The Business Case for Installing EV Charging Stations in Your Parking Lot

Written by Rob Stott

October 27, 2023

ev charging stations electric cars retail

Electric vehicles are in a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation. While the number of EVs on the road has ballooned over the past few years – there are an estimated 3 million battery-powered vehicles registered in the US today – they still only represent 1 percent of all vehicles in use.

You could point to a number of challenges in the world of EVs as to why that number hasn’t jumped exponentially, despite the promise of the category. But, according to a recent CE Pro report, a main source of the sluggishness has to do with the lack of available (or reliable) public charging solutions. It’s already enough of a stress-inducer to think about being somewhere and having your phone battery die. Imagine driving around only to lose car power without a charging station anywhere in sight? Nightmare inducing.

Data backs up consumers’ concerns highlighted by CE Pro, too. According to a Department of Energy report from this summer, for all 3 million of those EVs on the road, there are only about 53,000 public charging stations and a little more than 138,000 public charging outlets available in the US today. Assuming not every EV owner drives around with the plug that they use at home, that means there’s roughly one outlet for every 5,660 electric cars out there, with more driving off of car dealership lots every day.

But here’s the thing. Interest in EVs isn’t going to slow. It’s stagnant right now, but as more charging solutions come online – and the battery technology continues to improve – we will surely start to see that trendline improve. Further, the next (or first) car for younger consumers is more likely to be an EV based on their purchase intentions.

So, what’s the point of all this and where does the independent appliance, furniture/bedding and consumer tech retailer fit into this equation? Glad you asked! There’s a major opportunity to boost your business and attract new potential customers, and it starts right outside your front door, in your parking lot.

Here are four quick reasons why you should consider adding EV charging stations at your retail location.

There are rebates and tax credits

The first big question that you’re likely to have about this process has to do with the cost associated and what kind of dent it would put in your pocket. Well, similar to the federal and state-level governments wanting to entice consumers to purchase an EV by offering rebates and tax credits, they’re offering the same to businesses who add charging solutions to their parking lots.

Take the Alternative Fuel Refueling Infrastructure Tax Credit, for example. Part of the Inflation Reduction Act passed in August 2022, this tax credit offers businesses who install charging stations through 2032 the opportunity to receive a credit of 6 percent up to $100,000 per charging station. Additionally, businesses that also meet prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements can see that per-station credit jump to 30 percent.

And, of course, every state has its own set of credits and rebates available.

EV stations can put you “on the map”

Every business wants to be found in one way or another. Ideally, a consumer lands at your store because they were searching for a new kitchen appliance package or to replace their old, worn-out mattress. But foot traffic is foot traffic, right?

EV owners have a number of different ways they can search for public charging stations. They can quickly google something like “EV charging stations near me.” There are also apps out there that make searching a breeze. And most app-based EVs (Tesla, among them) offer drivers the ability to not only search for nearby stations, but provides details on if they are available or already in use. They can even help EV owners plan long distance trips with scheduled stops at strategically placed stations along the way.

What you’ll find, though, is that in those searches, the business name of where that EV charging station is located appears as well. Free-ish advertising for your business!

Attract a different type of customer

Whether it’s because they needed to give their vehicle a quick bump charge in order to get home or because of the fact that they were drawn to your store simply because you offered the opportunity for them to charge their vehicle, EV owners could flock to your store like flies to a bright light. And, rather than sit in their vehicle until they get enough of a charge, those drivers are likely to walk your aisles and become potential customers.

It’s a good look for your business

It’s known that consumers, especially those who make up younger generations, put an emphasis on purchasing product and doing business with brands that promote themselves as environmentally friendly or sustainable. Of course, you can’t just talk the talk when it comes to ESG efforts. Consumers are going to want to see you walk the walk as well.

EV charging stations in your parking lot would represent a very clear and obvious effort on your part as a retailer to promote environmentally friendly driving habits.

Not to be lost in this, as well, is that not only are consumers seeing your ESG efforts. So too are your employees and potential new hires.

One bonus reason to consider adding charging stations to your parking lot is the potential for some passive income. EV solution providers like Modas – an NMG partner – offer stations with built in ad boards, which give you the opportunity to sell ad space in your parking lot.

Interested in learning more about adding EV charging stations to your business? Reach out to the Connected Services team and our Director of Connected Services Eric Sindelar at eric.sindelar@nationwidegroup.org.

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