Why installing electric vehicle chargers is great business
Supermarkets and other businesses are beginning to spot the benefits of installing electric vehicle charging stations for their customers.
As more and more people choose to drive electric vehicles (EVs), more and more businesses are seeing an opportunity. These savvy businesses are installing vehicle charging stations in their car parks and making them available to customers, often for free.
At the end of last year, Tesco announced plans to install almost 2,500 charging bays in more than 600 of their stores. Tesco announced this initiative in partnership with Volkswagen. This year, Morrisons announced a similar scheme.
There are currently more than 23,000 public charging stations across the UK. However, as the number of electric or plugin-hybrid vehicles on UK roads grows, many more will be needed.
Smart businesses are taking this opportunity because as well as providing benefit to the customer and the planet, there are also numerous business benefits. Let’s examine some of them now.
EV chargers bring in customers
Many of the electric vehicle chargers being installed by supermarkets are dual speed. So, a customer can choose a fast charger (between 7kW and 22kW) sometimes provided for free or for a low price. Alternatively, they can choose a rapid charger (over 43kW) for which they have to pay a premium.
How long it takes to recharge the battery depends on the type of car. However, whichever option they choose, they are going to have to stay around as their vehicle charges. During this time, they do not have to sit in the car. They will go into the store and most likely, buy something.
Business owners have the opportunity to create a touch point with a customer they wouldn’t usually have. It’s a chance to show how great their products and services are. It’s the chance to win them over for life.
EV chargers get customers spending
While some customers will want to charge their vehicles because they are about to run out of power, others will specifically choose to come to a store to charge their car and do their shopping at the same time. Locations for charging points are published on many different websites, so electric vehicle drivers are likely to search them out.
Customers may even choose to do the weekly ‘big shop’, at the expense of the supermarket they previously used. The store with chargers will become a destination. Footfall will increase. Business owners will have the opportunity to create loyalty.
Electric vehicle owners need somewhere where they can do something else to offset the time they spend charging. Chargers in supermarkets or shopping centres give them this opportunity. The cost of installing charging points and providing charge to customers’ vehicles should be returned by increased footfall and revenue.
EV chargers boost the brand
Installing electric vehicle chargers in a supermarket or other place of business provides a significant boost to the business’ brand.
If the company has an environmental slant, or regularly promotes sustainability, offering charging to customers should be a key part of brand strategy. In fact, as take-up of electric vehicles increases, businesses that trumpet their eco-credentials but don’t offer charging, will start to be seriously questioned.
Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” For businesses that want to promote themselves as customer-centric, convenient and thoughtful, offering customers charging points is an effective choice.
EV chargers future proof a business
More and more drivers in the UK are choosing electric or hybrid vehicles.
- There are currently around 215,000 electric vehicles registered in the UK
- On average, 5000 new electric cars are registered every month
- The National Grid estimates that by 2040, there could be 36 million electric vehicles on UK roads
It’s good business to be in on the ground floor when it comes to electric vehicle charging. Every month, there are more cars on the road and more drivers needing charging points. It will not be long before providing electric vehicle charging points could be seen as essential. Investing in charging points now makes business premises fit for purpose tomorrow.
There is also a financial aspect. As governments across the world try to nudge businesses and consumers towards making more environmentally friendly choices, who knows what tax or other economic boosts could be offered in the future to companies providing charging points?
Further, charge points on-site might help businesses attract high-calibre employees, especially if charging if offered as part of the compensation package.
EV charging points are easy to manage
Once installed, electric vehicle charging points are simple to administrate. They should not put too much of a burden on the business.
Drivers should already know how to use them to charge their cars, so there is no need to place an attendant on site to help. Partnering with an established charging company will ensure that maintenance is taken care of. Software controls who has access to charging points. Batteries and other dynamic load balancing technologies ensure charging points do not cause undue strain on the grid. Businesses have the power to set prices or offer all charging options for free.
A further advantage is that electric vehicle charging points create data, which depending on the type of agreement with the EV charger provider, can also be shared with the hosting business. For example, supermarkets could link charging data to their loyalty card schemes. They could see who uses their charging facilities and how it relates to how they spend elsewhere in the business.
Businesses will also be able to see data on their charging points, relating to costs, kilowatt hours used and carbon dioxide offset. This is valuable when promoting a business’ green credentials.
A powerful idea
There are so many business advantages of installing electric vehicle charging stations for customers. It brings in new customers and boosts loyalty in existing ones. It boosts the brand and future proofs the business. Most importantly, it gives a return on investment.
As electric vehicle usage grows, expect more and more businesses to grasp these opportunities to delight their customers.