June 21, 2024

Starbucks has opened electric vehicle charging stations at 15 locations along the thousand-mile stretch between Denver and Seattle as part of its partnership with Swedish automaker Volvo.

The 50 Volvo charging stations, at Starbucks stores in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, recharge any electric car with a CCS1 or CHAdeMO connector.

Starbucks and Volvo said part of their reasoning behind the project, which they announced last year, is to address North America’s lack of charging infrastructure for EVs. As of this summer, there were only 32,000 DC fast chargers publicly available in the U.S.—a tiny fraction of the country’s 2.3 million electric cars.

“We chose the pilot route because Seattle and Denver are two fast growing EV markets, but importantly the corridor that connects the cities is underserved when it comes to existing infrastructure, so we saw an opportunity to connect them,” a Starbucks spokesperson told Quartz.

Other food and retail chains are also seizing on Americans’ rising interest in EVs and the need for more charging stations. Taco Bell, Whole Foods, 7-Eleven, and Subway are among the growing number of companies to add—or plan to add—EV chargers outside their stores.

What kind of EVs will Starbucks’ stations charge?

Most electric vehicles in the U.S. made by companies other than Tesla currently use CCS1 connectors to charge. CCS, which stands for Combined Charging System, was developed by the European Automobile Association. Combined Charging System Type 1 is the most widely used plug to charge electric cars in North America.

CHAdeMO connectors were developed in Japan before the arrival of CCS. Some car manufacturers in Asia adopted them. Older Nissan EV models, for example, use these connectors.

Tesla’s NACS charges ahead

Tesla developed its charging connector and port, which it dubbed the North American Charging Standard, or NACS, before CCS was created. Tesla began allowing other auto companies to use its design last year. A slew of automakers, from General Motors and Ford to Volvo, Hyundai, Honda, and Mercedes, have announced that their new EV models will adopt NACS.

Starbucks told Quartz that it plans to offer EV charging stations compatible with NACS connectors and is “exploring partnerships” with other automakers to open more EV charging stations in the future.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on Dec. 12 with comments from Starbucks.

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