While many electric vehicle owners will find it irritating and annoying to be hit with adverts when charging their vehicles, is this a sign of the times? The fact that many larger companies are willing and prepared to pay for advertising space on "free" charging devices seems to indicate that the marketing industry believes the sector is here to stay. So, will advertising be a help or a hindrance to the industry going forward?
Keep costs down
Until the electric vehicle industry cracks the "mass market" it is vital that the cost of services and products is kept as low as possible. There will come a point when costs will have to rise, services will be chargeable and the whole dynamic will be very different than what we see today but in the meantime, is advertising on "free" charging stations really a hindrance?
The reality is that we are hit with advertising everywhere we look and everywhere we go. Some of the advertising and marketing are subtle, so of it is blatant but we are influenced by what we see in front of this even if it is only subliminally. So it makes sense for the electric vehicle industry to maximise marketing income as a means of subsidising the "real cost" of charging stations.
If we look back 20 years ago the electric vehicle industry was literally friendless with many manufacturers shunning the sector. There was little or no appetite from the general public, governments paid lip service and even the most successful electric vehicle of its time was very quickly withdrawn attracting much controversy. If we fast forward to today the situation is very different; governments have put their hands in their pockets, consumers have found an appetite and new technology makes the modern-day electric vehicle indistinguishable from that of 20 years ago.
The introduction of the marketing sector may be seen by many as a negative development but the reality is that marketing experts do not "giveaway" their dollars. If they believe there is sufficient return on investment to sponsor "free" charging units then there must be something in this. The only downside is that this is yet another financial subsidy for the industry although this is likely to be around forever and a day if the sector is successful.
There have always been two main issues regarding the electric vehicle market, journey capacity and a recharging network which could support future growth. Developments in the battery sector have significantly reduced journey anxiety and "sponsored" charging stations will certainly increase the number of stations available and see a much quicker rollout. So all in all it seems that pieces of the larger long-term jigsaw which is the electric vehicle industry are starting to fall into place.
It would be wrong to suggest all of the hard work has been done as much more investment and development is required, but perhaps the latest movements will ensure the industry at least has a fair crack of the whip in attacking the mass-market?