Walgreens expands electric vehicle charging with promotional twist

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Walgreens is adding to its electric vehicle charging capability.

A retail pioneer in providing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its stores is adding new stalls across the U.S., and gaining a new promotional tool in the process.

Walgreens, which helped launch the nation’s first privately funded and comprehensive electric vehicle charging network with an initial station in a Dallas store in 2011, is expanding an existing partnership with EV charging network provider Volta. The drugstore giant will install 1,000 DC (direct current) fast charging stalls from Volta at over 500 Walgreens locations throughout the U.S.

Volta began working with Walgreens in 2019, and currently has stations across 49 of its stores. The company also partners with many other retailers, including a recent collaboration launched with Northeast grocer (and Ahold Delhaize USA banner) Stop & Shop in July 2021.

In addition, department store chain Macy’s expanded its EV charging partnership with Volta in April 2021, and mid-Atlantic grocer Giant Food is offering 100 complementary Volta Charging stations at stores across Maryland. Other U.S.-based retailers offering EV charging stations at select U.S. stores include Walmart and 7-Eleven.

With high-impact, large-format digital screens, Volta stations also double as a digital out-of-home advertising opportunity, allowing brands to reach shoppers seconds before they enter a store to make a purchase. This unique functionality will be leveraged by Walgreens Advertising Group.

Introduced in December 2020, Walgreens Advertising Group is a full-service, personalization-driven advertising offering is based on the retailer’s customer insights and first-party data. Walgreens Advertising Group aims to help brands maximize ROI through data-led execution and optimization on Walgreens-owned platforms and through other external channels, including digital display, video, social, streaming audio, and email. 

"Walgreens is committed to providing customers with new and different digital experiences alongside convenient solutions that help them lead healthier lives," said Luke Kigel, VP of Walgreens integrated media and leader of Walgreens Advertising Group. "Volta's electric chargers allow Walgreens to seamlessly bring customers unique advertising and convenience experiences with eye-catching screens and quick, convenient charging to match their behavior, all while helping to build healthier communities through reducing vehicle emissions."

"As we expand our DC Fast charging presence across the country, Walgreens is an ideal match for faster forms of Volta charging given the average time a Walgreens shopper typically spends in-store," said Scott Mercer, Founder and CEO of Volta. "Volta's intelligent charging network is built around understanding and anticipating consumer behavior. The next phase of our work with Walgreens will provide people with a quick, convenient, and meaningful charge that is tailored to their shopping experience while bringing us another step closer to a clean energy future."

This agreement furthers Volta’s DC Fast charging expansion strategy and Walgreens’ support of initiatives designed to lower emissions. Based in Deerfield, Ill., Walgreens operates nearly 9,000 retail locations across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.