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The EV industry took time to hit the mainstream in the 20th century, but with the coming of Tesla, things stirred up, and electric vehicles are becoming more popular every year. Additionally, government policies – backed by efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions – and financial rebates have fueled the demand for EVs, creating another need: EV charging stations. 

Businesses are becoming more adaptive to the auto market’s electrification, providing charging stations for their customers and employees. Albertsons, through its subsidiary of Safeway, is continuing in the same vein, having recently launched another EV charging location in Washington state. Since you’ll be required to charge your electric vehicle more often than not, you might wonder how long it takes to charge an EV and how much it costs to charge at a Safeway.

The three levels of EV charging

Charging an electric car is quite different from refueling a gas-powered vehicle. While refueling a combustible-engine car takes a few minutes, the US DOT estimates that electric car charging can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 50 hours. The primary factor differentiating these levels is the amount of voltage, which impacts the speed of the charging session. 

Level 1 charging uses a 120V, alternating-current (AC) outlet – the same power outlet you’ll find in most homes. Therefore, it utilizes a three-prong J1772 connector. Level 1 charging is the slowest, taking between 40-50 hours to charge an electric car from 0-100% at an estimated electric range of 2-5 miles per hour of charging. 

Level 2 charges through a 240V AC outlet and can be installed at home, workplace, or public areas. These charging stations require 40 amp circuits and a J7112 connector. Compatible with all EVs and PHEVs, a Level 2 unit charges an EV within 4-6 hours at a charging rate of 10-20 miles per hour.

However, to charge your car at a Level 2 station, many advise purchasing a Level 2-specific charger since the one that comes with the vehicle is only compatible with Level 1 units. A Level 2 charger costs about $300 to $700.

Level 3 equipment is the fastest EV charging unit, utilizing 480V and a direct-current (DC) CHAdeMO or CSS connector. It’s the quickest charging level, with the capability of charging an EV to 80% battery capacity within 30 minutes at a rate of 180-240 miles per hour. Tesla also provides a special Tesla connector at its Level 3 Supercharger stations, delivering 50% of the total charge in 20 minutes. 

How much is it to charge an electric vehicle at Safeway?

A Safeway supermarket grocery store in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
A Safeway grocery store in Edmonton | Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

When you stop at a gas station or department store to charge your EV, you can either pay cash or swipe a credit card, no worries. However, pricing in the EV charging landscape isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

The location or retail store where you charge your EV usually sets your pay rates. An example is Safeway. That means that charging rates vary depending on the charging network you choose. Some Safeway locations offer free chargers from Volta (up to 2 hours). Meanwhile, other locations offer different chargers like those from Electrify America. These paid stations usually require a monthly pass subscription and then charge a flat fee per minute of charging.

For the average users, spending between $10-20 to charge your EV at Safeway is a safe guess. Of course, this all depends on a variety of factors.

Luckily, most EV charging networks have EV charging map apps. Although you can find yourself downloading a dozen apps at various stations, signing up for these apps gives you a chance to get a discount upon subscribing to the service. Examples of EV charging apps include ChargePoint, Electrify America, EVgo, and Blink. 

However, if you own a Tesla, you’ll want to download the Tesla Supercharger app. The EV maker provides two types of chargers: a V2 150 kW Supercharger and a V3 250 kW Supercharger.

Safeway is expanding its EV charging stations 

Albertsons Co.’s Safeway – one of the largest retail stores in the U.S. – has added another EV charging station from Volta Industries, Inc. in Renton, Washington, according to Progressive Grocer. That brings the total number of Safeway locations in Washington with Volta charging stations to 24.

Based in Boise, Idaho, Albertsons operates over 4,000 department stores, dedicated distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities, 24 of which have Safeway EV charging stations. You can quickly check if there’s a Safeway EV location near you using a smartphone app, such as PlugShare – a free, globally-acclaimed EV driver’s mobile and desktop map app that enables users to locate EV charging stations. 

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