The Future is Electric: What retailers need to know about adding EV charging stations
Despite the tremendous gains made by e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic, brick-and-mortar locations remain a critical part of Americans’ shopping habits. In-store spending rose 11.7% year-over-year in June, while e-commerce grew at a much slower pace, up 1.1%, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse’s June 2022 report. As consumer shopping habits evolve, finding ways to draw consumers into your retail location by offering unique experiences is critical.
2. The Power Source
Next, it’s time to decide where the power for the station will come from. L2 charging stations require less power and the electricity needed can be pulled from the business and existing power capabilities.
Fast chargers are different because they need a lot of power to charge an EV rapidly. In this case, utilities must be engaged as a direct source of energy is needed. The EV charging provider must have a clear line of communication and a good relationship with the utility to ensure an easy integration process, taking the responsibility off the retailer’s shoulders.
3. Ongoing Maintenance
It’s easy to forget about what happens after that red ribbon is cut and shiny new charging stations are turned on, but here’s a reminder not to. EV charging providers differ in maintenance policies. Some only sell their equipment and place the responsibility of installation and upkeep on the buyer. Others offer end-to-end maintenance. Representatives from these charging companies might even check in on their station and its functionality.
Depending on a business’s resources and capabilities, this factor may be of great or little importance. But when it comes to EV charging, reliability is crucial. Drivers count on charging stations, and they’ll remember the one that didn’t work in their moment of need. They’ll also fall into the habit of visiting the stations that always work. If businesses want to own these stations, a strong maintenance plan of action is imperative.
4. Location of Charger
It’s vital to take into account where on the property the charging stations will provide the most user-friendly experience. By placing EV chargers front and center in front of the business, the customer is provided with a premium parking spot and a valuable amenity. Other, non-EV driving customers should ideally have a clear view of the EV charging stations, giving them increased confidence that charging is available where and when they want it, should they decide to switch to electric.
The EV chargers also present themselves as a unique business opportunity. When planned carefully, they can communicate your sustainability commitment, attract loyal customers, and even promote products in your store through the use of media screens. EV infrastructure can be more than just “infrastructure.”
One last point on the location: The size of the charging station will also affect where the station goes. There is a perfect balance of optics, space, and charger demand for everyone, but it may take patience to find it. Ultimately, front and center charging stations convey convenience and increased confidence, all while strengthening the perception of the businesses’ sustainable practices.
Conclusion: EV Charging Will Be Expected
Right now, EV charging stations benefit a large number of people — but not everyone. However, technology is advancing rapidly, EV adoption is growing exponentially, and soon, everyday charging stations will be an expectation on behalf of customers.
As is the case in nearly all technology advancements, the variances will be wide and numerous, so the decisions on what, where, and how to build, maintain, and monetize will be key to keeping pace. What makes a business stand out today will be the norm tomorrow. So, get ahead of the curve now before the road gets crowded.