They ignored it, they ridiculed it, but now the electric car market is here to stay and has become a serious competitor to traditional gasoline/diesel powered vehicles. The improvements in electric car technology over the last decade have been absolutely phenomenal and while still more is required, we are surely approaching the crossover point.
The crossover point for the electric car industry is literally the moment when car owners have as much confidence in electric vehicles and their charging facilities, as they do today in traditionally powered vehicles. So, what is left to do?
As you might expect we have seen a number of different EV charging protocols, although agreements are slowly being reached with regards to a standard protocol for the future. The challenge now is to ensure there’s more than enough car charging stations across countries around the world, with the U.S. leading the way. Great progress has already been made but the next step is for retailing companies and car charging networks to work more closely together.
Shop while you charge
It is very simple, placing electric car charging stations in and around retail outlets will encourage users to shop while they wait. This benefits all parties - and perhaps more so the retail sector; maybe a reason why electric car charging networks have been a little reluctant to work too closely with their retail counterparts?
As we touched on above, there have been some amazing developments in the electric car charging market with charging times falling each month. Tesla, with its array of superchargers, is most certainly leading the way but don’t underestimate the competition and the stand-alone network charging companies. The ability to charge your vehicle at home and top up as you go along your journey, with minimal waiting times, is the Holy Grail.
While it is still a relatively underdeveloped market we are starting to see an array of electric vehicle perks emerging from the retail sector. This accounts for everything from reductions on your shopping bill, to a reduction on meals as you wait for your vehicle to be charged. We have also seen the more prominent electric car companies fighting to sponsor such perks and give themselves as much publicity and exposure as possible. Will EV perks help to speed up the roll-out of charging station networks?
Once the general public sees a benefit to using a particular electric car charging station, i.e. a perk, you can bet your bottom dollar that others will follow. Once retailers have the eye of the electric vehicle community it is inevitable that more and more perks will be rolled out, creating electric car charging hot spots. There may be initial teething problems if certain charging stations prove popular but this is easily rectified by introducing more charging points.
Interaction between electric car charging networks and the retail sector, not only in the U.S. but around the world, will add value to car charging stations and help catch the eye of the general public. Why this interaction has not been closer and more in-depth to date is a mystery because there is quite literally something in it for everybody.