A couple of blocks from the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Electrify America has opened an indoor charging station that lets drivers relax in a lounge while their electric vehicle batteries are being filled up.
The 20-plug, direct-current fast-charging station, which opened for business Friday at Harrison and Fifth streets, is part of a trend toward more appealing neighborhood stations, designed to serve EV owners who can't charge at their homes, as well as travelers or commuters who are low on juice.
It's also designed to allay fears among potential EV buyers that charging stations are too scarce or that they will have no safe place to wait as their vehicles charge, spending far longer than it takes for a gasoline fill-up. EV sales growth in the United States is slowing, in large part because of similar concerns among potential buyers.
On Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, Tesla is building a combination drive-in restaurant, movie theater and charging station. Mercedes has built an outdoor station with an indoor lounge at the automaker's U.S. headquarters near Atlanta. The company plans to construct at least 400 more as part of a $1 billion investment to deploy 2,500 charging plugs, mainly on the coasts, by the end of the decade. Some of the stations will offer lounges. Others will be partnerships with malls or travel centers.