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Electric Vehicle Charging Station

It’s the thought that counts. Right?

Well, if you find yourself in exurban Minneapolis, you can charge your electric vehicle here. It’s a Kwik Trip.

This is it!

Here you go …

Kwik Trip is installing these at a number of their Midwestern locations. The most obvious problem here is that of voltage.

“The family-owned Kwik Trip chain is installing the stations at all its new stores, a total of 25 so far in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. But the outlets only provide 110 volts, which, charging for the few minutes it takes to grab coffee and use the bathroom, would barely get someone out of the parking lot and down the block. Charging for an hour at that voltage might allow a typical electric vehicle to run three to five miles.” - Midwest Energy News  (June 7, 2011)

In the larger scope of things, that issue is secondary.

The real issue is location, as in- it’s in the middle of nowhere and, unless you want to hang out at an exurban gas station for literally hours, this charging station will get you nowhere except to another gas station.

The Location: Approximately 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

The StreetView: Not good, but they do have a sidewalk. Not sure where it goes though.

The beauty of new Kwik Trip stations? They are designed to be LEED certified. While I’m not positive if this particular gas station is LEED approved, I do know Kwik Trip has been designing to certification. My question is; who are they trying to fool?

This all comes back to something I remember James Howard Kunstler writing; “The time has really come to change our national motto from E Pluribus Unum to It’s the Thought That Counts!

*See also: Mailbag: LID and NU over at StrongTowns.org.

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5 comments

  1. I’ve lived on both the west and east side of this station, I wouldn’t call it an urban location, but its not in the middle of nowhere. HWY 212 that it is built on was in need of a station like this and the area in general has seen a great deal of growth lately. Just last year they built a quite large hospital one exit west down the highway. I would expect that exit and area to see significant growth over the coming years… but I’m not a urban planner or anyone with expert knowledge either.
    I do agree with the point on the voltage though. It reminds me of the wind power generator that Best Buy Eden Prairie installed a few years ago.

    1. David – Thanks for commenting. I admit that I was a little harsh in calling it the “middle of nowhere.” There is actually some really cool stuff in downtown Carver and Chaska, as well as some very good parks.

      There is a Park & Ride station across the street. Good observation. I’m certainly not against Park and Ride stations, but they need to be oriented like the Southwest Station in Eden Prairie (and have housing, stores and accessible, walkable areas surrounding them (that is, they need that if they are to be successful).

      Will development occur there? In the short term – my guess is ‘no’. In the long run, sure, eventually something will fill in. What I think this area really needs is something to address the human scale. I don’t see that type of development happening though.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. So if these charging stations are basically unusable, why are they installing them? Do they get to check a box on the LEED list? In the Midwest Energy News article, they say it is so they can install more powerful stations later at a lower cost – but it looks to me like it’s just the concrete and the pole. Couldn’t they have just installed the underground line and waited on the actual plug until they could afford a Level 2 station?

    1. Yes – they are basically unusable.

      It’s basically a metal pole with an outlet and a cheap sign. I’m not really sure why they are installing them. It’s such an empty gesture – and not even a good one. Maybe Kwik Trip wanted to drop some fuel so some bloggers could start a fire? I somewhat buy into the notion that Kunstler is right: “The time has really come to change our national motto from E Pluribus Unum to It’s the Thought That Counts!”.

      Why bother with this charging station? That’s my question. It’s totally pointless. If anyone starts to argue that the American mindset of the suburban experiment hasn’t lost its collective mind – I will simply e-mail them that picture. – Nate

  3. I don’t know, man. 20A at 110V could charge that biatch up pretty quickly. I’d give way better chances.

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