How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car at Walgreens?

An electric vehicle uses advanced technology and futuristic features to provide consumers with an unparalleled driving experience.

However, the experience comes with a steep price, as most electric cars cost almost twice as much as gasoline-powered vehicles.

Consumers around the world are found willing to pay the high purchase price for an electric vehicle. This trend is seen because consumers are sold on the idea that, in the long run, the low monthly and annual recharging costs will make up for the initial investment.

In 2011, Walgreens, which is the biggest retail chain in America, announced that they would be installing electric vehicle charging stations across 800 locations across America.

Some of the major markets where Walgreens’ charging stations would be installed included Chicago, Denver, Boston, Orlando, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, D.C, Portland, etc. 

Due to the abundance of Walgreens in all these locations, Walgreens would become the nation’s largest retail host for electric vehicle charging stations.

However, despite the initial consumer excitement, Walgreens soon had to face a lot of criticism. In general, charging a mid-sized electric vehicle will cost 300 to 400 USD per year.

The exact amount will vary regionally and according to the charging source (at-home or a public charging station) the consumer uses more frequently.

On the other hand, refueling a mid-sized gasoline-powered vehicle would cost approximately 1000 to 25000 USD per year.

Walgreens’ EV charging station launch did not get the reaction they expected, as their charges turned out to be high enough to make gasoline refueling cheaper than charging an electric vehicle.

Moreover, their per-hour charging system was extremely flawed as it did not take into account the size of an electric vehicle’s battery.

So, how much does it cost to charge an electric vehicle at Walgreens?

This article will also include helpful tips for electric vehicle owners to reduce their overall annual electric vehicle charging costs.

How Much Does It Cost to Charge an Electric Car at Walgreens?

Right after the announcement of the Walgreens charging station, consumers were excited about EV stations launching in their neighborhoods.

The launch was going to make charging an electric vehicle easy for people across the country. The widely spread Walgreens retail stores were supposed to greatly combat range anxiety for travelers who were otherwise worried about finding an EV station during their journey.

However, the consumer reaction changed after Walgreens announced that their EV charging stations would be charging 3 to 4 USD for a 90-minute recharging slot.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car at Walgreens
How much does it cost to charge an electric car at Walgreens

Why Was Walgreens’ Charging Rate an Issue?

Firstly, with so many available EV charging options, Walgreens proposed rate was extremely high.

The main problem is that Walgreens has not installed fast DC superchargers that can fully charge electric vehicles in 20 to 30 minutes.

Instead, Walgreens had installed the 240 Volt wall Level 2 chargers that were not high-powered and offered a much slower charging pace.

As a result, electric cars like the 2011 Nissan Leaf or the 2012 Mitsubishi, which would otherwise fully charge up in 30 minutes at a DC supercharging station, only managed to get enough charge for 20 miles of range in the 90-minute charging slot.

Hence, consumers simply did not agree with having to pay 4 USD for barely a 20-mile range. As a matter of fact, due to this high charging rate, the running costs of having an electric car were higher than the refueling costs of a same-sized gasoline-powered vehicle.

Moreover, the charging rate was not the only major issue. Instead, Walgreen launched a per-hour charging rate that had many flaws.

The system was flawed because different electric vehicles have different charging rates.

A larger electric vehicle such as the Tesla Model X or the Tesla Roadster has a massive battery that is able to pull electricity at a faster rate.

For instance, the Tesla Roadster has a 16.8-kilowatt charger and will be able to pull in much more electricity in the 90-minute charging slot.

On the other hand, a small electric vehicle, such as the Nissan Leaf, has a considerably smaller battery pack, and a 3.3-kilowatt charger will pull in less electricity in 90 minutes.

This means that people will be buying different amounts of electricity for the same amount.

Hence, it simply does not make sense to charge the small Nissan the same way as the massive high-energy-consuming Tesla Roaster for a 90-minute charge.

Critics argued that in order for the system to be fair and make sense, Walgreens should leave the per hour charging system and should instead charge according to the kilowatts used.

Doing so will not unfairly charge a small electric vehicle a high charging rate and will automatically vary regionally across America.

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Why Was Walgreens Charging Such a High Rate for Using their Electric Vehicle Stations?

First and foremost, this electric vehicle charging station project launched by Walgreens was designed to primarily be a for-profit business project and was simply not installed for consumers.

Moreover, since Walgreens will be paying for the high expenses of installing the infrastructure for the 800 electric vehicle charging stations, they plan to earn back their invested money through this charging rate.

Furthermore, the 3 to 4 USD for a 90-minute charging rate did not consider the cost of electricity that varies regionally across the country.

Due to this, consumers residing in Arizona would be paying the same amount for the charging as consumers in California would be.

However, in reality, the price of electricity in California is almost twice as high as electricity in Arizona.

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A Cheaper and More Sensible Charging Alternate Suggested by Michael Farka

Michael Farkas, head of the Car Charging Group and a partner to Walgreens, managed to identify the main issues with Walgreens electric vehicle charging stations and soon introduced an alternative model that was cheaper, more consumer-friendly, and simply made much more sense.

Farkas introduced an intelligently designed subscription model in the American states with deregulated electricity.

Under this model, a consumer would be able to pay a flat rate per month for unlimited electric vehicle charging at Walgreens.

The Walgreens monthly subscription will be charging a 70 to 80 USD flat monthly rate for unlimited electric vehicle charging at their local retail stores.

Moreover, this flat rate would vary according to the retail store’s location, making the monthly subscription rate of charging in California higher than that in Arizona.

This monthly subscription system is expected to be much cheaper than paying 3 to 4 USD for barely any charge.

Moreover, this plan would encourage consumers to use Walgreens’ public charging stations to charge their electric vehicles.

Not only would this generate profit for Walgreens, but it would also help them cover the initial installment costs.

Moreover, due to the abundance of the Walgreen charging stations, people across the country would be encouraged to shift to using electric vehicles instead of the traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.

Consequently, it would lead to fewer gas-powered vehicles on the road, reduced dependency on non-renewable fossil fuel energy sources, less carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions, and eventually, a future with better air quality.

Furthermore, consumers will have the convenience of plugging in their electric vehicles during their shopping trips and will not have to worry about their vehicle’s reduced range or about going out of the way to find a charging station. 

This model keeps on getting better as it once again makes charging an electric car cheaper than refueling a same-sized gasoline-powered vehicle.

For instance, in general, people have to travel at least 40 to 50 miles every week to get to work, school, or any other place.

If they commute using a gasoline-powered vehicle, they will have to spend at least 40 to 55 USD every week to cover their traveling expenses.

On the other hand, consumers commuting via electric vehicles will have to pay only 20 USD for their weekly EV charging at Walgreens.

Why did Walgreens Per Hour Charging System Fail Quickly After its Launch?
Charging EV at Walgreens

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Top Tips to Reduce the Total Costs of Charging an Electric Vehicle

Some tips can help consumers reduce their annual electric vehicle charging costs. These tips are as follows:

  • Consumers should try to use at-home charging stations as frequently as possible. This is because the regional electricity charges do not only vary from state to state, but also within a state. The per-unit rate of electricity in a commercial area is much higher than in a residential area. Hence, charging the electric vehicle at home saves additional charging costs.
  • Use fast DC supercharging stations only for emergency charging. These stations are comparatively expensive and the fast DC charging is also harmful to the electric vehicle’s battery health.
  • Consumers should try to locate public solar-powered charging stations. While the per-unit electricity charging rate of these stations is already low, some of these stations are completely free.
  • Consumers that live in regions with high sun exposure should install the relevant number of solar panels in their homes to charge their electric vehicles. This is one of the cheapest ways to charge an electric car at home.
  • Consumers should try to locate the destination chargers installed by Tesla. These stations allow the electric vehicle owner to charge their EVs for free.

Although these destination chargers have primarily been designed specifically for Tesla electric vehicles, purchasing a small outsourced adapter will allow an electric vehicle to connect to these charging stations.

  • Consumers should always leave their homes with a fully charged electric vehicle so they do not have to stop at expensive public charging stations.
  • Consumers should avoid the following driving practices as they negatively affect the range and cause the battery to deplete quickly: 
    • Driving the electric vehicle at high speeds
    • Making short trips and hitting the brakes frequently
    • Driving the electric vehicle on poorly inflated or damaged tires
    • Deliberately riding the electric vehicle on rough terrains and over steep slopes
    • Loading excessive weight on the electric vehicle

Following these tips will reduce a person’s overall charging costs and eventually encourage more individuals to shift to eco-friendly green EV technology.

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