Simon charges up the mall

INDIANAPOLIS -- Mall owner Simon Property Group announced Tuesday that it has completed its first installation of an electric vehicle charging station at one of its shopping centers.

The initial installation has been completed at Simon's Florida Mall in Orlando and will be complete at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, Calif., later in April.

One 'Level 2' charger, which has the capability to "top off" or partially charge a customer's electric vehicle in a 60- to 120-minute time frame, is now operational near the food court entrance at Florida Mall. One dual unit, with two 'Level 2' chargers, will be installed in the parking deck between Macy's and Bloomingdale's at Stanford Shopping Center.

According to Simon, the EV charging stations will be self-service and easy to operate. Shoppers will be able to "pull up and plug in" and leave their vehicles at the charging station while they are shopping at the mall. Charging will be free during an introductory time period and then a nominal fee will be assessed.

Production numbers from EV automakers project approximately a million EVs on U.S. roads by 2015, and possibly 27 million (or 10% of all vehicles in the U.S.) by 2020.

"We believe that a well-developed EV charging infrastructure is going to be key to the success of EVs," said George Caraghiaur, Simon Property Group's senior VP of energy and procurement. "Meeting the needs of the first-to-market drivers of electric vehicles in the communities we serve is yet another example of our commitment to sustainability."

Simon is working with two companies during this initial rollout. Car Charging installed the unit at Florida Mall and 350Green will install the charging units at Stanford Shopping Center.