Need to pick up a foursome of Detolf display cases? Better know a pal with a pickup, bub. Unless, of course, your nearest IKEA happens to be one of ten situated in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington. The famed furniture retailer has just nailed down a partnership with ECOtality, with a smattering of its western US stores to host Blink electric vehicle charging stations. Each of the sites be evaluated for feasibility and installation needs, and we're told that the first stations should become operational this fall. The pilot program is currently set to last through December of 2012, but we're guessing it'll end up surviving quite a bit longer -- after all, it was already tough enough to resist a weekly trip to this place. Now? Swedish meatballs just become a daily affair.
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IKEA To Host Electric Vehicle Charging Stations At Select Western U.S. Stores as Part Of ECOtality's EV Project

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IKEA, the world's leading home furnishings retailer, today announced a partnership with ECOtality, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECTY), a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, to host Blink electric vehicle charging stations at select IKEA stores in the Western United States. IKEA locations being considered for hosting the charging stations include 10 stores in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. These sites will be evaluated for feasibility and installation needs; operational charging stations could be available as early as Fall 2011. This initiative represents the first project of its kind for IKEA.

"We welcome IKEA to The EV Project, as the company has a strong legacy of environmental responsibility and its stores are a destination for consumers"

IKEA will be responsible for preparing sites for installation, keeping them orderly and reporting charging information to ECOtality, who will oversee installation and manage ongoing charger operations. The select stores meeting key criteria will have a minimum of two stations and the pilot program between ECOtality and IKEA will last through December 2012.

"We are excited this partnership will make charging stations more accessible to the many people choosing to drive electric vehicles," said Mike Ward, IKEA U.S. president. "Hosting charging stations at IKEA locations known for regional draws furthers our commitment to a smaller carbon footprint and technological opportunities that help protect the environment. This project is part of a global effort to promote the sustainable transport of people."

ECOtality is the project manager of The EV Project, a public-private partnership funded in part by a federal stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to provide the necessary infrastructure to support the deployment of EVs. 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.

"We welcome IKEA to The EV Project, as the company has a strong legacy of environmental responsibility and its stores are a destination for consumers," stated Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality. "Situated in highly visible and accessible areas, IKEA locations are ideal charging station hosts for EV drivers."

In addition to this sustainable project, IKEA U.S. has solar energy installations operational in eight locations – including a Denver-area store opening this year in Centennial, CO that also has a geothermal system – as well as solar projects underway at 12 other locations.

IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and strives for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates all locations regularly for energy conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of 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.

IKEA strives to be 'The Life Improvement Store,' and since its 1943 founding in Sweden, has offered home furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 320 IKEA stores in 38 countries, including 37 in the U.S. IKEA, the world's leading home furnishings company, incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.