Not only is Walmart playing the very willing host to EA, but also EVGO and The WCEH have also charging stations located at Walmart Supercenters as well.
In Oregon, Fred Meyer leads the way as host to Oregon's extended WCEH. Besides Walmart, EVGO has partnered with Simon, a company that manages shopping malls around the country for installation of charging stations as well.
Going to EA's website, we see an overview of the planned network that will be phase one. Listed there are the 9 sites that are up and running along with 55 sites that are beyond the siting process and have likely broken ground or at the very least, has a concrete agreement with the host for the station installs. Its been my experience that construction has started well before the sites make it to the "Coming Soon" list.
Of the 64 sites listed;
Walmart Supercenters; 35
Shopping Malls; 9
Outposts; 9. These are random locations, mostly gas stations, fast food row, a truck stop, a few hotels, etc. I call them outposts because they are essentially oases for travelers out in the middle of nowhere.
Gas Stations; 4
Not mentioned in the list above are random shopping centers with generally one major host in a strip mall type of setup. Mostly grocery stores like Food Lion, Safeway, Ralph's and Albertsons.
So looks like everyone is getting into the game but.... Where is Costco?
Costco was one of the first to offer plug's for EV's dating back to the early part of this century. The Tumwater Costco had nothing but a sign and a 120 volt outlet but in my ZENN, that is all I needed! But the great gesture was not well thought out. The outlet was attached to the building which meant it was prime spot for ICEing. Nearly every time I went there, I had to wait for someone to move before I could park and charge. A few times when a time crunch was involved, I would park in the walkway (Easy to do with my super small ZENN) and plug in anyway. I had a 25 ft charging cord with 50 ft extension if needed so only had to be "in the neighborhood." although I never failed to get the charge I needed (in the ZENN, not charging meant a lot of pushing) it was obvious the location was not a place I could rely on.
So now the question becomes is Costco giving away an advantage? Today, brick and mortar stores are mostly fighting a losing battle against the likes of Amazon and Groupon for survival. Every day, more and more fail. The stores that are surviving now are doing so from pinpoint inventory control to reduce costs (Walmart, Target) or from over the top loyalty like Costco.
Of the 3, Costco is doing the best. Walmart is not. Walmart (and Target) recently copied a page from the Amazon playbook by starting their own delivery service but with more of a "drive thru" twist where you can go to a store (there are millions of them out there) and a Walmart Associate will bring your order out to the car.
Now, don't get me wrong, none of the 3 are in trouble. In fact, far from it. Unlike other retailers, they have survived and prospered by tightly controlling costs but are now realizing that any advantage over the other 2, no matter how small, can make the difference in their cut throat world. While Target and Walmart are in a virtual lockstep with each other, Costco is in a unique space increasing memberships despite an increase in the annual fee that is sure to go up again within the next two years. If you recall; Walmart's answer to Costco; Sam's Club has not come close to seeing the success of the paid membership model. Maybe its because I live in Costco's backyard but most of the Sam's Clubs here are no more.
So the question becomes? Is Costco giving away a competitive advantage by allowing Walmart and others to swoop up the charging stations? Right now, a mere raising of the hand ensures stations in the lot at a minimal cost to the host due to VW's miscues.
Maybe Costco feels they can overcome the advantage Walmart or Target hosting stations? Despite near identical numbers between Costco and Target, Costco is in a MUCH better position
Within my own reality (which is very active BTW) I see Costco hosting queueable stations where membership does have privileges with rates based on membership level and perhaps the amount spent at Costco the previous month or quarter... Yeah, NOW WE ARE TALKING!!