When Walmart announced in 2019 that it had installed ultra-fast charging stations at 120 Walmart sites across 34 states, it did so not as just the country’s biggest retailer tooting its own sustainability horn, but as a partner—with Volkswagen-run Electrify America—in improving access to a service increasingly in demand for U.S. consumers.

In how Walmart went about building out and promoting its EV charging network, there’s a lesson for other retailers: You don’t have to go it alone.

As charging stations themselves have popped up in more spaces—from the parking lots of warehouse clubs to community banks—a growing cohort of consultants and installation specialists, too, has deepened its experience in helping grocers and other retailers “plug in,” cost-effectively, to electric charging. A variety of federal and state/local tax credits and grants are available to commercial businesses to incentivize charging-station installation; notable among these is the federal Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit (IRS form 8911). This credit covers 30% of the cost of charging station installation for eligible businesses, provided that they keep the station maintained and operating for at least five years.

Grant and rebate programs in states including Colorado and Maryland are encouraging businesses to become partners in their states’ electrification efforts, and grocery retailers are taking note: In 2020, Landover, Maryland.-based Giant Food began installing EV charging stations at stores in its home state as well as in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Delaware, and in June, Giant credited a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration’s Clean Fuels Incentive Program with helping it purchase its first electric delivery trucks.

Could EV charging stations generate additional sales and provide a loyalty boost, too? Walmart sibling Sam’s Club, Giant and Modesto, California-based The Save Mart Cos. are banking on it. Giant’s charging stations, supplied by Volta, feature 55-inch high-definition video displays showcasing in-store specials and promotions. And The Save Mart Cos. in March announced that drivers who start a charging session at select Save Mart and Lucky California locations can unlock special in-store promotions delivered via email, text or the EVgo app. Charging-station provider EVGo said a company survey had found that 45% of EVgo charging sessions had resulted in new incremental shopping visits.

Sam’s Club, meanwhile, in an Earth Day-tied announcement this April, rolled out an offer of 5% back in Sam’s Cash for Sam’s Club Mastercard holders every time they charge their electric vehicle at a Sam’s location, calling it “yet another way we are working hard to offer an incredible value every day.”