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Clint Engel

Some Ikeas to Add Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. - Home furnishings giant Ikea is bringing electric vehicle charging stations to some of its U.S. stores.
     The Top 100 company announced a partnership ECOtality, which offers clean electric transportation and storage technologies, to host the Blink charging stations at certain stores in the West. Locations under consideration include stores in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington.
     It's the first project of its kind for the retailer. ECOtality will oversee the installation and manage the stations, which could be up and running this fall, the retailer said.
     A consumer will pull into the space and swipe a Blink InCard (an RFID card) into the charging unit, then plug the charger into the electric vehicle. While the consumer shops and dines at Ikea, the vehicle will charge.
     The cost will be determined by ECOtality and will vary from region to region depending on electric rates, officials said.
     Each store selected will have a minimum of two stations. The pilot program between ECOtality and Ikea will last through December 2012.
     "We are excited this partnership will make charging stations more accessible to the many people choosing to drive electric vehicles," said Mike Ward, Ikea U.S. president. "Hosting charging stations at Ikea locations known for regional draws furthers our commitment to a smaller carbon footprint and technological opportunities that help protect the environment."
     ECOtality is the project manager of The EV Project, a public-private partnership funded in part by a federal stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. It is overseeing the installation of about 14,000 commercial and residential charging stations in 18 metro areas in six states and Washington, D.C.
     In addition to this new initiative, Ikea's other sustainability efforts include solar energy installations, already operational in eight locations and under way at another 12; recycling waste; incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings with energyefficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights and water-conserving restrooms; and phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers' compact fluorescent bulbs.

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