Then there’s electric.

Electric vehicles, or EVs, seem to be a sure-bet solution to problems stemming from fossil fuels. Nearly every major automaker plans to release at least one EV in the U.S. this year, according to Kelley Blue Book. But what seems simple is seldom easy.

EV infrastructure lags well behind the framework that supports gasoline-powered cars. Consumers are reluctant to adopt electric cars because of their limited range, long recharge times and expensive batteries. But companies that engineer the chargers and provide the charging networks are proliferating. A comparison to the early days of electronic cigarettes and vaping may not be too far-fetched. With so many competing for their business, how does a retailer choose the electric chargers are best for their customers?

“We heard over and over, ‘I’m thinking about the future. What do I need to do to prepare for more electric vehicles?’ ” said Quincy Lee, founder and CEO of Electric Era, recalling conversations with c-store operators looking at adding EV fast charging to their properties.

EVs are attractive to environmentalists and politicians because they are up to three times as efficient as gasoline cars and emit no pollution. According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Electric Power Research Institute, EVs with a 40-mile range could reduce CO2 emissions nationwide by 5%. In regions with cleaner electricity production such as the West Coast, the reduction could be as much as 50%.

  • Click here to read retailers' point of view of electric charging.