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While some automakers will offer free charging for a specified amount of time when you buy a new EV, not every brand has it, and what do you do when the free period is over? Luckily the amount of charging stations are growing and being place in many parking lots, like Costco. Imagine charging your vehicle while you make your weekly Costco run. But do you need a Costco membership to use those chargers, and how much will you have to pay?

What led to Costco charging stations and do you need a membership to use them?

A Costco score where you do not need a membership to charge your EV.
Costco | Gabe Ginsberg via Getty Images

According to a Green Reports, Costco decided to bring electric charging to the company’s parking lots in various locations in California around 30 years ago. While the concept of EVs was in its infancy at that time, the big grocery retailer thought the move would prove beneficial because electric-driven cars were expected to become more popular as time went on. 

The electric boom did come, but not until years later. When it looked like EVs were rising in popularity, Costco made another decision in 2011 to remove those charging stations, much to the chagrin of many at that time. 

Fast forward to today, and Costco is once again implementing electric chargers in many of their store’s parking lots across the country. To answer the question of whether they require membership to use the store’s chargers, we happily reply that it doesn’t. But how much does it cost?

How much does it cost to charge an electric car at Costco?

While you don’t have to be a Costco member, you should expect a $20 deposit to be placed on your credit card if you are not a member. For those that are members, you will be charged $10 as a deposit. However, the company states that you will receive that money back once the transaction is complete. 

After the initial deposit, you will pay about $0.15 per kWh. Costco will also charge a .30 convenience fee for every charge. There is no charge for parking your vehicle there, though. You can pay using the Plugshare app if you sign up for an account. 

Where else can go to charge an EV?

Another big retailer offering electric vehicle charging in its parking lot is Walmart. This company has partnered with Electrify America to bring chargers to specific locations, so those who visit the store can charge up their EV while shopping. As for how much it will cost, it depends. 

Guests will pay approximately $0.43 per kWh, but if you’re a Pass+ member ($4 a month fee), you will only have to pay $0.31 kWh. Also, if you keep the vehicle parked in the charging space after it’s done charging, there will be a fee. That will run you about $0.16 per 90 kW or $0.32 for 350 kW. Pass+ members will only pay $0.12 per 90 kW and only $0.24 per 350 kW charging. 

Cracker Barrel is another big company offering charging at some of its restaurants. You can pay a $4.95 flat rate fee paired with a $0.30 charge for every minute on its CHAdeMo charging system. EVgo plus plan members will pay $0.24 a minute, while the EVgo monthly membership plan will get you a $0.20 per minute rate. 

After removing it about a decade ago, Costco is bringing back electric vehicle charging stations at some of its locations. If you are shopping at one of these stores and have an EV, you can use the company’s chargers without worrying about having a membership to use it. Of course, there are plenty of other places to go to, whether you’re out in public or want to charge it at home


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