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Why EV charging hubs are a golden opportunity for petrol retailers

As more countries commit to phasing out fossil fuel vehicles, it’s time for fuel retailers to start transforming their business models. Although electric vehicles have traditionally been seen as a threat to gas stations, they also offer new revenue opportunities.



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EV drivers tend to charge at home, work, or while at a shopping centre. Since most of our time is spent at home, what about the EV drivers who don’t have a personal garage or EV chargers available in their apartment building?

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING HUBS ARE THE FUTURE OF ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING

There is an entirely untapped opportunity for petrol retailers to create public EV charging hubs around residential apartment homes. 

EV charging hubs are public stations solely dedicated to electric car charging. These “hubs” can be built either as standalone stations or directly on an existing gas station’s premises. They would be especially valuable for areas with block apartments that don’t have enough EV charging stations or any EV chargers at all.

The UK and Poland are among the first to implement these types of charging hubs, and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of Europe follows in their footsteps.

The petrol retailer Shell already plans on installing 70 EV charging stations by the end of 2020.

Another big advantage to these local charging hubs is that they require much less power since they are designed for long-term charging (e.g. EVs charging overnight). These hubs make an ideal use case for low power AC charging.

For the the petrol retailer, this means there is no need for expensive electricity upgrade investments or complicated underground wiring. Petrol retailers can set their own price to offset initial investment costs. For charging hubs located in metropolitan areas, there is an additional opportunity to add parking fees on top of the charging services.

LET’S TAKE A ROAD TRIP

But it’s not just the local residents who’ll be utilizing these EV charging hubs, their guests will too. 

Let’s go on a road trip and see how this could work in practice:

Luca owns a Hyundai Ioniq, which can go about 200 km on a full charge. Luca has a household charger at home, which takes about 15 hours to fully charge his Ioniq from empty. 

When Luca leaves for work, his EV is charged to about 60%. He drives to work which is about 40 km away, and now the Ioniq has 40% battery life left. Since the office has load balancing in effect, Luca is only able to charge his EV to 70% when he leaves the office.

After work, Luca plans on visiting his mom who lives over 100 km away. He stops by PB Oil, the gas station closest to his mom’s apartment, to grab some food while taking advantage of their EV fast-chargers. Before charging, Luca’s Ioniq has 20% battery left, and after charging, he reaches 30% before leaving PB Oil. 

Luca plans on staying overnight at his mom’s, but her apartment complex doesn’t have any EV chargers and 30% isn’t enough battery power to get back home. 

Luckily, there is a nearby EV charging hub where Luca can leave his car overnight, which is convenient because there isn’t any guest parking at his mom’s place.

Another bonus is that Luca can use his same EV charging account at every location: home, work, the gas station, and at the charging hub. And, even though his mom lives 100 km away, there were no additional roaming fees.

The next day, Luca’s Ioniq is fully charged, and he makes the 140 km journey back home, with some battery life to spare.

THE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

The golden opportunity here is that petrol retailers can offer EV charging to all these locations with a single contract and no extra roaming charges to third parties (“one bill charging”).

The biggest rewards are typically reaped by the players who dare to enter the market first. So why not lead the charge? 

If you’d like to learn more about this opportunity, check out this E-book by Virta - Europe’s fastest-growing EV charging service provider: “How to future-proof your petrol retail business in 3 steps”.

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