HomeTECHNOLOGYIncreased retail trade at charging points is to be expected

Increased retail trade at charging points is to be expected

The transport sector contributes to a whopping 16% of global carbon dioxide emissions and to reduce these and counteract climate change, electric vehicles are crucial. In Sweden, sales of electric cars are steadily increasing, while sales of fossil-powered vehicles are decreasing.

In 2022, pure electric cars accounted for 33% of all new registrations, up from 19% in 2021. To meet the growing need for charging options from employees and customers, it is increasingly important for workplaces and retail locations to adapt.

Although electric cars are known to be good for the environment, it may not be cleaner air, less noise and reduced greenhouse gas emissions that people think of first when they start driving an electric car. Many are probably mainly thinking about how they can smoothly and conveniently charge their vehicles when they need to. But for this to become a reality everywhere, commitment is not only required from the drivers themselves, but also from business and society at large.

A “charge-driven” retail trend is upon us

Imagine not having to look and wait for a gas station to appear along the road, but instead using an app on your phone or your car’s infotainment system as a guide. Then imagine spending the time you would normally have spent at a gas station doing something you really want.

Most EV drivers want to charge their cars while parked, rather than having to drive to a remote and inconvenient location for this. In fact, there are already companies today that have looked into the future and will gladly provide you with what you need and want while you charge, for those times when you are out on a road trip or unexpectedly exceed the range of your car battery.

It won’t be long before charging stations will become the center of retail experiences. New marketplaces will appear, filled with activities you can engage in during a 30-minute load session: such as grabbing a coffee or getting a haircut. Welcome to the new retail economy, coming soon to the high street, downtown and to a shopping street near you!

The new retail economy will see accessibility and innovation merge into the collaboration between commerce and charging, to provide drivers with an excellent charging experience. At the same time, companies can acquire an attractive place on the (charging) map, in order to both attract new and retain existing customers who want to be able to do more than just wait while their cars are charged.

Even rural businesses will be able to benefit from this new economy, as increased charging options can attract more customers and visitors, who both stay longer and spend more money at the location during their charging sessions.

Convenient charging

When it comes to charging our personal devices, such as cell phones or laptops, most of us don’t sit around waiting for them to tell us about low battery levels so we can charge them up. We charge them instead when it feels convenient for us. The same applies to electric vehicles. Electric car drivers already know that it is much more convenient to charge the car wherever they happen to be at the moment, rather than having to worry about adjusting their lives after refueling.

While the average dwell time at a charging station is longer than at a gas station – thirty minutes versus eight – chances are if a driver drives so far that the car’s range is exceeded, they will still need a break. This gives retailers and other businesses an ideal opportunity to offer drivers different ways to spend that time.

Over time, there will be charging hubs with dozens of charging stations and activities that can meet all drivers’ needs while their cars are charging.

Just as the cell phone freed us from the landline and the iPhone freed us from our desks, the electric car will enable us to avoid wasting time at gas stations. This in turn will give us more time to interact with other people, while being able to do things we enjoy – or at least carry out everyday necessities. Cleaner air, less noise and zero emissions are then just a bonus.

By: Antti Vainio, Nordic Policy Manager, ChargePoint

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