With the aid of a Macomb Township-based company, has become the first regional shopping center in the state to offer electric vehicle charging stations to customers.
Installed by CarPlug, a division of the Macomb Township-based , the mall recently unveiled two Level 2 Eaton charging stations in the lot across from Brio Tuscan Grille.
Offering a 240-volt charge, these stations promise to charge customers’ electric vehicles in less than half of the time compared to using a standard 110/120V electrical outlet. The 240-volt charge can fully charge a vehicle in just four hours.
As CarPlug is only a recent addition to LaBelle Electric's services, the installation at Partridge Creek served to aid LaBelle in establishing the CarPlug brand locally.
“There is going to be a definite market for car chargers, not only in commercial but also residential (areas), and we wanted to establish a brand, an entity, an identification–something that identifies that we do it for a living and we do it well,” said Chris LaBelle, president of LaBelle Electric. “LaBelle is a 40-plus year company in Macomb Township and has a long-standing reputation in town. We wanted to show that we are aggressively going into this market.”
At present, the use of the electric chargers is free to Partridge Creek customers.
Customers wishing to use the charging stations can go to Partridge Creek’s customer service desk, located at the center of the mall, where mall personnel will activate the stations.
Complimentary charging station swipe cards, which will allow users to activate the stations without visiting customer service, are expected to be available soon. These cards will be available to all customers with proof of electric vehicle ownership.
“This is a very exciting innovation for The Mall at Partridge Creek as we look to provide the utmost in amenities to our patrons,” said Seok Chung, marketing and sponsorship director for the mall, in a prepared statement. “Providing charging stations for the many first-to-market drivers of electric vehicles in our automotive-based community not only makes great sense, but it also shows our commitment to sustainability.”
LaBelle said CarPlug plans to next install charging stations at Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights, 40333 Van Dyke Ave.
Although LaBelle was hesitant to say electric vehicles are the future of transportation, he does believe they will play a significant part.
“As the technology of batteries continues to increase, more and more people will find it makes sense and it is a pretty efficient way to drive the short commute to and from work, or if you are the wife that is lucky enough to stay at home, to drive kids around,” LaBelle said. “If you’re planning to stay within a certain radius, it makes a lot of sense.”
Industry forecasts predict that plug-in electric vehicle sales will exceed 350,000 units in the U.S. by 2017.