Electric Vehicles Are Coming

ARE YOU READY?

by Dave Bowen

Predications are in the next three to five years, 50 per cent of the vehicles in North America will be electric.

Whether this is a true fact or not, EVs are already here and sales are growing rapidly every year.

Almost every major car manufacturer now has at least one electric vehicle model to offer, and several are gaining ground on industry leader Tesla. As well, many provinces have major incentive rebate programs available on electric vehicle purchases.

The question now for EV owners is: “where do I charge my vehicle when I’m away from home?” Municipalities and cities are now researching strategic placement locations for EV charging stations for urban centres offering long term parking areas. Auto dealers are all installing charging stations not just for their customers’ convenience, but also for charging the dealership EV inventory.

But what about retail locations in general? With a growing demand for units at retail locations, consumers may find both free charging stations, seen as customer service, and pay to charge usually by credit card stations.

Some of the big grocery chains are already installing chargers, as test sites, to determine customer usage, ease of parking and hooking up, as well as units like Praevar that can also offer ad value LED/Digital graphics for in-store products, specials, and even store mapping. Retail petro service centres on Canada’s major highways are a natural fit for EV charging stations as electric vehicles can now travel much further on one charge but will still require re-fuelling, or re-charging along the way. Small, more affordable EV chargers are now available for every day use at some convenience stores and retail petroleum locations. Operators have the option of installing single EV pedestals as stand alones, wood post mounted or installed on an existing lighting pole with hydro readily available. Following the installation of an EV station, the only decision remaining is whether to offer level one, two or three charger units.

These charge levels determine the length of time to reach full charge. For instance, some of the grocery chains are looking at level three because this level of charge takes approximately 30 minutes and time is geared to the estimated time that a customer might spend in this location, or perhaps might spend more time thereby having to purchase more time waiting to reach full charge.

As well, retailers have another opportunity to go green. Many of you have converted, in one form or another, to LED lighting or perhaps, sign technology inside and outside, contributing to the green movement. By offering customers an EV charging station at your site, you’re inviting more environmentally conscious users to enjoy the services you offer while they are purchasing other items in your store or perhaps having a coffee and donut or sandwich.

On larger sites such as a major highway service centres or large truck/retail stops, making your site appear brighter and safer at night could be attained by using pole mounted LED lighting to illuminate EV charging stations.

Praevar utilizes two technologies, one for clients that realize that ad value can add sales and profits to their existing locations. So beside stand-alone wood post or pedestal mount units or to an existing lighting pole they can also have self contained units with built in LED and digital running ads.

These EV charger units allow you to advertise in store specials, carwash deals, new products, and loyalty rewards, etc. These units are wireless and blue tooth compatible easily programed or changed every minute, hour, or day just another tool to set you aside from your competitors.

The second technology is the stand alone EV charger only in a pedestal form, wood post mount or onto an existing lighting pole and available in level one, two or three charging power.

You may not be ready to consider EV charging at the moment but your competition is, and as new requests come in every day and the fact we are creatures of habit those that offer EV charging now will become a destination point, hard to change once it becomes the norm, and so will all their increased sales and extra profit.

So this is one case when you know your customer won’t be afraid to say “charge it please.” 

Dave Bowen has over 42 years of experience in the specialty and lighting industry and the last 22 years in the c-store/retail petro market specializing in LED lighting technology. He is the owner and president of Roctan 2000 Ltd and can be reached at 548-888-1113 or by email at db@roctan2000ltd.com