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Published on November 21st, 2017 | by Loren McDonald
November 21st, 2017 by Loren McDonald
A approaching of cartage powered by batteries will radically change how, where, and how generally we “refuel” our cars and trucks. One of those accouterment will be to charging electric cartage at barn aliment (also referred to as big-box stores, superstores, and hypermarkets) and supermarkets.
Charging electric cartage (EVs) at supermarkets is of advance not a new idea, with abounding chains such as Krogers, Hy-Vee, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, Lucky’s, and abounding others alms Akin 1–3 charging. Walmart began abacus EV chargers at some West Coast aliment in 2011 and through January of 2017 the aggregation had added EV charging stations to added than 90 sites beyond the US, bringing their absolute to over 300 stations.
Costco launched EV charging in assorted locations in Southern California in 2006, but again concluded the affairs in 2011 due to abridgement of use and costs to maintain.
While several bazaar and barn aliment accept dabbled in EV charging by abacus a few chargers at assorted locations, the approaching could see these retailers arising as some of the better charging centers in the US, Europe, and elsewhere.
These stores, which accept ample aisle and action a advanced array of advantage and merchandise, are a absolute fit for EV charging for several reasons:
Deep Experience Operating Gas Stations and Building Loyal “Refueling” Customers: Over the accomplished decade, big-box retailers, grocery stores, and accumulation affairs aliment accept been the fastest growing approach for gas stations. As of May 2016, there were 5,934 big-box retailers in the US affairs fuel, according to Energy Analysts International (via NACS). These sites accounted for an estimated 14.5% of the motor fuels (gasoline) purchased in the United States and accept sales volumes almost bifold that of acceptable retailers.
The top 5 US hypermarkets affairs fuel, by abundance count, in fuels bartering are: Kroger (1,354), Walmart (1,323 stations), Sam’s Club (535), Costco (430), and Safeway (341).
A 2014 analysis of US and Canadian motorists by Market Force International activate that Kroger and Costco were in actuality the top two best adopted gas stations.
While EV charging is acutely a altered business than affairs gasoline, barter will not be afraid back these retailers calibration up the cardinal of their charging stations.
Frequency of Abundance Visits: Consumers boilerplate 1.5 trips per anniversary to supermarkets. Admission to fast EV chargers can potentially admission the boilerplate cardinal of visits per month.
Large Parking Lots: Big box retailers accept parking lots with 100s of parking spaces. Costco, for example, requires a minimum of 750 parking spaces for its barn stores.
Locations Abreast Residential Areas: While generally amid in suburbs, big-box retailers are usually amid aural a 10–15 minute drive of surrounding residential areas.
Rewards and Associates Programs: Abounding of these retailers accept associates or rewards programs that are ideal to accommodate with charging access, benefits, and discounts.
Low-Margin Expertise: The bazaar business in accurate operates on low margins, about in the 1–3% range. If these retailers add EV charging in the parking lots, they could accomplish them at abreast breach even, or use them as a loss-leader to drive echo visits and best abide time.
In the abutting 5 years, best EVs will accept a array ambit of at atomic 250 afar and again acceleration to 300 or added a few years later. Electric cartage with able best ambit agency that for best drivers, 99% of their charging will acceptable be done at their residence, forth artery highways/autobahns, and at abroad destinations such as hotels and resorts.
But charging at residences has two huge hurdles:
Workplace and accessible charging locations will accommodate some of the charging options for these underserved markets, but hypermarkets angle to become the better providers for EV drivers after their own calm charging access.
Already leaders in operating gas stations, as EV acceptance grows decidedly in the abutting few years, barn clubs and bazaar chains will activate demography avant-garde approaches to echo their gas base success with EV charging. Following are some of the approaches we may see:
Free Charging: Aliment may action chargeless or discounted charging if a chump spends aloft a assertive threshold. The best a chump is in a store, the added money they absorb on average. EV charging can potentially extend chump abide time. Analysis from Path Intelligence activate that a 1% admission in client abide time at a capital led to a 1.3% admission in spend.
To abbreviate abuse, anchored cars ability be adjourned “penalty” accuse if a car charcoal best than a specific time period. Retailers may additionally accomplice with advertising-based charging networks like Volta and advertise announcement to manufacturers’ articles agitated central the store.
Branded Charging Networks: Initially, these big-box retailers will accomplice with the ample charging networks such as ChargePoint, EVgo, NewMotion, and others to barrage and arrange chargers and accommodate adaptable apps and arrangement access. Over time, however, these retailers ability accomplish their own branded networks application a white labeled account and add the alms into their adaptable apps.
Loyalty Programs: A key for these retailers is to acquisition means to accumulate barter loyal to their brand, and admission arcade visits per ages and boilerplate absorb on anniversary visit. EV charging programs affiliated to a adherence affairs will acceptable comedy a key role in accomplishing these goals, abnormally with barter who don’t accept admission to chargers at home. Expect retailers to action chargeless or discounted charging and added allowances for associates of their rewards/membership programs. Affairs associates with assertive levels of cachet or associates may alike accept admission to faster and adopted EV chargers amid afterpiece to the abundance entrances.
Coupons: Back a chump parks and plugs in their EV, retailers will accelerate advance notifications to their adaptable apps advice them of a advertisement acceptable for a chargeless hotdog, dollar off a pizza or added food, beverages, and merchandise. The coupons will be advised to admission the bulk of arcade abide time and absorb per visit.
Detailing/Light Maintenance: Chains such as Costco and Walmart already action annoy accession casework for vehicles. With the advance of EVs, attending for them to add car washing/waxing/detailing and potentially ablaze aliment casework such as alternating tires, alteration wiper blades, and installing new brakes — all while your agent is charging and you are arcade in the store.
Cross-Selling of EV Chargers, Solar, and Array Storage: Big box retailers such as Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, and others may use the branding afterimage of EV charging stations in their parking lots to drive sales of EV chargers, array storage, and solar accession central their stores. Beyond signage in parking spots, retailers can accelerate advance letters to EV charging customers’ adaptable apps to analysis out their EV, solar, and array accumulator solutions in the store. Barter who buy one or added of these products/services ability be offered adopted parking locations and chargeless lifetime charging.
Hyper-Targeting EV Drivers: Business is all about chump data. EV charging acceptance abstracts and chump profiles can be added to chump acquirement and behavioral abstracts to bear added accordant and appropriate offers to customers. And for the abutting 7–10 years back EV owners will be mostly aboriginal adopters and higher-income households, retailers can ambition these adorable segments to drive greater adherence and admission acquirement levels per visit.
Off-Peak Shopping: These ample retailers see actual specific alternating arcade patterns, such as aboriginal weekday evenings and Saturday mornings. Through their charging arrangement adaptable apps, these retailers could ambition barter to “stop, boutique and charge” during their assignment drive or added times that are beneath busy. Application a shopping/charge-time admission algorithm, they ability action chargeless or discounted charging during non-peak allegation times to akin abate aiguille arcade traffic, but admission the cardinal of account visits. Charging apps chip via APIs with your car’s adaptable app ability alike accelerate time-based offers to you based on your actual array ambit and adjacency to specific abundance locations.
Off-Peak Charging/Parking Lot Utilization: Parking lots are basically a anchored asset and amount for retailers. The lot is a all-important amount of business during hours of operation, but the parking spaces sit mostly bare back the aliment are closed. While not amount to their business, retailers could accessible up their parking lots and EV chargers to charging networks and non-customers to drive incremental revenue. These off-peak charging casework could be offered in affiliation with adjoining apartments and condominiums, ridesharing services, and added businesses.
Solar Parking Roofs/Battery Storage: With massive parking lots, big-box retailers can install dozens of solar parking canopies that adumbration cars in hot acclimate and can advice to account electricity needs for the abundance and/or EV chargers. Add in array accumulator and retailers can booty advantage of any balance solar-generated electricity and appropriate off-peak electricity rates.
Food Service/Coffee Bars: Hypermarkets ability aggrandize absolute aliment account and coffee bar offerings as a way to accumulate EV charging barter longer, satisfied, and ultimately spending added time and dollars in their stores.
Warehouse and bazaar chains accept the abeyant to become some of the better charging centers in abounding countries. By accouterment acceptable and affordable admission to EV chargers, these mega aliment can admission their basal band and break one of the key challenges to EV adoption.
Image Sources: Costco, ChargePoint
Loren McDonald Loren McDonald is a business advocate for one of the world's better technology companies during the day and with what little additional time he has left, he tries to actuate his adolescent bodies of the civic and bread-and-butter allowances of "going green." He is currently alive on his book "Gas Base Zero" about the transformation of the auto industry to array electric vehicles. His analysis and autograph on CleanTechnica and his own blog/site, www.EVAdoption.com, is focused on the assorted factors that will admission or arrest the accumulation acceptance of electric vehicles. He shares his Northern California home with his wife, a daughter, two dogs, solar panels, EV, rain barrel, grass-free yard, admixture bin and low-flow toilets.