IKEA, a leading home furnishings retailer, today announced a partnership with ECOtality, Inc., a leader in clean electric transportation and storage technologies, to host Blink electric vehicle charging stations at select IKEA stores in the Western United States. IKEA locations being considered for hosting the charging stations include 10 stores in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. These sites will be evaluated for feasibility and installation needs; operational charging stations could be available as early as Fall 2011. This initiative represents the first project of its kind for IKEA.
“We are excited this partnership will make charging stations more accessible to the many people choosing to drive electric vehicles,” said Mike Ward, IKEA U.S. president. “Hosting charging stations at IKEA locations known for regional draws furthers our commitment to a smaller carbon footprint and technological opportunities that help protect the environment. This project is part of a global effort to promote the sustainable transport of people.”ECOtality is the project manager of The EV Project, a public-private partnership funded in part by a federal stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to provide the necessary infrastructure to support the deployment of EVs. ECOtality is overseeing the installation of approximately 14,000 commercial and residential charging stations in 18 cities and major metropolitan areas in six states and the District of Columbia. IKEA stores are in four of those states.
In addition to this sustainable project, IKEA U.S. has solar energy installations operational in eight locations – including a Denver-area store opening this year in Centennial, CO that also has a geothermal system – as well as solar projects underway at 12 other locations. IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and strives for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates all locations regularly for energy conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water conserving restrooms; and operationally, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs.