With electric vehicles becoming mainstream, it would behoove retail destinations to consider the installation of EV charging stations to attract new customers and retain existing customers. Enthusiasm surrounding EVs began with Tesla, which created a desirable, luxury-grade vehicle that also happened to be electronically run; then, Volvo went and announced that it will only release new vehicles that are electric or hybrids starting in 2019, and most-recently, several other middle-range car companies releasing financially-attainable, longer mileage electric cars, like the Chevy Bolt.
Based on this momentum, plus the desire for cleaner air and energy, electric vehicles have become a fixture in our personal transportation system. So, what does this mean for the large bix-box stores and mom-and-pop shops in our country? How can they be a part of this movement—and benefit from it?
The answers are: charging stations, charging stations, and more charging stations. Thanks to government aid and the growing popularity of EVs, the positives of installing electric vehicle charging stations greatly outweigh the cost.
Read on to explore six reasons why retail destinations should join the EV craze by investing in charging stations.
Affluent and intelligent customer base. In general, the majority of EV drivers are well-educated, six figure income-earning, environmentally conscious individuals. According to a Green Car Reports study, 57 percent of electric car owners have a graduate degree; 88 percent live in a single-family, detached home; 38 percent purchased their EV for environmental reasons; 93 percent own their home; and 50 percent earn more than $150,000 per year. It doesn’t take a mathematician (or a financial analyst) to determine that these are the folks that you want shopping at your store.
Longer time spent inside stores or retail destinations by EV drivers. Level 2 charging, the most common level of charging station in public areas, supplies 240 volts, which provides about 25 miles of range per hour of charging. So, based on the timing, most likely drivers will want to plug in for at least an hour, perhaps longer. This means that when they plug into your retail destination’s charging station, they’ll ultimately spend the amount of time they are plugged in shopping or browsing your store. Studies show that the longer a customer is in a store, the more likely they are to buy more products.
Loyal consumers who return repeatedly. EV drivers who are looking to run errands or pick up something specific will usually check their map of charging stations to see where they can charge up during their shopping trip. Knowledge of a place they can plug in their vehicle will create repeat customers, since they know the next time they run a certain errand, they’ll be able to juice up their car.
Leg up on the competition. Similar to creating repeat customers, a grocery store, for instance, that provides a charging station when its competitor down the street does not, will likely win over EV drivers. With more and more drivers opting into electric automobile options, you’ll be ahead of the curve when EVs become the norm.
Opportunity for local and national government rebates. Nationally, business owners have the opportunity to deduct 30 percent of installation costs for charging stations, plus up to $1,000 of the total amount spent on installing the stations, thanks to a federal program. Plus, many states and regional governments provide rebates or financial benefit programs that make installing a charging station at your store worthwhile.
Calls attention to your business. Not only will your business be thought of as a promoter of environmental awareness, but it will also be included in smartphone apps that EV drivers utilize to find charging stations (like the EV Connect mobile app). So, both non-EV drivers and EV drivers will become more aware of your business, whether out of appreciation for green initiatives or out of appreciation for a destination to charge up their electric vehicle.