Get to Know a Charging Station Host: Hy-Vee
Hy-Vee, an employee-owned grocery store chain, offers Clean Charge Network stations at the majority of its stores in the service area. All charging is free at its Level 2 stations. John Brehm, Hy-Vee’s Director of Site Planning, has been engaged in electric infrastructure for a decade.
When did Hy-Vee’s commitment to electric vehicle charging begin?
John: Sustainability is a primary and ongoing priority at Hy-Vee. We began planning electric vehicle charging stations in 2008 as we pursued LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification at new stores we were developing. The LEED rating system awards points for providing preferential parking stalls for alternative fuel vehicles, as well as charging options for alternative fuel vehicles. We installed our first ChargePoint stations at a store in Madison, Wisconsin in 2010.
How did your electric vehicle charging efforts progress?
John: We realized the audience for EV charging may have been small at the time — but it was growing. And our customer base welcomed it. We want to be a leader in this area so we began adding Level 2 charging stations at all our new stores. It was important to us from a sustainability perspective, and it was another service we could provide to our customers. We always want to be responsible to our communities and the environment.
When the Clean Charge Network came knocking, it was a perfect fit with our company goals. We put stations at every store we could. It was our largest EV charging station commitment in any given market.
Tell us about the partnership with the Clean Charge Network.
John: When the Clean Charge Network came knocking, it was a perfect fit with our company goals. We put stations at every store we could. It was our largest EV charging station commitment in any given market and the only place where we’ve gone in and retrofitted existing stores to add stations. We knew it was going to grow and it has grown. It was also important to us to continue offering free charging at our Level 2 stations. We have a Fuel Saver + Perks program for gas-vehicle drivers, and we consider free charging at Level 2s as our equivalent for EV drivers.
How have you seen electric transportation grow?
John: We’ve seen exponential growth in the number of users. Across all our stores in all markets, we’re seeing 10,000 users at charging stations each month. Now we are thinking about how to keep our infrastructure current and how to plan for growth. We’re also thinking about the strategy and structure behind fast charging at our stores, and how we will handle that.
What do you want to say to EV drivers?
John: You are always welcome at Hy-Vee. We’re always trying to be environmentally and socially conscious and want all our customers to feel at home here. Hy-Vee’s mission is to make people’s lives easier, healthier and happier, and we strive to provide the services and products that you, our customers, value.