FIRST GAS STATION GOES ELECTRIC


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A U.S. first but not the last: a gas station in Takoma Park, MD, has taken out its gas pumps, ripped up its underground fuel tanks, and replaced that infrastructure with electric car chargers.

The station’s owner was motivated only partly by his teenage daughter’s environmental concerns. The rest of the decision was purely business.

Maryland is home to more than 20,000 electric cars, with hundreds traveling through this Washington, DC suburb every day. Still, the town had only two public charging stations. Those two often have waiting lines that include cabs from Takoma Park’s all-electric taxi company.

Now drivers can pull into the converted gas station and connect to any of four 200kW chargers that will deliver an 80 percent battery “fill-up” in 30 minutes or less. While they wait, customers can go into the station’s convenience store and eat, shop, cruise the web, and check automated screens that show their chargers’ progress.  

To help the gas station make the transition, the Electric Vehicle Institute and the Maryland Energy Administration chipped in grants totaling $786,000 to swap out pumps for chargers and clean up leaks from the underground gas tanks.

TRENDPOST: Converting gas stations to electric charging stops will be only a transitional measure. By 2030, chargers will be dotting parking lots at supermarkets, hospitals, restaurants, gyms, and anywhere that people spend a bit of time. Today’s gas stations will be freed up for conversion to coffee bars, hair salons, and other specialty shops – all with their own electric car chargers.

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