The Next Generation of Gas Station: What’s Driving the EV Market?
Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more affordable, ranges are increasing, and adoption is ramping up. But what does this mean for today’s C-store owner, gas station operator, or travel center? A big opportunity. With gas only accounting for 3 cents per gallon in profits for the station, EV charging could provide new possibilities to generate sales from customers.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to explore the rise of electric vehicles and their surprising potential for increasing profitability at the locations that install charging stations.
Six Things Driving Electric Vehicle Adoption
From an increasing positive sentiment to better logistics, EVs are becoming more mainstream. But how did we get here? What’s making them so popular? And why do more than half of consumers expect to own an electric vehicle in the next ten years?
More and more consumers are looking to purchase vehicles that reflect their personal values. EVs are one way they are demonstrating their commitment to sustainability.
Pair this with a decreasing amount of “smug” emissions from EV owners and increasing coolness of EVs, and we’re seeing a world where we can agree on something. In fact, according to CarGurus, the US is seeing a rapid “mainstreaming” of EVs among car owners—with more than half expecting to own an EV in the next decade.
Carrot & Stick Government Policy
The government has long pushed for increasing EV use, both encouragingly and punitively. This carrot and stick approach is coaxing manufacturers to make more and consumers to buy more. With current incentives, customers can receive $7,500 in tax credits for buying an EV. What better way to encourage
While incentives might be the carrot, other approaches from governing bodies are the stick. With many car manufacturers being gently persuaded by regulators to reduce their carbon footprint, customers are seeing the impact of closed pipelines at the pump. Instead of paying $1.79 for gas, prices now are hitting 2008 levels, creating a new demand for gas efficient or gas eschewing vehicles.
Manufacturer Initiatives and the Cool Factor
Manufacturers are forging ahead with EVs. Imagine someone told you in 2010 that you could buy an electric Audi. If you knew about German car brands, you’d find this hilarious. How about an EV Mustang or… Hummer? Not possible, right? Though Tesla made the EV cool, car manufacturers across the board have made the leap. Now, with many opting to only offer electric vehicles by 2030, consumers can expect increasing quality and diversity of EV offerings.
For those of us in the Midwest, the running joke is that something is “only” a six-hour, 300-mile drive away. At the dawn of the EV, the 300-mile range was either impossible or prohibitively expensive. Now, however, that range is within view. Inside EVs finds that nearly every manufacturer has at least one offering in the 250+ range and many have pushed beyond 300.
When paired with the following trend, customers are finding that the fully-electric road trip might be a reality.
More Charging Stations
Aside from range, many customers hated the idea of mapping out every single stop they’d have to make to charge. Luckily, this is becoming less and less of a concern. At the time of writing, drivers have access to 50,791 potential charging locations with nearly 125,000 ports.
Even when looking at the gold standard of convenience in DC Fast Charging, EV drivers in the US and Canada have access to 22,532 ports at 6,520 locations, making it easier than ever to find a place to recharge.
Convenience stores and gas stations are taking note. 7-Eleven just announced plans to become the sixth-largest DC Fast Charging provider by the end of 2022, planning to equip more than 250 stores with at least 500 ports. An increased number of charging stations means an increased comfort with EVs.
Where to Find EV Charging: Nearly Everywhere
Whether it’s a Level 1, 2, 3, or DC Fast Charging Station, the EPA’s Alternative Fuels Data Center has the most up to date information about where you can find the right charging station for your needs.
Decreasing Charging Times
The third EV concern among customers being allayed is the charging time. While yes, roughly 80% of current public charging stations are “Level 1” or “Level 2,” most new builds are using the DC Fast Chargers mentioned above.
DC Fast Chargers are changing the way that people look at charging. While a Level 2 charger would take 4-8 hours for a full charge, a DC Fast Charger can do the same in 30 minutes.
Turning Costs into Profits: Make the Most of Charging Times
With the increasing popularity of electric vehicles, facilities that install charging spaces have an opportunity to drive revenue. Even with high-end chargers, consumers will need to wait 10, 20, 30 minutes or more at your facility—so it pays to give them something to do.
By building a space worth remembering, you can become the place to go for EV drivers. By diversifying your offerings, you can recoup the cost and start turning your investment into profit.
Let’s put it another way: Do you think of gas or breakfast pizza when someone says, “Casey’s General Store”? What about Sheetz or Wawa? You’re probably thinking of the touch screen ordering. And those are simply making the most of the five minutes it takes to fill up a tank. Imagine what you can do with 30.
Case Study: Creating a Cult Following at Wally’s (with the Help of Morgan Li)
Great Service, Tasty Food, Clean Restrooms and Unexpected Necessities. Inspired by another travel center/convenience store known for its cult following, Wally’s is home of the Great American Road Trip.
Located in Pontiac, Illinois, designers at the space wanted to create something unforgettable for travelers, and turned to custom manufacturer Morgan Li to make it happen. From their quirky, selfie-worthy centerpieces to their amazing selection of food, we worked with the Wally’s team to build a facility guests will remember.
Morgan Li: Fixtures, Furniture, and Graphics
Boutique to Bix Box, single location to multinational and everything in between, companies around the world have come to trust Morgan Li for our timely and reliable production, attention to detail, and most importantly, execution.
If you’re looking to make the most of your space, it pays to work with a manufacturer who can match your specifications, smash your expectations, and help you transform your space into something memorable. Get to know who we’ve helped, what we do, and contact us for more information.
(Photo Credit: Wally’s)