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What’s the deal with EV charging on retail sites? 

On behalf of Mer

There are already many electric vehicles (EVs) on the UK’s roads, and soon there’s going to be a lot more. By 2035 every new car or van sold in the UK will be fully electric. Before that, in just eight years, sales of new petrol or diesel cars or vans will end. When you think about it, this growth presents a great opportunity for the retail sector. The growing number of EV drivers will need to recharge their vehicles somewhere while they’re out and about. Where better than in a retail park or in a retailer’s car park? 

Forward-thinking retailers who offer EV charge points can reap the rewards that EV charging offers. Incidentally, from June 2022 all new retail parks will be required to install a charging infrastructure under new building regulations in England. By acting now, retailers can grab the available market while others are still in planning mode.   

How retailers benefit from installing EV charge points

Customer experience is everything in a competitive market. EV drivers who find they can shop and charge at the same time are more likely to choose your retail site over others. They are also more likely to return, especially if you offer faster charge rates than they get at home. 

When EV take up gets into its stride, there will be more and more charge points around. Competition for grid connection will be strong and there are only so many opportunities in strategic locations. 

Retailers or retail site landowners will most likely install rapid chargers that allow visitors to charge to 80% within 1 hour. So, customers stay longer in your retail park or store while they wait for their EVs to charge. This could be time spent shopping or relaxing over a coffee or a meal. An estate agent who published details of their roll out of EV charge points at retail locations across the UK saw a 50% increase in dwell time and average spend ranging from £36 per visit to £80 for longer stays. 

Retailers with charging points already installed report impressive reductions in CO2 from visitor travel. Charge points also add more weight to sustainability credentials, making a retailer more attractive for customers and employees, especially when the energy comes from renewable sources.  

There are direct revenue opportunities too

On a retail site, additional revenue can be generated from a share of the profit on the price the driver pays to charge their vehicle. The more EV charging points there are, the greater the revenue opportunity.

But EV charging installations need to be tailored for each site, especially to avoid over-installation which can cause local grid constraints. Correct planning and installation, phasing the roll out in line with increased demand and EV uptake, ensures retailers and retail site landowners can optimise the return on their EV charging investment. That’s why the choice of EV charging partner or charge point operator (CPO) is so important.  

Choosing a charge point operator

Charge point operators can offer a range of cost and revenue models for retailers and commercial landowners; from fully funded by the CPO, to part-funded, and self-funded by the landlord. Again, it comes down to what is most appropriate for the retailer and their site. 

Mer is a European EV charging company owned by Statkraft, Europe’s largest renewable energy generator. In the UK, we offer electric vehicle charging for commercial landlords, retailers, local authorities, businesses and homes. Our proposition includes zero carbon, 100% renewable energy supply solely from hydro, wind and solar sources.

To find out more, download our EV Charging Guide for Commercial Real Estate.

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