The growing number of electric vehicles on the road is a great sign that we are moving forward in the right direction but along with the goodies, the growing population of EVs sets forward a few challenges.
In this article, we will be discussing external challenges to overcome during the mass adoption of EVs and sharing the thoughts of industry experts.
Fuel Filling Stations
The majority of the petroleum giants and retailers have started to invest in the EV charging sector all over the world. That is because now they see charging stations can be a good business to invest in since they have got the real estate and other facilities required for a changing station.
Now the question is whether the current fuel filling stations have enough resources to cater for the needs of the growing number of EVs. Let us find out.
One big issue for standard gas stations is that charging an electric vehicle takes at least 20 to 30 minutes, compared to the average three and a half minutes customers spend now fueling their cars with petroleum. This could entail a quick trip to the restroom, as well as purchasing coffee or snacks while filling the tank.
“I’ve been dealing with convenience and fuel retail for 20 years and I’ll tell you, three years ago they had no interest in electric vehicle charging at all, they wanted EV to die,” said John Eichberger, executive director at Fuels Institute, a research-oriented think tank.
“They thought it was the biggest threat to their business model,” added Eichberger, who was speaking at a panel discussion this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “But now, they realize that they are their customers.”
Even while most people charge their electric vehicles at home or at work, Eichberger believes that typical gas stations, which comes around 145,000 in the United States, should incorporate fast electric chargers to accommodate the growing number of EV owners.
“It might give that possibility to establish a business model around that customer base that can be layered upon the traditional business model, along with food services and free internet,” he added. “We’re seeing a lot of them begin to do that and figure out what’s best for their customers.”
Thus according to Eichberger the current fuel charging stations will have to revisit their business model and will have to spend a few thousand dollars but it will be a wise decision and a solid investment.
Malls and Grocery Stores
The issue with malls is that the space available for malls and grocery stores and would be a challenge since the regulations would dictate the type of space needed while those requirements are too hard to satisfy in a city centre.
“The data that I see is suggesting that in 20 years, over 30% of the vehicles on the road will be some form of an electric car that requires some form of charge,”
-Ed Hudson, senior director for corporate research for Kroger
“It is going to change the parking lots,” Hudson said. “How are we going to change our designs of customer drop-off pick-up? Where are we going to put all these EV chargers? How many different companies try to do their own proprietary system, like Tesla?
“That’s going to make it very complicated,” he added, pointing to the high cost of installing charging stations in parking lots.
One issue, according to experts, is that the majority of electric vehicle sales in the United States — the world’s second-largest market after China — are centred on the West and East Coasts, where stores have limited lots and real estate is pricey.
The same may be said for retail malls, which are frequently subject to stringent rules and regulations.
One issue, according to experts, is that the majority of electric vehicle sales in the United States — the world’s second-largest market after China — are centred on the West and East Coasts, where food stores have limited lots and real estate is pricey.
The same may be said for retail malls, which are frequently subject to stringent rules.
“There are numerous lease restrictions that restrict our ability to work within certain sites,” said Daniel Segal, vice president of business development at Simon Property Group, a global leader in the ownership of shopping centres.
“We’re not only constrained by what we do with EV charging,” Segal said. “We still have this thing called shopping and building retail shopping … further putting pressure on our parking structures themselves.”
The steady growth of EV sales is calling for some creative problem-solving skills on an infrastructural level and may the best problem solver win and get the biggest slice.