By on September 30, 2019

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]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

32 Comments on “First U.S. Gas Station Transitions to EV Charging...”


  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Am I the only one to notice that gas stations have been closing in droves in outlying areas for about ten years now?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      A lot of those closures, even in the Great Southwest, are because the fixed overhead/operating expenses kept them from being profitable.

      But what I have noticed in my travels is that many formerly gas/diesel-only stations now have added several EV charging stations on one side of the property, away from the gas pumps.

      I was “gassing up” at a Shell station in Scottsdale recently when a loud shouting match at an EV charging station made me look in that direction.

      Two guys were arguing about who got there first. Both were driving a Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        I wonder if Shell electricity is better than no name electricity

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          It’s got detergents in the electricity to keep your batteries running longer!

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            I always specify Shell V-Power NiTRO+ Premium Power when recharging my EV’s. (Not sure Watt the difference is, but I’m told it Hertz the car when you don’t pay extra for the good stuff – so I never drive Ohm on anything else.)

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Way to keep current on this — I really got a charge out of reading that!

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            It’s sort-of already started. The Alltown Gas Station in Plymouth MA is boasting 350 kW chargers that give you “20 miles per minute” charging. Of course, only the Taycan can handle 350 kW (as far as I know) but, details… The station is in a good location to pick up cars coming back to Boston from Cape Cod.

          • 0 avatar
            Lokki

            You guys are soooo uneducated you think you are joking about dirty electricity.

            Well, schoolboys, prepare to be educated!

            AUDIOQUEST NIAGARA 7000 POWER CONDITIONER

            “while every person has become a mobile RF generator and the sheer range and complexity of electronic devices that litter our homes has exploded, with every one of them dumping ever-increasing levels of noise back onto the AC ground. Meanwhile, AC conditioning technology has advanced, as has our understanding of the damaging influence of noise sources and of treatment of noise within …[electrical]… systems. As AC quality has collapsed, both in terms of consistent, stable voltage and the degree of RF pollution and other noise that infests it, the tools available to combat the decline have improved…[With an 81-pound] size and weight (and at £7,995, the price) … it’s a substantial beast that offers 11AC outlets (12 if you opt for Schuko or US socketry) arranged in three separate banks, one bank of three for high-current applications, two banks of four for low-noise (source) supplies. That’s capacity enough to feed all but the most complex systems. The three sockets (four in the Eu/US) designated for high-current applications. ..”

            I have one in my garage and use it both for my Tesla and my electric mower. The acceleration of the Tesla is much smoother now, and when I cut the grass, the lack of line noise means that the motor vibrates less, cutting the edges of the blades of grass more smoothly.

            https://www.hifiplus.com/articles/audiouest-niagra-7000-power-conditioner/

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @thornmark: “I wonder if Shell electricity is better than no name electricity”

          Well, as a matter of fact…

          https://www.shell.us/business-customers/shellrechargeplus.html#iframe=L2Zvcm1zL2VuX3VzX3NoZWxsX3JlY2hhcmdlX3BsdXM

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      I thought the money is in food & drink not gas, so it doesn’t surprise me if some stations that deal mostly in gas are closing. Good “service” stations that do light repairs and offer gas will hang on if they have good customer service and know their market. Related: Wawa, known in the PA/DE/NJ area is expanding into urban areas within Washington DC and surroundings, and not all stores even sell gas. So, gas station food, without the option to buy gas (I’m from Wawa’s home region, it is decent *for gas station food* but it ain’t all that.)

      As for this specific article, Takoma Park has a certain reputation around the DC area, so this is not surprising in a certain sense and it capitalizes on TP’s reputation and political bent. As for this specific business, a friend lives nearby and got his car serviced there a bit, so I don’t think this place sold much gas anyway. As the article mentions, he probably didn’t have put up much for this, the upgrades being financed through grants, so he cashes in on the publicity mostly, and TP residents bask in the glow of their virtue signaling that makes national news.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    My local Costco just put in a gas station and there’s a line there all day long.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    FWIW, I count 10 fast-charge sites in the Takoma Park area:

    https://afdc.energy.gov/stations/#/find/nearest?location=takoma%20park,%20md&fuel=ELEC&ev_levels=dc_fast

    However, some of them appear to be destination chargers (hotels, parking lots, etc) that may require you to be a paying patron in addition to the refilling charges. The Nissan location is ChAdeMO only, pretty much only for Leafs.

    So this converted gas station may do OK in that market.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Looks like there is an Electrify America Charging center coming soon in that area to a walmart supercenter. One thing they have going for them is that I noticed in the Plugshare listing they say they do EV servicing. That’s where they’ll make their real money.

  • avatar
    Fliggin_De_Fluge

    Thats cute. Where are they hiding the gas generators?

  • avatar

    I approve it wholeheartedly. But I wonder how he makes living? Is it store that makes money or service bays? Certainly gas station does not make a dime and electricity is free. In an case – a good decision – if gasoline sale do not bring profits what’s the point of selling gas? Less hassle and electricity is cleaner and much less hassle. Greta would approve too.

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    And in 2030 when Maryland generates 50% of it’s electricity from renewable resources this will make for a great “green” article.

    Until then, assuming it happens and regulations aren’t rolled back or deferred when costs soar past expectations, that electricity will keep coming from predominately nuclear, coal and gas burning.

    Shifting pollution from the end user could have it’s benefits if EPA regulations were driving cleaner and more efficient energy production in that state.

    However, back on topic of the article, it will be interesting to see if this cash-burning station could have possibly survived without 3/4 of a million dollars keeping this well-oiled cash-burning machine afloat…. I anticipate that once the fires die down, more cash will be fed to this fire just to see the economic impact.

    Source for electrical usage/generation/source:
    https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=MD

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “And in 2030 when Maryland generates 50% of it’s electricity from renewable resources ”

      Still cleaner than ICE. Doesn’t have to be 50% from renewables to be green. It’s a gradual process anyway. That 50% doesn’t just happen on January 1st 2030.

      Cash burning? You don’t know that. Looks like they’re getting money from their EV (and ICE) service business and the food. The oil companies contract was going to burn some cash too. They don’t seem to be charging for the electricity now, but that could change at any point.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Still cleaner than ICE. Doesn’t have to be 50% from renewables to be green.”

        You would need data to make such an argument.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          He’s right though. Wheel to well, an EV is cleaner than the equivalent ICE car pretty much anywhere in America, even a coal state, and the picture continues to improve as the grid gets cleaner.
          https://blog.ucsusa.org/dave-reichmuth/new-data-show-electric-vehicles-continue-to-get-cleaner

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Unless you factor in battery materials.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            No data is presented at all to make such an assertion, however I am referring more to costs of generating the electricity. Battery disposal may also be a concern.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Oh, boy ~ the times, they are a changing .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    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.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “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.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Scoutdude: I have not seen #2 yet. Looks interesting but it doesn’t really address the total problem. What...
  • APaGttH: Almost $30K for a Corolla if you tick all the boxes…and no more grunt under the hood. $26K to enter...
  • Michael S6: 29 k is GTI money
  • EBFlex: Why does anyone reply to EBFlex? He’s obnoxious, aggressively ignorant, and has never added an ounce of...
  • ToolGuy: Oh hey Peter. “GM is awesome, and Cadillac represents GM at its finest.” Agree or disagree?

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber