric Vehicle Institute.

“You notice there are not too many electric vehicles on the road,” he said. “So it’s not something that I expect to become rich overnight or something like that, but it’s a good cause [and] good for the environment.”

While Doley may not get rich overnight, the cost of the station’s conversion was covered by Electric Vehicle Institute (EVI) and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), which provided a grant of $786,000, according to CBS Baltimore. It’s unclear how much of the grant funds were required.

From CNBC:

Matthew Wade, EVI CEO, said the area has had issues with the supply of charging stations not meeting the demand of EVs. Takoma Park had just two chargers, one in a community center parking lot and the other at a street location.

“They were fully utilized throughout the day; people were lining up,” Wade said. “The city was happy they were being used, but then they said, ‘Wait, no one can get in this parking lot, because these taxis are using these chargers.'”

Wade says the gas station layout, which is designed for flow traffic, will help alleviate that problem.

RS Automotives now has four 200-kW charging points that should get most vehicles a majority charge in under 30 minutes. Driver’s forced to endure the full wait can reportedly enjoy the site’s automated convenience store, which includes screens that track vehicles’ charging progress. We’ve also learned the location plans to continue offering routine maintenance for internal-combustion cars, as well as light repairs and rental services.

Subsequent interviews with Doley since the shop’s Thursday reopening have shown he remains pleased with his decision, but still harbors doubts about the station’s long-term profitability.

“It’s good for the environment,” he told CNN. “I’m not doing this just to nickel and dime, thinking about how much money I’m going to make — no. I know this is a good cause, and this is something new. What I’m doing, maybe it will encourage other businesses owners and encourage the electric car business.”

Unsurprisingly, Doley’s positive attitude is being echoed b state officials. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement heralding the station’s transition as a major win. “Maryland is proud to be a national leader when it comes to clean and renewable energy, climate change and the promotion of electric infrastructure and vehicles,” he said in release. “This fully converted gas-to-electric charging station is a prime example of our administration’s commitment to the environment and transportation.”

[Image: JL IMAGES/Shutterstock]

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6 of 32 comments
  • SaulTigh SaulTigh on Sep 30, 2019

    Interesting concept. It's long been known that operators make little to nothing on gas, but do make money when you come in and utilize the convenience store aspect of their business. With charging taking much longer than pumping gas, I can see where this would drive sales inside if you made it a hospitable place to wait and spend money.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Sep 30, 2019

    "While Doley may not get rich overnight, the cost of the station’s conversion was covered by Electric Vehicle Institute (EVI) and the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA), which provided a grant of $786,000, according to CBS Baltimore. It’s unclear how much of the grant funds were required." Other than providing his business with a free new method to attract customers, and probably give him the infrastructure allow him to profit on electricity charging later, how much of that figure went right into Mr. Doley's pocket I wonder. Money well spent /s.

    • See 3 previous
    • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Oct 01, 2019

      Probably very little. Grants like this typically require a budget and after-action reports showing that the grantee adhered to the budget.

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