Apr 11, 2023 - Business

Walmart adds chargers as interest in electric vehicles nearly triples

Data: S&P Global; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Electric vehicles accounted for 2.8% of monthly new-vehicle registrations in Northwest Arkansas in January — up from 1% the same month last year, Axios' Joann Muller reports.

Why it matters: With broader selection and some signs of moderating prices, mainstream car buyers are increasingly turning their EV curiosity into purchases.

Zoom out: EVs accounted for 7% of new vehicle registrations nationally in January, up from 4.1% in January 2022.

The big picture: There were 47 electric models available for sale in the U.S. at the end of January, up from 33 a year earlier.

  • Tesla's Model Y and Model 3 hold the largest market share nationwide and are still growing, but rival cars are quickly gaining ground. Tesla's nationwide market share continues to shrink — from 72% last January to 54% a year later.
  • General Motors' Chevrolet Bolt is the most popular non-Tesla EV, with a 10% share — partly because of a $6,000 price cut following a damaging battery recall.
  • Volkswagen's ID.4 and Ford's Mustang Mach-E rounded out the top five EVs registered in January by market share.

Between the lines: These data points represent the continuing shift away from gas-powered autos, using vehicle registration data from S&P Global Mobility.

  • In 2022, electric vehicles made up 5.6% of all new-car registrations in the U.S.
  • That's up from 3.1% in 2021 and 1.8% in 2020, but still way behind China and Europe.

Yes, but: The U.S. is far from a complete transition. Less than 1% of the 279 million cars and light trucks on American roads are electric.

What's next: Existing consumer tax credits for EV purchases are being reworked — again — in part to bolster U.S. manufacturing and reduce reliance on China.

  • Changes to the existing $7,500 tax credit will likely affect the pace of adoption.
Enter Walmart

Walmart plans to install EV fast-chargers at thousands of Walmart and Sam's Club locations across the U.S. by 2030, the company says.

Why it matters: 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart — a statistic that underscores the retailer's potential to put fast EV charging within reach of far more drivers, including in underserved areas, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick writes.

  • While Arkansas can expect more charging stations over the next few years, thanks to $54.1 million from the Biden infrastructure law, the state's existing public chargers are largely concentrated in the most populated areas, with few options in rural areas, according to ChargeHub.

Walmart already has nearly 1,300 such chargers available at more than 280 locations.

  • The company is still sorting out the specifics, including how many chargers will be installed at each location, how close they'll be to each store's entrance and how they'll be powered.

What they're saying: "We see our commitment today as a natural extension of our work to help customers and members live better, easier and more sustainable lives," Vishal Kapadia, Walmart senior vice president for energy transformation, wrote in a blog post announcing the news.

  • He called it "a big win for busy families and drivers everywhere, our country and the planet."

State of play: Walmart is the latest retailer or fast-food chain to announce a major EV charging initiative, following 7-Eleven, Subway and others.

  • As EV adoption grows, retailers increasingly view charging as both a competitive necessity and an extra revenue stream.
  • Businesses could take a slice of charging fees, for example, or be eligible for government subsidies designed to encourage private companies to install more chargers.
  • Plus, charging an EV can take 20-30 minutes or more, depending on the car and charging system. This creates a pool of potential customers who are more likely to wander around a store making impulse purchases.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios NW Arkansas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More NW Arkansas stories

No stories could be found

NW Arkansaspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios NW Arkansas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more