Walmart probably isn't the first place you'd go to charge an electric car, but you may have to rethink that belief before long. VW's Electrify America is installing (PDF) EV chargers at more than 100 Walmart stores across 34 states, with the rollout finishing by June 2019. And these won't be frugal installations, either -- they're some of the first 150-350kW DC fast chargers built to handle next-generation EVs. They should be three to seven times faster than the 50kW chargers you typically see today, so you may come back to a completely recharged car if your shopping trip is long enough.
The initiative promises to "more than double" the number of chargers at Walmart stores in the US, Electrify America said. That's still a drop in the bucket when there are over 5,000 Walmart locations in total. Electrify America by itself expects to have installed or started work on 2,000-plus stations in the US by the end of 2019.
However, this is still an important step toward bringing EVs into the mainstream. You're more likely to buy an EV if there are easy-to-find charging locations, and it doesn't get much easier than a big-box retail store. Just as many larger retailers have gas stations either attached or nearby, you might see EV chargers become a regular staple of any store with a giant parking lot.