• Two-thirds (66%) of drivers are always on the look out for new places to charge their EVs
  • 41% want EV charging points at existing fuel stations
  • 58% of drivers often visit shops or businesses that offer EV charging, even if they’re not actively looking to charge their car
  • Nearly three-in-five (59%) of drivers spend more money at shops or businesses that offer EV charging

EV charging point

Consumers are paving the way for retailers to take prime position in the growing electric vehicle (EV) market, with 41% wanting EV charging points at existing fuel stations, and 57% of EV drivers saying they’d like to see more charging points at shopping venues.

The research mapping the evolving habits, traits and needs of EV drivers globally, was launched today by fuel and convenience software specialist, Kalibrate. It said the research signalled a shift for traditional fuel retailers and a need for them to re-evaluate and re-establish their offering. 

However, while retailers know EV adoption is increasing, without clarity of what the future will look like, many are are hesitant to accelerate their plans for the future.

As the adoption rate of EVs continues to multiply, the report - The Electric Opportunity - indicates that EV drivers’ behaviour is going to shape traditional petrol and diesel fuel providers’ services, with two-thirds (66%) saying they are always looking for new places to charge, for example at shopping or hospitality venues.

While this behaviour shift offers a significant opportunity for retailers, it also presents a challenge, says the research, which finds that although nearly nine-in-10 organisations believe the EV market is a future revenue driver, over half (55%) think the market is too unpredictable for them to make concrete plans and 57% find it difficult to anticipate where EV charging infrastructure would be most useful. As a consequence, a further 52% say they have not even started developing their EV strategy.

FT Kalibrate-Chief-Executive-Officer-CEO-Oliver-Shaw

Kalibrate CEO Oliver-Shaw

Oliver Shaw, CEO at Kalibrate, said: “EVs are the future of transport – that’s for certain. But as more consumers turn to EVs, the challenge of creating a robust, strategic and profitable EV charging network is only going to grow.

“Big questions remain for retailers: what infrastructure do drivers need to make the switch to EVs? How are refuelling habits going to change, and how have they already changed? What do the EV drivers of today look like, and what will they look like tomorrow? Clearly, retailers are battling a number of unknowns and it’s not surprising that they are unsure how to respond.”

While retailers may be lagging behind in developing their EV strategy, the research indicates they are excited about the potential revenue boost offered by EVs, with more than half (53%) saying that EV charging will bring between 31 – 50% more revenue into their business.

However, despite this excitement for new revenue streams, the findings also show that consumers are concerned about the price of charging their EV, with nearly three-in-five (58%) claiming it is too expensive. This may explain why 53% of retailers say pricing their EV charging offering is difficult, as is the process of building a business model that can address consumers’ pricing expectations.

Yet, in the face of this, retailers are still prepared to adapt quickly to the growth in EV drivers, with nearly three-in-five (57%) saying they’d like to better understand the characteristics and behaviours of EV drivers, and nearly two-thirds (64%) think their EV strategy will change over the next three years.

“New charging points are being added to the network every day, and it’s crucial that we understand exactly where these are needed most and how to strike the right balance for pricing, rather than relying on our traditional understanding and assumptions about how drivers typically fuel their cars,” stressed Shaw.

“While new EV drivers might have their own distinct behaviours and preferences, our research suggests that they’ll change over time. For instance, the longer you own an EV, the more you will encounter new places to charge, and the more you will diverge from traditional charging points.

“In essence, the opportunity is up for grabs for the retailers that can understand these types of changes in behaviour, and use the right data to predict, adapt and respond to the move of EV charging beyond the forecourt.”