With global warming, rising seas, and catastrophic natural disasters year after year, the tide is turning toward reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Government agencies, nonprofits, and corporations are increasing their commitment to developing EV charging infrastructure.
NREL’s study estimates that a nationwide public charging network would support EV drivers running errands, commuting, and using ride-hailing apps. This EV charging infrastructure would also be critical for making long-distance road trips feasible.
The Fuel Retailer’s Role
With governments all over the world adopting stricter emissions targets, there’s a growing urgency to make the switch to electric vehicles. This is creating a massive opportunity for gas stations to offer charging services and cement their role in tomorrow’s mobility ecosystem. This is especially true for fuel retailers who already have existing infrastructure and strategic locations along major roadways.
The good news is that EV chargers also generate a new revenue stream. There are a number of ways to structure charging tariffs, from charging by kilowatt for the energy used to fixed per-minute pricing or a combination of these. With advanced charging management software, a gas station can even enable flexible pricing based on utilization and time of day.
Furthermore, offering EV charging helps to attract a new clientele and upsell services. Research shows that EV drivers tend to be wealthier, more educated, and more environmentally conscious than the average motorist. In addition, offering a comfortable place for EV drivers to rest and shop can help to build brand loyalty and customer retention.
Whether they’re leveraging existing infrastructure to add EV chargers, expanding product offerings, or partnering with EV companies, innovative gas stations are taking advantage of this growing market. As a result, they’re improving EV drivers’ experience and helping create a more sustainable future by reducing carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. By delivering superior customer experience and driving growth, gas stations are paving the way for a greener tomorrow. Interested in learning more about how EV charging can benefit your fuel retail business? Contact us today to schedule a free demo. Our team of experts is happy to answer any questions you might have!
Integration of EV Charging Stations
The need to adapt and integrate EV charging stations into gas pump infrastructure is clear. With EV adoption growing quickly, fuel retailers will need to offer a variety of options to support this new market.
The good news is that EV charging stations require relatively little capital investment to install, unlike the pump itself. This is a benefit for both the fuel retailer and its customers, as many EV drivers are willing to pay a premium for a location that offers charging capability.
In fact, a well-positioned EV charging station can boost customer loyalty by bringing in a new group of consumers with a different purchasing profile from those who visit C stores solely for gas. EV drivers tend to be more employed, younger than the general population, and more educated, with a higher median household income.
Providing EV charging also helps these drivers avoid the “range anxiety” associated with driving long distances. Expanding public DC fast charging networks can mitigate this concern by allowing users to charge their vehicles at locations along their route.
While home-, work–, and fleet-based charging continue to be the primary means of EV charging, the need for public EV charging facilities is rising rapidly as more motorists make the switch to electric cars. This trend will likely accelerate as government initiatives, including grants and easing regulations, help to expand the charging network.
With this in mind, savvy fuel retailers are exploring opportunities to provide EV charging as part of their overall service offerings. Some are converting existing C-stores into EV charging stations, such as Delta Electronics’s conversion of an Idemitsu Showa Shell gasoline station in Japan into a café and carwash that includes EV chargers.
EV charging stations offer a unique opportunity to use digital signage for branding and marketing. They are accessible to users with captive audiences, offering marketers the chance to provide relevant and personalized content to encourage engagement. Signage that reflects the charging network’s brand identity creates an immersive experience, and partner logos or advertisements can be displayed to increase visibility for supporting businesses.
In addition, digital displays can help drive up utilization rates by influencing user behavior. Using dynamic displays that communicate real-time charging rates and availability, along with any promotions or incentives that may be currently running, EV charging stations can maximize utilization by informing users of the best time to charge their vehicles.
A user-friendly charging experience also helps drive up adoption rates, which benefits the environment. By eliminating the need for gas pumps and allowing users to order and pay for fuel from mobile apps, EV charging infrastructure can make the future of transportation more convenient for motorists and consumers alike.
Additionally, the introduction of EVs poses opportunities to improve our country’s roadways, communities, and natural areas. While existing petrol and diesel stations constitute a major scenic intrusion with garish signs and significant light pollution, new charging infrastructure can be designed to minimize visual impact, making it possible to maintain the aesthetic integrity of sensitive sites and locations.
To do this, it’s essential to conduct visual impact assessments and design EV charging stations with the surrounding environment in mind. This will ensure that the new infrastructure does not detract from the beauty of natural landscapes and the built environment and protects the health and well-being of the local population.
As EV adoption grows, public charging stations will become essential. They will allow drivers to conduct long road trips, encourage consumers who do not have access to home charging to purchase EVs, and address range anxiety, one of the electric car myths that is a major barrier to EV adoption.
According to Wood’s team at NREL, the country will need 28 million charging ports by 2030 to support a mid-adoption scenario of 33 million EVs on U.S. roads. Residential chargers will make up the majority of those ports, but they must be complemented by a network of public fast chargers, which can replenish an electric car’s battery in about 20 to 30 minutes.
Gas stations are ideally positioned to provide charging infrastructure because of their locations in high-traffic areas and the fact that many offer multiple amenities, such as restaurants, shops, restrooms, and even car washes. In addition, adding EV charging capabilities is a low-cost way to attract new customers and improve profitability, Yair Nechmad, co-founder and chief executive officer of Nayax, a global commerce enablement and payments platform that offers its services to gas station owners, explained.
As a result, BP and other major oil companies are adding EV charging capabilities to their existing locations. However, establishing a network of public charging stations will not be a one-and-done decision for gas station owners. They’ll need to invest in high-powered Level 3 chargers and find ways to recoup costs by recouping investment through increased transactions, such as food and beverage sales or fuel sales, or a shared revenue stream, such as charging fees. If they want to thrive in the EV charging economy, they’ll also need to consider how to ensure that public charges are equitable.
EV Charging Value Pool
As EV adoption accelerates, new players are vying for control of the emerging EV charging value chain. Players are positioned in different parts of the chain, with some aiming to occupy key customer interfaces and others focused on hardware and software solutions. These players are largely e-MSPs (electric mobility service providers), big tech companies, and automotive OEMs.
EV chargers at retail sites are a key opportunity for gas station owners to capture revenue and build brand awareness. They’re also ideally positioned to offer fast, high-power charging stations, which can charge an electric vehicle in minutes rather than hours. This is particularly important for EV drivers who frequently travel long distances, as the battery may deplete while driving between home and work.
According to a recent survey, 29 percent of current EV drivers already charge their vehicles at gas stations, while 21 percent would like to do so if the option was available. With a large footprint and existing infrastructure, gas stations are uniquely positioned to provide on-the-go charging and benefit from this emerging market.
Overall, global averages for EVs per charging station remained flat over the past few years, while China’s EV-per-charger ratio is outpacing the worldwide average. The rapid growth in China is driven by a combination of government subsidies and active infrastructure development by public utilities.
E-MSPs can offer fleet owners a range of EV services, including charging station management, payment processing, and EV charger aggregation. These providers can help fleets manage their charging assets and optimize the utilization of these stations to maximize ROI. Moreover, they can work with specific delivery and logistics fleets to provide them with discounted or priority charging rates for mid-route charging.