Electric Vehicles- The Future
The EV Market has been growing rapidly due to the increasing demand for alternative fuel vehicles. 74% of new car sales in North America are predicted to be electric by 2040 and, in Norway alone, electric cars make up 84% of new car sales. There are currently over 12 million electric vehicles on the road and it is predicted that, by the end of 2022, electric cars will outsell diesel and mild hybrid diesel cars. As the number of EVs continues to grow, so does the demand for accompanying services, and en-route service providers have to adopt new strategies to cater to the changes in EV drivers’ behavior. In doing so, fuelling stations have the potential to benefit considerably from this emerging customer group and secure an increase in profit, in more ways than one.
EV Charging Stations
By tapping into this new market, fuelling stations can increase direct revenue by setting charging fees, and offering a convenient service for both ICE and electric vehicles, while also improving their sustainability reputation in line with the transition to net zero. The first and most obvious opportunity is benefitting from providing commercial charging to those in need. Why would a business not try to capitalize on the immediate demand for charging services? According to statistics, there has been a 10-15%decrease in customer foot traffic at fuelling stations, beginning in 2017. Some of this loss is attributed to a rising number of EVs on the road. By increasing the variety of services on offer, fuel station owners and rest stop operators can increase customer loyalty – with more services available, clients are more likely to return.
New charging stations will attract new customers to existing locations, allowing fuel station owners and rest stop operators the ability to grow their profit. Long-distance travel makes drivers more inclined to stop at a location with a charging station available so that they can charge their vehicle and rest. Even a fast charger takes around 10-30 minutes to charge a vehicle. With the infrastructure already in place, more drivers might decide to stay for longer periods of time or buy something from the store while waiting, thus facilitating increased customer expenditure on-site.
If charging infrastructure is equipped with an advertising screen or has a direct connection with the driver via an app, this can allow business owners to research consumer behaviors and offer extra services /goods directly, or sell this channel of marketing communication to other businesses. Loyalty programs, plus a certain concentration of related services in the vicinity of charging stations, will increase the number of customers, offering new ways to increase profits.
As we can see, there are multiple ways to benefit from electrification. It is important to understand what kind of charging stations are available on the market, and which of them have features that are most relevant to existing business models of en-route service providers. Existing fuelling stations can leverage an early-mover competitive advantage by offering charging services – they already have gas and understand forecourt logistics. One of the solutions that can satisfy the needs of this growing market was developed by UK-based manufacturer L-Charge, which produces grid-independent, ultra-fast charging solutions. Most of the EV chargers on the market require grid connections, whereas off-grid charging solutions from L-Charge are operated on gas, making them not only more autonomous, but greener in terms of energy production as 30% of grid-supplied power is still generated from burning coal.