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Venti Voltage: Starbucks, Volvo Plan Multistate EV Charging Network

Volvo and Starbucks parterning on EV charge network
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Venti electrons for Gare Jonky? Starbucks and Volvo partner to build an EV charging network from Denver to Seattle.

Volvo and Starbucks are planning to help you charge up — while you charge up. The two companies are partnering to add DC fast-charging stations to up to 15 of the coffee giant’s stores.

The chargers, which will be installed on a route from Seattle to Denver, are expected to open this summer. But are these charging stations for paying customers only?

Grab a Drink, Get a Charge

It’s more than past time for charging stations and roadside chains to start working together. When the time comes to juice up your EV, it’s almost guaranteed that it’s time to, um, let the driver take an environmental break of their own. So, why not let your EV charge while you refill yourself?

That’s the concept behind the Starbucks/Volvo collaboration anyway. The DC fast chargers will come from ChargePoint, a leading EV charging system network operator and installer.

While all EV drivers will be able to use these stations for a fee, Volvo drivers will get the added benefit of having access to these stations at no charge or at preferential rates. No mention of whether buying a Starbucks beverage will also earn you a discount.

Volvo didn’t provide information on the fee or the charging rate at this time, but it did say the charging stations will be powerful enough to take the Volvo C40 Recharge from 20% to 90% in around 40 minutes.

Based on Volvo’s 32-minute estimate to charge from 10% to 80% at 150 kW, we’d estimate the Starbucks chargers will be 150 kW. That charging rate makes them more of a double-shot of espresso than the Americano of a Level 1 charger or the triple-shot with whip and vanilla of Electrify America’s 350kW stations.

As many as 60, or sessanta if you speak Starbucks, of the Volvo-branded charging stations could be installed. The route will run 1,350 miles from the Seattle home base of Starbucks to the Denver area. Fifteen locations will get juiced up along the route.

Partnership Could Expand EV Charging Offerings

Volvo and Starbucks parterning on EV charge network

Volvo Cars said the company is looking forward to helping make charging EVs more relaxing for users. Starbucks said that the coffee company is looking to a future where it can help its customers connect more sustainably.

We think they’re just happy to have a captive audience waiting for a charge. With the low price of EV charging and the high price of fuel, what’s another few dollars for a white chocolate mocha caramel cookie crumble java chip frappuccino?

Volvo Recharge drivers with Google infotainment can use the integrated ChargePoint app to find stations and access the plugs. Volvo EV and plug-in owners also get free or preferred pricing at the Volvo-branded charging stations, though anyone can use them at full price.

Installations along the charge route from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Northwest are set to start soon. The whole route should be ready by the end of the year, just in time for mountain passes to close and for drivers to switch to hot drinks. But at least you can run cabin preheating while you sit inside and charge!

So get ready to plug in, sit down, relax, and warm up (or cool off). If we’re going to wait for a charge, Wi-Fi and biscotti are better than sitting outside in the rain. Call it commuters in cars getting coulombs and coffee.

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