From The Tribune staff reports
LEEDS —The Outlet Shops of Grand River announces the arrival of CatCard LLC, bringing EV Charging Stations to the mall.
Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Leeds welcomed this new business with a ribbon cutting on Friday, August 5, 2022.
According to the Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce, Grand River continues to be at the forefront of shopping, dining, and entertainment. There are many reasons to stop in or travel to The Shops, but the newest and exciting endeavor is the installation of electric charging stations.
“With more and more electric cars on our highways, the need for fast DC charging stations has definitely increased,” Christine Strange, VP of Retail Operations at The Shops of Grand River, said. “We saw the need and worked behind the scenes to bring this opportunity to the I-20 corridor here at Leeds.”
Partnering with Larry Dotson of CatCard, LLC, four ChargePoint charging stations were installed this summer. Dotson is an electrical contractor who owns and operates CatCard.
“I love working with companies like The Outlet Shops of Grand River. The people are wonderful, and it is a pleasure working with such a great company,” Dotson said.
Once these stations were up and running, charging was available at no charge to the public for over 30 days. Dotson saw this as an opportunity to bring customers in to try out the product and make sure they were happy with it before paying for the service. By the third week of July alone, over 200 charges were performed at that location, with as many as three at a time charging on a regular basis. The norm was one person charging and the redundancy of other stations available, so if someone had an issue with any of the stations, customers would have the opportunity to get their charge.
“I feel good about this product, especially since it is the same equipment that is being used at the Mercedes battery plant in Vance down the street from the big plant,” Dotson said. “I am also excited for Grand River, who had the foresight, recognized the need, and partnered with CatCard to offer this amenity to their customers as a service with the best equipment in the industry. It is a beautiful, safe place to charge.”
The stations offer fast DC charging for all EVs capable of fast charging at 62.5kW, which charges 25 percent faster than a 50kW station and provides approximately 250 miles of range per hour of charging. In addition, ChargePoint modular architecture allows charging stations to be paired, offering drivers up to 125kW for even faster-charging speeds. These chargers are used along highways to enable traveling longer distances but also where the driver needs a fast fill-up. Another reason these chargers are so important is because they will charge any type of electric vehicle, while other chargers may only charge Tesla automobiles.
“The traffic has steadily increased at these new charging stations,” Jeannie Cole, The Shops Property Manager, said. “We happened to notice this week that, at times, all of the charging stations were full, and people were waiting in line to charge. It is a great service that is now available to our customers and area travelers.”
Besides being so convenient right on the I20 corridor, while charging your electric vehicle, you can shop, dine and enjoy entertainment with all that Grand River has to offer. With national anchor stores, local retailers and artisans, pop-up shops, the Pixel Room featuring the largest selfie museum, food court, The Backyard hangout with dining at Saw’s BBQ, Neighbors Brew & Pies, pool tables, arcade, mini-golf, dog park, yard games, Grand River Drive-In theatre and so much more, you’ll want to stop in to charge and stay a while.
How the charging stations work is that customers activate their sessions via the ChargePoint app. Drivers can also locate the station via the ChargePoint app in addition to Apply Car Play, Google Earth, and Plugshare.com. Through both the ChargePoint app or PlugShare, drivers get station details, upload feedback and post photos, etc.
CatCard EV Charging Stations are located in the southeast corner of The Outlet Shops of Grand River next to I-20 and close to Rue 21 and Campus Spirit. The mall is located at 6200 Grand River Boulevard East in Leeds.