The highly anticipated opening of the new Cape Cod Kohl's was this past Sunday at Southwind Plaza in Hyannis. The store buzzed with activity and enthusiasm as shoppers searched for something new and different on the Cape. And the Wisconsin-based retail chain sure knows how to get its customers charged up. Especially if they drive an electric car.
The Kohl's parking lot off Route 132 is the site of the newest electric vehicle charging station on the Cape. Through the company's Kohl'sCares program, electric car owners are welcome to charge their vehicles for free as they shop.
Kohl's piloted the electric car charging program in 2011 working with two different companies, ECOtality and ChargePoint. The station at the Hyannis Kohl's is a ChargePoint unit with two ports. The charging spots are located near the front of the store by the handicapped spots.
According to ChargePoint, only five of their more than 13,000 US stations are located on Cape Cod and three are on the islands. Although the Cape doesn't have as many charging stations as other parts of the country, there are a few others spread across the peninsula.
Electric vehicle owners can easily locate a charging station using one of many websites and/or apps including CarStations and PlugShare. The US Department of Energy also maintains an Alternative Fuels Data Center. Plug-in hybrids may also be charged at these stations.
Plug In America estimates that it costs about $1 to fully charge a plug-in hybrid and between $2-$4 to fully charge an electric car. Depending on amperage and battery size electric fill ups can be time consuming--several hours compared to a few minutes at the traditional gas station. But more and more "fast-charging" stations are being installed across the country.
Two years ago, the Town of Barnstable installed stations for visitor use at the Town Hall in Hyannis, the North Street comfort station and the Barnstable County Complex on Route 6A in Barnstable Village with state grant funding.