SALT LAKE CITY — Some Utah drivers may get a charge out of Salt Lake's latest filling station.
Smith's Food and Drug Stores opened its newest fuel station in Utah, located in the parking lot of the Smith's store at 876 S. 800 East in Salt Lake City.
The fuel center — which began operation on Wednesday — is the first to incorporate a free, courtesy charging station for customers driving electric cars to "top off" their battery levels while they shop. Smith's also installed equipment to allow for the future use of solar panels to power the fuel station as well as equipment required for the sale of natural gas.
"The electric charge station was another opportunity to offer something rather unique (and) more environmentally friendly," said Marsha Gilford, vice president of public affairs for Smith's Food and Drug. "Particularly in (the 9th and 9th) community, there is a lot of interest in those kinds of measures."
Smith's used state-of-the–art technology for the safety and efficiency of the fuel center, a news release stated. Additional measures included reinforced tanks with 24-hour alarm monitoring systems, a vapor recovery system that captures fumes from fuel trucks at delivery and canopy lights that direct light downward so light cannot escape beyond the service area.
Gilford said the idea for implementing an electric charging station came from meetings with Salt Lake City leaders who voiced support for new, "greener" fueling options.
"We think it's going to be quite popular for folks that have electric cars because it's so centrally located," she said.
Smith's is a division of the Kroger Co., headquartered in Cincinnati and the nation's largest traditional grocery retailer. Smith's currently operates a total of 132 stores and 71 fuel centers in seven Western states, including 47 stores and 37 fuel stations in Utah.
Gilford said for now, the one location is the only electric charging station planned, but more could be on the horizon if the demand is sufficient.
"If (the charging station) is well received, then we will certainly look at other opportunities," Gilford said.