With the transition towards an all-electric future, the retail industry can play a critical part in providing the infrastructure drivers need to recharge while they shop.
Walmart is laying the groundwork for an EV-first future, planning to expand its existing network of 1,300 Walmart EV charging stations to thousands of new Walmart locations across the US. Shopping malls, convenience stores, grocery stores and other outlets are following suit to provide public charging infrastructure for the growing number of electric vehicles on the roads.
There are numerous benefits of retail EV charging stations, and retailers like Walmart are smart to jump on board. Here are six reasons why.
1. Increase foot traffic
It’s no secret that charging an EV takes longer than pumping gas. Even with faster public Level 3 DC fast chargers, a driver must dedicate 20 minutes or more to come away with a substantial recharge. The only question is what they will do with that time.
Retailers are uniquely positioned to answer that question. What better way to kill the time than to knock out some errands? Not surprisingly, then, a survey by L-Charge shows that 55% of EV owners choose their shopping destinations based on EV charger availability. With EV charging apps, it only takes a few seconds for potential customers to find the nearest charging station and pair it with their shopping needs.
Walmart understands this, and the massive retailer stands to gain big by expanding charging access. With stores within 10 miles of roughly 90% of Americans, it’s clearly banking on the fact that adding more Walmart EV charging stations will draw in more customers.
2. Extend customer visits
Even where your business isn’t capturing new foot traffic, EV charging stations can help you capture your existing traffic for longer. For instance, one California retailer found that EV drivers spent an average of 72 minutes in its store while charging—a full 50 minutes more than the average customer. During that time, those drivers spent roughly $1 per minute.
That kind of extended dwell time and spend could have massive implications for a retailer’s bottom line. With revenue growth from more foot traffic and longer stays, you can easily offset the costs of installing EV equipment.
3. Add new revenue streams
Growing in-store revenue isn’t the only opportunity that EV charging stations present. The stations themselves can become a new source of revenue if you choose to charge customers for using them.
On average, each public EV charging station generates roughly $1,390 in revenue per year, according to data from Statista. That’s expected to grow to $2,870 per station by 2027 as more drivers convert to electric cars. This additional revenue can further offset the costs of installing chargers and boost revenue for retailers.
That said, retailers should strongly consider their customer base and whether to charge for time or offer a discounted or free charging model based on in-store spending. Whether the stations generate revenue directly or act as a marketing tool to bring in more traffic, it’s a win.
4. Make sustainability a priority
Adding EV chargers is a way for retailers to “put their money where their mouth is.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the transportation sector accounts for roughly 29% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, making it the single largest contributor to climate change. Over their lifetime, electric vehicles produce less than half the amount of GHGs that gas-powered cars produce.
By supporting the transition to EVs, retailers make it clear that sustainability is a top priority. They add valuable nodes to the nation’s charging network and improve their brand image as a company that takes environmental responsibility seriously.
5. Stand out from the competition
This adds up to one important reality for retailers that install EV chargers: competitive advantage. In these early stages of the EV transition companies that make the first move will grab the attention of consumers.
Think of it this way: An eco-minded consumer has two grocers near their workplace, and both offer similar products. The only difference is that one has EV charging, while the other doesn’t. Which one do you think they’ll choose?
Once customers build brand loyalty, it’s difficult to break it. The earlier your company can get in on the EV charging game, the better it will be for your long-term brand appeal.
6. Take advantage of incentives
The other big advantage of early adoption is that you can take advantage of tax credits and other incentives that may not be there in the decades ahead. Most notably, the federal government currently offers a substantial tax credit for commercial charging installations—up to $30,000 in total. Note that census tract requirements, including being located in a low-income or non-urban area, must be met to qualify for the incentive starting January 1, 2023.
Utility companies also offer significant rebates that translate to a few thousand dollars off the cost of Level 2 chargers and up to $30,000 back on Level 3 DC fast chargers. Additional incentives may be available at the state level, as well.
These programs are designed to accelerate EV adoption and move the nation toward its climate goals more quickly. Once adoption reaches critical mass, tax credits and rebates will begin to fall away. In other words, now is the best time for retailers to minimize the cost of installing EV charging stations.
Find the perfect partner for your retail charging installation
The advantages of installing EV charging stations strongly favor retailers that are making the move now. If you’re ready to seize the moment, you don’t have to navigate this new world alone. Enel X Way has helped countless businesses, from hotel chains to restaurant franchises, install EV charging stations to suit their customers and set them apart from the competition.
By partnering with us, you take the guesswork and planning time out of your retail charging installation so you can focus on your business. Enel x Way offers an array of Level 2 and Level 3 charging options for retailers of all sizes. Contact us today to get started.
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