Preparing for an All-Electric Vehicle Fleet

How quickly will moves by government and automakers force retailers’ hand?
Photograph: Shutterstock

CHICAGO — What a difference a couple of months makes. Just weeks ago, we had a president who embraced fossil fuels, fracking and, even the great early 20th century workhorse, coal.

Enter a new administration, and with it comes a dramatically different view that requires our immediate attention.

At the end of January, General Motors announced plans to phase-out tailpipe emissions by 2035, just 14 years from now. Volvo is promising the same even sooner. And sources tell me that Toyota is closing in on its rollout of electric vehicles and expects to introduce its first battery-charged cars by no later than 2023.

If that’s not enough to start your engine, 2020 marks the first time Tesla reported four consecutive profitable quarters.

For years, we’ve talked about electric vehicles in the abstract. “Someday, maybe. … But for now, we Americans love our pickups.” But what’s different is that automakers, backed by a new White House, are revving up to go all in with electric cars and that battery technology is ramping up to where we will likely see the 10-minute charge (rather than 20 to 30 minutes) perfected by sometime next year.

Our industry associations know change is in the air. NACS, SIGMA and NATSO have all asked President Biden for a seat at the table concerning transportation policies. 

Put simply, we’re probably just five years away, where we will see more EVs in our everyday lives and begin the sales decline of combustible engines and, with that, gasoline. This will mean a significant transformation in our fuel islands and c-store designs. 

Circle K, the second-largest c-store chain in the United States, says it’s ready for the change. Are you? Are you getting ready? I’d welcome your questions or thoughts.

Mitch Morrison is CSP’s vice president of retailer relations. Reach him at mmorrison@winsightmedia.com.

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