Ikea Installs Electric Vehicle Chargers

Home furnishings retailer IKEA announced plans to install its first electric vehicle charging stations at select stores in the western US.

The company is partnering with ECOtality, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECTY), a US company which is managing The EV Project – a public-private partnership funded in part by a federal stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to provide infrastructure to support the deployment of electric vehicles.

ECOtality is overseeing the installation of approximately 14,000 commercial and residential charging stations in 18 cities and major metropolitan areas in six states and the District of Columbia.

IKEA stores are in four of those states. The companies are evaluating the feasibility of 10 sites in Arizona, California, Oregon, and/or Washington, and operational charging stations could be available as early as Fall 2011.

Each IKEA store will have at least two charging stations; the pilot program between ECOtality and IKEA will last through December 2012.

IKEA will be responsible for preparing sites for installation and reporting charging information to ECOtality, who will oversee installation and manage ongoing charger operations.

In addition to the EV project, IKEA U.S. has solar installations under construction, or completed, at 20 locations – including a Denver-area store opening this year in Centennial, Colorado that also features a geothermal heating and cooling system.

Other sustainability efforts at IKEA’s US stores include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating green building features into store construction (energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water conserving restrooms); and operationally, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs.

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