Electric Vehicles Shift the C-Store Landscape

Strategies for embracing the change

Brought to you by Harbor Industries.

Electric vehicles are here and are changing the landscape of many industries in varied ways. These changes will directly impact the current convenience-store footprint in ways we only partially understand, so how can we anticipate what will happen and thrive in the marketplace during and after this seismic shift?

Electric vehicle (EV) numbers are exponentially increasing and, around 2020, electric cars are predicted to be cheaper to produce than gasoline vehicles. In January 2017, Morgan Stanley raised its predicted sales estimates of electric vehicles by 2025 by threefold. Others say that by that time, EVs will represent 25% of all private cars sold.

These figures, alongside the launch of the Tesla Model 3 in July (with production capacity of 30,000/month) and the Volvo announcement of a wholly electric/hybrid vehicle line by 2019, means these projections may come true even sooner than expected.

EVs will likely be the densest in cities and surrounding areas with large concentrations of people, technology and the wealth to support them.

So, how can we address this opportunity and thrive long term?

Embrace change and design thinking

Design thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition and systemic reasoning to explore possibilities of what could be and to create desired outcomes to solve changing and complex problems. The key is being able to let go of the “not change” option and visualize change positively.

With longer dwell time, what services will be in demand—movies, community-area rest stops, device recharging, deeper food offerings? Can some charging stations be overnight rentals making money when closed, serve breakfast or late-night food? Can meeting spaces be rentals?

EVs trend smaller, so can we get more chargers on-site than pumps? Can solar power receive federal funding to offset an emergency response future need? Can stations work together to share power through unused battery capacity? Can stations create more on-site uses like package pickup to take advantage of the smaller required footprints? Can cleaner footprints allow wider use?

Change is the truth

To not change is to not survive. Future-positive thinking is a way of creating a powerful mindset that not only embraces change but actively works to thrive in it. Each solution will be different, but the starting line is the same. Time to start.

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