Volvo has teamed up with Starbucks – yes, really! – to electrify more than 2,000 kilometres of a driving route from the Colorado Rockies to Seattle as part of the coffeehouse conglomerate’s new goal to become a resource positive company.
The pilot program will provide what Starbucks calls a “string of familiar, reliable, clean and safe places to recharge” – up to 60 in total – at 15 of its locations dotted along the 1,350-mile (around 2,172 km) route from Denver, Colorado, to the Starbucks Support Center in Seattle, Washington. While that may not sound like a lot – there are currently 110 Starbucks locations in Denver alone – the recharging stations have purposefully been placed approximately 100 miles (160 km) apart in a bid to offer peace of mind to EV owners making this, admittedly, very specific journey.
For context, the newly-facelifted Volvo XC40 Recharge Twin has an estimated range of up 418 km, the lowest of Volvo’s current EV lineup, but the all-wheel drive crossover could easily bypass at least three recharging stations on this journey and still, theoretically, have enough left ‘in the tank’ by the time it reaches the fourth.
For completionists, the dual-motor C40 has the highest estimated range at up to 444 km.
Each recharging stations will be powered by ChargePoint, and each is expected to be DC fast-charge, and thus offer between 50 and 60 kW of charging rate. With this flow, Volvo’s EV fleet, on average, would take between 20 and 30 minutes to recharge from 10 per cent to 80 per cent. Long enough for a flat-white and a volcanically hot croissant.
It should also be pointed out that, even with Volvo’s involvement with the project, owners of EVs and plug-in hybrids built by other manufacturers are also welcome to use the scheme, though charging fees for Volvo owners are likely to be cheaper. The charging stations is set be operational before the end of the year.
While no further plans to extend the Pilot EV Charging Network have been outlined, Starbucks did champion its intent to “lead the retail industry in decarbonization solutions, including Electric Vehicle charging and onsite solar availability” by 2030. This includes expanding its solar-powered pilot locations to 55 new stores this year. It seems likely therefore that the EV charging network pilot will be similarly expanded in due course.