Kroger, whose supermarket chains include Ralph's and Food 4 Less, will add more than 225 Ecotality charging stations at stores throughout the western US to bring its total to almost 300. Ecotality makes plug-in vehicle charging stations under the Blink brand name, which some EV drivers have had problems with.

Kroger will fund $1.5-million worth of installations at Kroger stores in cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. Of the 225 stations, 25 will be fast-charging stations while the other 200 will be Level 2 units. Kroger already has 60 stations installed in Oregon and Washington, and 14 in Texas.

The Cincinnati-based grocer is looking to lure what it hopes is a broadening number of plug-in vehicle drivers to its stores. Among retailers, according to US Department of Energy figures, Walgreens is by far the most active with station deployment, boasting 365 stores with stations nationally. 55 Kohl's stores had public stations as of March 22, while Whole Foods was home to 39 stations. Overall, the number of publicly accessible charging stations rose about 9 percent during the first quarter to almost 5,700 stations, the DOE says.

Check out the Kroger/Ecotality press release below.

*UPDATE: This post has been updated with corrected station types.
Show full PR text
ECOtality and Kroger Announce Expansion of EV Partnership

Expanded partnership brings charging stations to the Kroger Family of Stores in several key markets across the country

SAN FRANCISCO and CINCINNATI, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ECOtality, Inc., a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies (NASDAQ:ECTY), and The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today announced an expanded partnership including over 200 level 2 (quick charge) charging stations, and 25 DC Fast Chargers, to be installed across key markets through the EV Project. This multimillion dollar expansion will bring the total number of Blink chargers at the Kroger Family of Stores to almost 300.

"As plug-in electric and hybrid cars are becoming more popular with our customers, we are pleased to offer the convenience of electric vehicle charging stations at more of our stores in markets with the highest demand," said Keith Dailey, Kroger spokesperson. "Kroger is excited to contribute to the growth of this national network."

"Retailers across the country are quickly realizing the benefits of installing our Blink chargers. Independent research shows that Blink card holders routinely reward these establishments with more time in their stores and repeat business," stated Ravi Brar, CEO of ECOtality Inc. "Kroger not only recognizes this value, but continues to show its commitment to be a leader in sustainability for the food retail industry. We are thrilled that the nation's largest supermarket chain, Kroger, chose to expand its EV charging station roll-out with Blink."

Details of the agreement include a $1.5 million investment by Kroger to install over 200 Blink charging stations, including 25 DC Fast Chargers, at 125 locations in several key markets including Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles. These stations are in addition to 60 already installed in Oregon and Washington, and 14 in Texas.

About Kroger
Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs 343,000 associates who serve customers in 2,424 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 786 convenience stores, 328 fine jewelry stores, 1,169 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 160 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club.

About ECOtality, Inc.
ECOtality, Inc. is a leader in clean, electric transportation technologies. The Company operates three complementary lines of business: Blink, Minit-Charger and eTec Labs. ECOtality offers electric vehicle charging stations under the Blink brand and provides a turnkey network operating system for EV drivers, commercial businesses and utilities. Minit-Charger manufactures and distributes fast-charging systems for material handling and airport ground support vehicles. eTec Labs is a trusted research and testing resource for governments, automotive OEMs and utilities. For more information about ECOtality, Inc., please visit www.ecotality.com.

About The EV Project
ECOtality is the project manager of The EV Project, a research initiative to help build America's future EV infrastructure. To date, The EV Project has gathered more than 70 million miles of EV driver data that will serve to support the deployment of EVs in key markets. The project is a public-private partnership, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy through a federal stimulus grant and made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). For more information about The EV Project, please visit www.theevproject.com

SOURCE The Kroger Co.