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Why EV charging hubs are a prime opportunity for the retail sector

Charging hubs for electric vehicles (EVs) are set to become a familiar sight across the UK as more drivers switch to EV. Elizabeth Warren, Interim Director… View Article


Why EV charging hubs are a prime opportunity for the retail sector

Charging hubs for electric vehicles (EVs) are set to become a familiar sight across the UK as more drivers switch to EV. Elizabeth Warren, Interim Director at Mer Public Charging, looks at the opportunities that EV charging hubs present for the retail sector, from revenue generation to increased customer loyalty.

As we make a move towards a net zero future, widespread adoption of electric transportation is critical to decarbonising transport and reducing emissions to improve public health.

We are already becoming used to seeing EVs on our roads and EV charge points at destination such as retail parks and shopping centres. The SMMT projects that by 2030 there will be around nine million EVs on the UK’s roads. To maintain the same coverage, there will need to be an additional 48,000 public charge points to keep them on the roads. Hubs with multiple EV charging bays are therefore going to become a much more familiar – and necessary – sight as more people choose to drive EVs. At any given hub, there should be enough charging bays to meet demand, without there being so many that space and resource is underutilised.

Having the opportunity to charge an EV at a retail park whilst you enjoy the site’s plethora of shops, restaurants, and services is attractive for drivers. This added convenience is not only beneficial to drivers, however. The need to grow our public charging network presents considerable opportunities for retail park owners and operators to get in on this upward trend and install revenue-generating EV charging hubs.

A new customer base for your retailers

Whilst fossil fuel vehicles are still on the roads, providing charging facilities for the thousands of fully electric cars and plug-in hybrids on UK roads will bring even more customers to a retail site. If the differentiator between two sites is EV charging, drivers are likely to prioritise the location which has a charging hub. Catering for these drivers will unlock another customer base.

An EV charging hub might also attract new customers to your site. Take the example of a driver who has never heard of or visited a retail park before. They are looking for somewhere to charge on an online EV charging map, such as Zapmap, and see the park has an EV charging hub. Say hello to a brand-new customer, who might not have visited your site if the EV charging hub was not there.

Incidental spend equals higher revenue

As drivers wait for their vehicles to charge, they may wish to do their weekly food shop, grab a coffee, or fit in a quick workout at the gym. Not only does the EV charging hub transform the customer experience for the driver, it leads to an increase in revenue through incidental spend for the retailer.

Boost customer loyalty

Ensuring your customers can enjoy a fantastic experience at your retail site with the added bonus of being able to charge their vehicle will become even more important as the EV transition continues – competition for driver loyalty will increase as more landowners and retail parks install charging infrastructure. Capitalising on this upward trend sooner rather than later will help you establish buyer habits in your favour. Why would drivers need to visit anywhere else if they have a good experience shopping and charging at your retail site?

Say goodbye to empty units

Retailers, too, are also likely to be influenced by the presence of an EV charging hub at a potential site. A site which has seen an increase in footfall and incidental spend will be attractive to potential retailers, and they will be more likely to want to open their shop on that site.

Starting your EV charging hub journey

Mer is backed by Statkraft, Europe’s largest renewable energy generator. We provide funded infrastructure packages and offer 100% renewable, zero-carbon energy to power EV charging hubs across UK retail sites. Learn more about how to bring an EV charging hub to your customers in Mer’s upcoming free webinar for landowners, taking place on 26 June. Sign up now.

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