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Can EV charging hubs save fuel stations or is it too late?

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If industry continues on the current path, a total of £275tr would be needed to invest in physical assets to reach committed net-zero goals by 2050. Charging hubs answer this by making more efficient use of existing assets. Not to mention, spurring EV adoption significantly reduces air pollution. If the UK successfully electrifies transport modes by 2050, we will see one of the most impactful reductions in harmful chemicals responsible for asthma, inflammation and other lung problems. Simply encouraging the switch to EVs reduces 10 kg of harmful gases emitted into the air per year, lowering the overall impact.

Opportunities EV charging hubs bring

The benefits of retrofitting fuel stations to charging hubs is straightforward. By using petrol stations existing infrastructure, forecourts and retailers are able to avoid investments in electricity upgrades and be cost efficient. In fact, they can use EV charging as an additional revenue stream to drive footfall into their retail shops on top of charging services.

What’s more, charging hubs can help forecourts mitigate unpredictable price spikes associated with renewable energy by balancing the need for more electricity and the strain on power grids. This energy congestion will cause the cost of electricity delivered to potentially increase by 20% in 2050 when building out renewable power assets and grid infrastructure. Thus, pivoting towards charging hubs allows for cost-saving practices by using existing locations whilst also serving customers growing needs.

Developing the charging experience to be as similar or better than the current fuelling experience will be the key to helping consumers switch

But to meet consumer demands for the charging experience of the future, forecourts and retailers must ensure they are providing rapid charging for all vehicle types. Developing the charging experience to be as similar or better than the current fuelling experience will be the key to helping consumers switch. This means charging hubs must have everything from tyre changes to window washes to maintain the feel of a fuelling station. When the Kia e-Niro, one of the most driven EV’s in the UK, takes 44 minutes to charge to 80%, auxiliary services such as toilets and cafes will be fundamental in making the charging experience comfortable for consumers. On highway pit stops this issue may be mitigated through additional food and beverage services, seamless payment processes, and parking allotments. In rural areas overnight charging, will be integral to charging hubs to avoid the issue of time.

Whether it’s the cost efficiency, improvement of EV adoption or the utilisation of existing resources, converted charging hubs are signalling a paradigm shift in the mobility sector. By increasing the availability of rapid charging, consumers’ biggest concerns of range anxiety will be relieved. With that in mind, it’s not too late for forecourts and retailers to remain competitive in an increasingly electrified industry.

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